Eric Weil '92
Breaking the Mold
Eric Weil’s (’92) custom furniture is a perfect blend of modern, sustainable design, authentic craftsmanship, and artistic detail. OSO Industries strives to break the conventional mold of furniture design through the unlikely medium of concrete paired with innovative, yet functional aesthetic.
At Oberlin College, Eric was given the opportunity to pursue a month-long independent project, and he chose an apprenticeship in Africa with Ghanaian furniture makers. Eric learned about a woodcarving tradition where stools are given as wedding gifts and, after death, added to the family ‘chapel’ in homage. “This idea of a piece of furniture coming to embody the spirit of its owner was fascinating to me, and it started me on a journey of exploring furniture and design,” Eric said.
In 2002, he launched OSO Industries. Armed with an appreciation for furniture-making techniques and a fascination with the unexpected aspects of art, Eric began experimenting mainly with concrete, exploring applications that juxtapose the heaviness of concrete with the lightness of design.
Eric's creations straddle the line of aesthetically beautiful and scientifically precise. He likened the nature of his work to an experience he had in the art department at Sewickley Academy. “The photography teacher at SA, Mr. Wardrop, was completely passionate about photography, but was also very structured in the way that he approached it," he reflected. "I can appreciate how structure helped his experience because what I do now is pretty precise. I have to measure everything, and the proportions need to be absolutely correct.”
It’s clear that no single event prompted Eric’s extraordinary journey from Sewickley Academy student to successful furniture designer. His experiences as an Oberlin art student, an eager apprentice in Africa, and a burgeoning entrepreneur have provided him with the insights and skills to succeed as both an innovative designer and a precise creator.