Loyd Parker designs pieces that combine dissimilar materials and styles.

In 1974, Loyd Parker decided to parlay his BFA in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University into a career in custom furniture making. “I liked the concept of combining art and function,” he says. His next step was to take a two-year course in basic cabinetmaking at Laney County Community College in Oakland, CA. Then he worked for a number of years in quality cabinet shops until he felt sufficiently confident to go out on his own.

Fifteen years ago, he believed that the time was right to launch Loyd Parker Designs in Scottsdale, AZ. Since then he has developed a personal approach to designing furniture that joins dissimilar materials: traditional and modern, natural and man-made, and found objects. In fact, he coined a term, “Mid-tech,” in an effort to describe his manufacturing approach of combining new and experimental materials and technology with the traditional. “It would be like using a CNC router and a Japanese hand saw to build a piece of furniture,” he explains.

Parker has developed a strong client base for his modern furniture, in a community that is steeped in the Southwestern tradition. This speaks well of his ability as a craftsman and a salesman, and of the growing diversity of the Phoenix-metro area.

Parker also likes to use innovative materials, like Valcromat, which is a through-color MDF that he says is strong, water-resistant and economical. It is a sustainable green product and is fade-resistant, he adds, and suitable for casegoods, millwork and other applications.

One of his pieces, a coffee table, is four circles of a dark blue Valcromat. “I drew the circles by hand and then used a CNC router to cut them out. If I were to do a similar table, I would leave a space between each of the four circles to show the negative spaces,” says Parker.

A similar-style credenza also is made of Valcromat. It has an L-shaped door that is actually a screen used in the mining industry to sort rocks. The screen allows rocks that are smaller than 1/4-inch to pass through. The legs are polished metal.

Another piece incorporating a specialty material is a freestanding bar cabinet made of Vitricor with a frost design. It was commissioned for a game room in a Designer’s Showcase.

“This was the first piece I made using a CNC router,” Parker says. “The CNC was a perfect choice for accurately cutting the zig-zag doors. The ball on top of the cabinet is something that is used in the mining industry for crushing rock.”

Parker says that his future goals include becoming more proficient with the CNC router. “The accuracy of a CNC router is phenomenal. It has opened up a whole new world for me.”

This freestanding bar combines Vitracor for the case, rebar for the base legs and top, and a 5-inch rough cast ball as a decoration. The zig-zag doors and drawer fronts were cut on a CNC router.
This table is an example of how Loyd Parker likes to use different types of materials in his pieces. The top is a through-colored MDF, and the legs are brushed nickel-plated steel. The powder-coated screen used in the credenza door is actually a “shaker screen” used to size rocks in the mining industry. The legs are nickel-plated steel.

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