ben uyeda

Sleeping on a Cloud

Joshua Tree innovator Ben Uyeda gives away his designs, including one for this bed that appears to float in mid-air.

Lisa Marie Hart Current Digital, Home & Design, Real Estate

ben uyeda
Ben Uyeda dreamed up this “floating” bed, which appears suspended by only its white cedar-slab headboard. (A frame made of one-inch square steel tubes supports the mattress from below.) “If you have this sumptuous slab of wood, it should just hang on the wall as a piece of art,” he says. “We wanted the bedframe to disappear so the linen sheets make it look like a floating cloud.”
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY BEN UYEDA

At 10 years old, Ben Uyeda was constructing his own reclaimed hardwood toys using a band saw and belt sander his parents gave him for Christmas. Today, the tattooed stripes on his left pinky and forearm offer reliable instruments of measure for anything he builds. Yet building, as he explains in his TedTalk, is now a means for creating media content, which enables like-minded DIYers to fabricate their own furniture and accessories.

“Rather than charging people for our designs or patenting them and turning them into products, we give away our ideas for free and make money through advertising and sponsorships,” explains Uyeda, who founded an architecture firm after graduating from Cornell University and before discovering his current passion. The 300-plus videos filling his HomeMade Modern channel on YouTube require varying levels of skill. The projects range from an outdoor pizza oven and exercise equipment to desks, cabinets, and concrete lamps, chairs, and planters.

The floating bed, which relies on a hidden steel-tube frame to create the illusion of a hovering mattress, qualifies as what Uyeda calls “gimmicky minimalism. It’s a lot of construction that looks like it’s trying to be very little,” he says. Both ethereal in appearance and a statement on the antiquated nature of box springs, the design is part of a four-bed DIY series sponsored by mattress and bedding brand Tuft & Needle.

“More and more people are working from a laptop sitting on their bed,” he says. “It’s a place for phone calls, but it’s also a hangout spot for Nextflixing and chilling. This is the most difficult of the four, but it’s very cost-effective. Beds tend to be expensive, but they don’t need a lot of materials. The steel for this frame was about $120 and you need only two small tools: an angle grinder and a welder.”

Uyeda recently completed a shipping container home in Joshua Tree and joined the Semi Exact team as an investor and adviser. The company designs and manufactures furniture components geared toward DIYers. Many clearly share his dream of sleeping on a cloud. The 14-minute how-to video has been viewed more than 1.9 million times.

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