Sunday, November 2, 2008


Its important for me to acknowledge my inspiration in this hobby of my mine. While I inherit my mom's artistic creativity and my father's pack rat tendencies (he collected Domino's pizza boxes and Altoid tins for ten years), I must say it comes directly from my friend Seymour Rappoport. Seymour was a mentor, friend, and surrogate grandfather to me. He was a product engineer for the Ronson Corporation and holds patents for the original cigarette lighter patents. I stumbled upon these patents online and it saddens me that it seems these patents are the only lasting legacy of Seymour, as his true life's work came later in life as a sculptor. After surviving cancer and suffering a stroke, I had the honor of helping Seymour in his studio with his projects and escorting to his many material "suppliers". We made weekly trips to the scrap yard and stalked Central New Jersey's garage sales. Seymour made a point of visiting every new construction site in his neighborhood and those trips with him were very formative towards my interest in architecture and the building industry. His home and his studio were the epitome of high design, and I grew up lounging on an original Eame's chair and two of Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chairs in his living room (years later I would have classes devoted to these designs in Architecture school).
His arthritic cartoon-like lighting bolt fingers told 1,000 stories of projects made and innovations forged. Though I doubt any of his designs had the environment or sustainability in mind, he was a master of re-use projects and reclaimed materials. There is a scrap yard in West Long Branch, NJ that still boasts one of us his sculptures made entirely of their heap. So I'm hoping Seymour's legacy lives beyond his cigarette lighter patents, and hopefully a little bit in my projects.

This was my high school graduation present from Seymour, made out of leftover parquet flooring he pirated from a local basketball gym refinishing.

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