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A Toronto-Made Time Capsule

Daniel Gruetter’s pieces are much more than furnishings – they are receptacles for memories

By Tory Healy
Photography by Lindsay Rosset

Have you ever seen a time capsule? I have, at last year’s Interior Design Show. At a metre and a half long, the black walnut credenza is broad-shouldered with a cinched waist; its legs straddle an elegant undercarriage. Behind two gliding doors are stacked shelves and a no-longer-secret drawer. Examples of its maker’s exquisite joinery can be found within – Daniel Gruetter hand-picks his planks from local arborists, salvage companies and sawmills; he hand-oils them, too.

The credenza is charismatic: before you know it, you’re thinking about where you will showcase it. But while the casegood might be ready to fill now, it was long in the making, taking six weeks of labour and a lifetime of study. Daniel Gruetter left Bella Coola, British Columbia, for Toronto in 2010, bringing with him woodworking experience – construction, renovation; he’s the son of a carpenter – and a history degree from UBC. Since then, he’s assisted at local workshops and fulfilled commissions. But his passion lies in ancient craft. “Everything made by people, each piece of furniture, reveals a time and place,” he says. “Each piece is embedded with environmental, economic, cultural and political circumstances. Well-made furniture can last generations. As it ages, layers of human use instill further history and context.” Meet Daniel Gruetter and his time capsules during the DesignTO Festival, running January 17 to 26.

P.S. Yes, the glass and brass mirror hanging above the credenza is also a Gruetter design and is fashioned from a single ribbon of steam bent ash.


Categories: Local Act
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