About Leo Litto
Leo fears that we have lost our way in a commercially driven society that values trendiness above timelessness. Consider the bulk of furniture sold in America, made from reconstituted wood fibers pressed into panels and laminated to a vinyl photograph of wood. Or a poorly assembled piece made of timber clear-cut from where an entire forest ecosystem has been destroyed, and fabricated in a place without basic human dignity or environmental controls.
We’ve devolved from a society of makers to a culture of passive consumption. Art and design programs have been excised from school curriculums. There’s no training. “We haven’t a clue what to look for when inspecting made items for evidence of integrity or quality. As a society we’ve been duped into a false perception of value. We’re willing to buy cheap furniture that will be broken and useless in a few years only to be replaced with more cheap stuff because the perceived cost of handmade furniture that will last for generations is too high”.
Leo has a degree in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology and comes from a family of artists and violin makers. He has a long history of career experiences including product design, home design and building; historic renovations and growing a sophisticated architectural millwork company.
After finding new owners for that company he was able to pursue his passion for furniture making – celebrating wood and carefully selecting it for every project. Worthwhile furniture takes time – you cannot cut corners. The integrity of each piece is protected with Leo’s critical eye for detail. He uses state-of-the-art computer aided design modeling programs to produce accurate drawings and cut lists. Alternatively, pieces can grow organically from a unique piece of wood which inspires its own design, using only the most basic of sketches to flesh out critical joinery and proportions.
In November 2016 Leo received the Texas Furniture Maker’s best of show award (for a tray table designed out of love for his aged father). Additionally, a Judge’s Special Award was presented for “Arrested Decay”, one of a series of 4 Nakashima-style benches, all made from one magnificent Texas escarpment cherry log. Also in November he was awarded 1st place at the Woodworkers Source show in Phoenix, AZ. In contrast to the professionally adjudicated show, this 169-entry display is judged by popular vote, with all makers anonymous. In June 2016 he was awarded 4th place in the accessory category at the San Diego Design in Wood competition – the largest in the US.