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Bio Pic 2 Paul Lee Credit

Paul Tanaka is a self-taught designer-maker working and living in Ames, Iowa. During his 32-year career as legal advisor to higher educa­tional insti­tu­tions, he designed and made furni­ture in his meager spare time. Upon retire­ment in 2016 he planned and built a shop.

Paul’s work includes all kinds of domes­tic furni­ture — always with the beauty, warmth and touch of wood at its center. His work is influ­enced by modern archi­tects and furni­ture designer/​makers in East Asia, Europe and the Americas.

While mid-century modern prin­ci­ples of ratio­nal­ity, utility and func­tion have always been core values, his current focus on light­ing design and incor­po­ra­tion of light into furni­ture have driven greater freedom of form, adop­tion of new mate­ri­als and methods as well as a migra­tion to a broader sense of func­tion and purpose.

[Profile photo credit: Paul Pak-hing Lee]

Ames, IA
Wood, lighting
Professional Status