If the undulating bends of Jason McCloskey’s chairs and side tables make you think of the curved tips of your skis—or the slopes you might cruise down on them—that’s no mistake. The Wheat Ridge furniture-maker, who grew up carving turns down New England’s White and Green mountains, then spent 13 years rafting rivers in Colorado and Utah as part of his work for Outward Bound, takes design inspiration from backcountry terrain. His technical cues come from the way skis (which he also crafts, as a hobby) are constructed. But it wasn’t until 2010, when he was studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, that he began combining his passions for woodworking and outdoor adventure. “I had [the Outward Bound] part of my life, and I had my furniture-making, and I was dabbling with making skis,” McCloskey says. “When I was in grad school, my teachers asked, Why are you keeping all these worlds so separate?”
He didn’t have a good answer, so he set off on a journey that eventually lead to his tightly curated collection of made-to-order furnishings. The line, which McCloskey runs in partnership with his wife, Trystin Sova, is called Q Co. But that path was as winding as the waterways he used to ply: His Most-Interesting-Guy-In-The-World resumé also includes an undergraduate degree in music composition and a three-year apprenticeship with a Scottish master of English period furniture.
Although McCloskey credits that training for his proficiency in the traditional aspects of handcrafted woodworking, what excites him now, he says, is blending a variety of materials (laminates, composites, metals, hardwoods) with the possibilities of digital manufacturing via CAD programs and a computer-controlled cutting machine. “I’ve been working with a CNC [computer numeric control] machine for eight years and still only feel like I’m scratching the surface of what my skill level should be,” he says.
His signature design element—wood coaxed into graceful curves—represents the marriage of those interests. He uses ski-making methods to create his elegant silhouettes, layering fiberglass with wood to increase each piece’s strength and durability. Take the Wing Chair (starting at $4,850), for example: its swooping arms are just over a quarter-inch thick, yet are sturdy enough to sit on.
Given McCloskey’s quality of work, it’s not surprising that many of his orders come from interior designers with clients in tony high-country towns including Aspen and Vail, who want a less literal interpretation of “mountain chic” style. “My designs aren’t so much a direct translation of the landscape,” McCloskey says, “but more like, what does it feel like to be in a canyon, or to drop into a big snowbank and have it encompass you and hold you?” It’s those moments, specific to the Western American experience, that are helping him define a new genre of modern. q-co.design