Robert Lake

Up Top Designs / Wood Artist

Robert Lake embraces his label as a young designer. He believes that it’s not only his environmental awareness that affords him knowledge and inspiration, but his age as well. It’s this factor, Lake asserts, that allows him to see the world through a different light. It also allows him to juggle his regular job at Robbins Sport Surfaces and his own business Up Top Designs. Lake earned his BA in product design from Finlandia University’s International School of Art and Design, after which he and his wife moved back to Ishpeming, the town in which he was born and raised. It was only two years ago that Lake tried his hand at scroll sawing, but it was certainly not his first experience with the medium. Lake’s late grandfather, John Lake, loved using wood as a medium – carving, scroll sawing, furniture building – and that passion and curiosity for the art form has been passed down to Lake. For the designer, working with wood is more than an artistic outlet. It’s about following in his grandfather’s path. It’s also a means of bonding people with his designs – a quality Lake finds paramount in his work. In a world of constant evolution, Lake uses his ability to study, dissect, and apply what he learns from both his surroundings and his grandfather to make highly unique wood-based designs.

Lake follows a basic model in order to create and execute his product designs. First, Lake defines and evaluates the criteria and material provided by his client. He learns expectations and then goes on to research opportunities for innovation and differentiation from other brands. The design concept comes next, in which Lake creates a rough model. Once a model is selected, Lake creates a detail design. He then resolves any conflicts with the design before manufacturing of the final product begins. Lake’s current Leaf Heart Sun Catchers are a means to call upon fall in the U.P.  The design features beautiful colored leaves sandwiched between Lake’s scroll sawed wood shapes.

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