So what is a self-proclaimed oenophile and former rock and roller from the Midwest doing designing hand-crafted artisan furniture for high-end clientele in Los Angeles? “ I wanted to bring pleasure and comfort to the ambiance of a person’s surroundings with art made to last generations – a way to leave my mark on the world long after I have gone,” says Anderson. It was this credo that gave birth to Furniture by Rob.
Born into a Midwestern family of eight children where “new” really meant “hand-me-downs,” Anderson quickly acquired an appreciation for the finer things in life. That is, anything that wasn’t recycled. After toiling through his 20s and 30s as a musician, a model, and eventually a bookkeeper, Anderson decided to make his real dream come true. He began making furniture for his own home, harking back to Louis XIV-era designs as well as contemporary pieces inspired by Emile Ruhlmann.
Although Anderson has studied marquetry under Silas Kopf, carving with Marc Adams, and decorative inlay at the North Bennett Street School, most of his experience has been self-taught and self-realized. In the beginning, Anderson spent countless hours pouring over the techniques of designer legends like Andre-Charles Boulle, Jean-Francois Oeben,
Anderson’s accolades include top honors in the Del Mar Fair for Traditional & Contemporary Design in Wood, among others; as well as a teaching and lecturing campaign that counts the American Woodworking Assoc.; Woodworkers of Southern California, and the Marc Adams Woodworking School as clients.
Anderson launched Furniture by Rob in 1994 and was immediately represented in the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles and the Artful Hand Gallery in Boston. Most recently, the Sumner and Dene gallery in Albuquerque, N. M., and Shapes Collection in West Hollywood, Calif., have hosted Anderson’s unique pieces ranging from custom- designed armoires and desks to console tables and mirror frames. Anderson has even designed what must surely be one of the world’s most expensive baby cribs for the Maloof family, owners of the Palms gaming empire in Las Vegas (there was an Arab sheik in there, too, but Anderson doesn’t want to brag).
Anderson’s contemporary line of furniture most closely echoes the style of the original Art Deco movement from 1920s France (not the bastardized copycats of later years). Due to popular demand, he has continued to expand his business to include tailor-made dining tables, desks, audio/visual centers (in-set into wall) and just about any other type of furniture made from wood. His designs feature exotic wood veneers like Birdseye Maple, Zebra Wood, Satin Wood, Lace Wood and Purple Heart, just to name a few; and inlay stone and metal (dyes and stains are rarely used unless specified by the client). Most recently, Anderson has expanded his resume to include custom-designed bathroom vanities and kitchen installations.
Anderson is well-versed in dealing with the specific needs and design quirks of customers, offering many different combinations of woods and finishes to accommodate the rich and famous or the moderately-incomed connoisseur of fine furniture. Anderson can both walk clients through ideas to help extract their vision of the perfect piece as well as execute a client’s already-designed dream piece. In short, Anderson considers his unique pieces to be the result of an equal partnership between furniture designer and client, with the end result intended to last a lot longer than either of the original partners.
While much of the world today turns to cost-cutting machinery and offshore factories to jump-start production at minimal costs, Anderson continues to believe that quality is of the utmost importance. He builds every piece personally, with a sharp eye for detail and a personal sense of duty and responsibility to each piece that is simply unequaled in mass production furniture houses. You can even call him Old School. It is a time-consuming and costly process but Anderson believes this is the only way to insure the highest quality pieces possible and, inevitably, 100 percent customer satisfaction. He personally guarantees and stands behind every piece he puts his hands on in order to give the customer a true sense of security when purchasing from Furniture by Rob.
“My goal in life is to produce museum-quality furniture that will be admired 500 years after I’m gone,” he says. Well, maybe even a little longer than that.