Over a year ago, Nancy and I started dreaming up a new way of presenting and delivering albums. Wedding albums last a lifetime, and now, as photography moves into it's second century, we are learning they are cherished for two and three lifetimes. We wanted to create a case that would protect our albums on their century-long journeys. This case must fulfill three requirements:
1. It should be physically beautiful, and that beauty must be timeless. Our clients, and their children, would be living with this case for decades. It obviously needed to be durable, but we also wanted something that would look beautiful displayed on a shelf or table, so that it wouldn't be relegated to some dark corner. While nothing can really escape the time it’s produced in, we wanted a design that would be as timeless as possible.
2: It should age gracefully. Given enough time and most household environments, this case was unlikely to escape a few scrapes or bumps over the 100+ years it might be around. Some materials, like plastic, are ruined as soon as they cease to be perfect. Others, especially the more elemental ones, tend to get more beautiful with time. For this reason we chose Walnut, a classic and very durable American hardwood, and stainless steel as the principle materials for the DWP Case. While both materials look great in their unblemished states, we think they become even more elegant as they start showing the inevitable marks of time.
3. It should symbolically contain its purpose. Since the Chicago architect Louis Sullivan coined the "form follows function" maxim, it’s been a foundational design tenet by this century’s best designers: Jonathan Ive, Deiter Rams, and Charles and Ray Eames, and so many more. We wanted to create a case for our album that not only provided physical protection, but was also a symbol of the journey the book would take. It was part treasure-box, part time-capsule, and part fall-out shelter. It needed to represent that as simply as possible.
We commissioned Mark Epler, an artist and master woodworker to design and build these cases. We knew that Mark intuitively understood the importance of these ideas and would be able to design what we envisioned. His first prototype was very close and through a series of small revisions we perfected a final design for the DWP Case. No detail was too insignificant. From the weight of the lid, to figuring how the flash drive would be held in place, we obessed over details. That second issue ended up requiring him to hand carve a slot that would fit and provide the perfect resistance for the flash drive. The metal cylinder you see in the photos below is the water-proof, crush proof, heat-resistant, and most beautifully-designed flash drive we could find.
Sadly for us, Mark has decided to become an architect (which we also think is awesome) so these are likely the only cases he will make for us. Mark built 25 of these case by hand. Each case in this very limited edition is individually numbered and signed by Mark. The DWP Case is an integral part of the DWP Signature Album or can be purchased separately for $1600. Like most pieces of editioned artwork, the price will increase as we reach the higher numbers of the edition.
We wanted to share some photos of Mark painstakingly hand-building these cases and of the finished DWP Case.