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TOP OF THE TRADES

Carving out a beautiful partnership

By Aunie Edwards
Special to The Toronto Sun


Consider two industrious entrepreneurs with a common goal. Add a healthy dose of perfectionism, an overabundance of skill and a bit of luck -- it's a blueprint for success and its name is Gibson Greenwood.

Gabhan Gibson is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Robin Greenwood completed his education at the Waterloo School of Architecture.
Specializing in the residential market, Gibson Greenwood built this kitchen for a High Park client in 2001.


Together they've created a unique team of woodworking craftsmen who build fine custom furniture. "We both owned separate companies previous to Gibson Greenwood," Gibson says. "As partners, we've expanded our capabilities month by month, and our business has expanded in step."

Catering to a predominately residential market, the partnership is focused on quality. "In a home, our work is scrutinized regularly -- people will examine it, feel it and appreciate it over time. Every detail must meet a very high standard for us and for the client," Gibson says. "We seek to create a lasting impression and quality must take precedence."

Originality is another key factor at Gibson Greenwood. "Everything we make is a prototype," Gibson says. "Each piece is a collaboration, an extension of the client's personality and a reflection of individual taste."

Their goals are shared, but Gibson and Greenwood differ in the expertise they bring to the table -- it's their combination that offers a unique perspective in the woodworking industry.

True to his artistic background, Gibson is ever sensitive to the style of a piece. "The way you use material is very important," Gibson says. "For example, you need to work with the nature of the wood, so that its intrinsic beauty can be enhanced."

Greenwood's architectural background adds another dimension to the partnership. "A lot of our clients are architects -- they visualize things differently and Robin clearly speaks their language," Gibson says.

Regardless of the vision, Gibson Greenwood understands that a practical expertise is essential. "Design can't be trumpeted to the exclusion of the craft," Greenwood says. "Some very skillful people work here --they help us take the design to the finished product. But I also participate -- in fact, the reason I left traditional architecture is because I love this hands-on work and I wanted to do more."

With an extensive background in building stage scenery, Gibson shares Greenwood's affinity for the work. "The craft of woodworking is really another art form," Gibson says.

Clearly, Gibson and Greenwood enjoy the entire building process, from conception to creation. But this hands-on approach is about more than personal satisfaction. "Rather than simply imagining how a design will look, it's important to see how it works," Greenwood says. "There's a practical reciprocity between what you envision and what you actually make -- and when you've worked with the material, you bring more to the design table."

Gibson and Greenwood use their different but related backgrounds to complement one another as they pursue their common goal to achieve the highest standards of quality, style and design. And though the company name is only two years old, Gibson Greenwood offers a lifetime of craftsmanship and talent.

Call 416-531-0681 or visit them at 80 Ward St., Unit 111 (Dupont Street and Landsdowne Avenue).

(Aunie Edwards (a.edwards@rogers.com) is a Guelph-based freelance writer.)



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