A Delicate Balance: Nature and Geometry Go Hand & Hand for Two Designer/Makers

by Laura Goldstein

I really felt that the fitness world was trapped in an odd aesthetic place. There’s no reason why the objects that are part of a workout can’t also inspire and be beautiful,” confides HEFT Designs maker, Shane MacIntosh. In fact, his luxury crafted free weights for a home gym are so sculptural, you might be inclined to spend too much time admiring their hedonistic attributes! But don’t be fooled, they are made to be used.

A long distance runner and kick boxer in college, MacIntosh admits he “was terrible in the gym,” mostly because the mass produced equipment just didn’t entice him. After studying at the Santa Fe Fine Furniture Program in New Mexico, MacIntosh began creating unique furniture pieces for commissions in the U.S., then later moved to Vancouver. As a seasonal Park Ranger his love of nature, trees and their beguiling textural hardwoods inspired his design for his Torch free weights.

With a discerning eye, MacIntosh carefully selects sustainably sourced wood stock from chocolatey Walnut Hardwood, Two-Toned Live Oak, (once used by shipbuilders for its hardiness) and dense, fragrant Leopardwood from Australia ‘s outback, renowned for its stunning variety of colours and textures. Turning the wood by hand and the stainless steel on lathes to create the perfect curvature is extremely labour intensive as is matching grains and balancing the geometric accuracy of 2lb weights to 8lb weights. Each Torch set is showcased on its own wood stand embellished with the HEFT Designs logo.

With use, the wood weights develop an even deeper lustrous patina and the stainless steel can be wiped clean with a soft cloth,” MacIntosh says.

His next iteration of wood free weights are dumbbells (think those used by a circus strong man,) under the Mallet line.

The Torch HEFT Designs Collection is available at SwitzerCultCreative, Unit 102-1636 West 2nd Avenue,Vancouver.

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Imagine an acrobat balancing on the tip of a teeter-totter and you get the gist of Studio Saan’s Loma Lamp. Sparking curiosity is most important to designer/maker Sasan Norouzi who has worked on architectural installations in Los Angeles and after four years in Vancouver, recently moved to New York City. “I’ve always enjoyed aligning my interests with design, arts and culture,” Norouzi explains.

Having experimented in furniture-making and inventing an ingenious little cable holder, The Igloo, inspired by Inuit traditional housing, Norouzi has turned his attention to lighting. The sculptural Loma Lamp looks like alchemy as the top filleted cylinder emitting light appears to precariously tip on its base. In fact, the top can pivot into multiple configurations as both a desk lamp and accent lighting.

Environmentally friendly and “ made from a bio plastic using corn, the shell is 3D printed, durable and watertight,” says Norouzi. It’s customizable in almost any colour that Norouzi hand-paints by airbrushing giving each iteration a metallic-like sheen.


Studio Saan’s Loma Lamp is available at SwitzerCultCreative, Unit 102-1636 West 2nd Avenue,Vancouver.

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