Creation spaces

I grew up a few blocks down the street from an industrial design firm. Their offices were a quintessential representation of the time, the “Mad Men” of the design profession.

I think I discovered them one day early in the life expansion when you get a bike and can travel a bit further without parental control and explore. The front of their offices were unique in the neighborhood. I remember, in the midst of other commercial clutter along the strip where a new freeway was under construction, a remarkably taut but 3-dimensional facade of white and gray with a tree growing elegantly and purposefully through the canopy of the one-story block-wide structure.

But my interest was in the back, in the garbage. I had, one evening after dinner in my explorations, found a paper in their back lot. It led me to their dumpster where I fund a treasure of discarded designers’ drawings of products, patterns, and dreams. I started making a regular nightly pilgrimage to the place to dive through the trash, prizing for myself every idea discarded by the designers.

But a very different attraction began one summer evening when I was surprised, and stopped, in my treasure hunt by an open garage door leading to their model shop. Inside were a group of guys working over a full-sized clay model of one of the most amazing designs I’d ever seen – a two-seat sports car, convertible, lake pipes, exquisite.

Over the course of summer I watched this nightly project – the carving and reshaping of the clay, the eventual application of the fiberglas, the final, magical mobility of the vehicle.

Then, one day, it emerged – a raw, gray, unpainted, unfinished, fiberglas body with portions of the fibers still visible. Then the most magnificent roar as these guys ignited the engine. Within seconds, the chrome lake pipes were already burning blue, and then with a huge eruption, this most exotic thing I’d ever seen screamed down the street.

Anyway, I guess this is only to second this appreciation of things made in suburban garages.

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