How to Build Impossible Things (Hardback)Mark Ellison (author)
A born storyteller with a remarkable story to tell, Mark Ellison is regarded as New York's finest carpenter and in this rollicking memoir he describes his journey from drop-out to working on the homes of the rich and famous.
Over the past forty years, Mark Ellison has worked on some of the most beautiful homes you've never seen, specializing in rarefied and challenging projects with the most demanding of clients. He built a staircase a famed architect called a masterpiece. He worked on the iconic Sky House, which Interior Design named the best apartment of the decade. He's even worked on the homes of David Bowie, Robin Williams, and others whose names he cannot reveal. He is regarded by many as the best carpenter in New York.
But before he was any of that, Ellison was just 'a serial dropout' who spent his young adult years taking work where he found it and sleeping on couches.
In How to Build Impossible Things, Ellison tells the story of his unconventional education in the world of architecture and design, and how he learned the satisfaction and joy that comes from doing something well for a long time. He takes us on a tour through the lofts, penthouses, and townhouses of New York's elite which he has transformed over the years - before they're camera-ready - and offers a window into what he's learned about living meaningfully along the way. Scrapped blueprints and last-minute demands characterise life in the high-stakes world of luxury construction. From staircases that would be deadly if built as designed to algae-eating snails boiled to escargot in a penthouse pond, Ellison exposes the messy wiring behind the pristine walls - and the mindset that any of us can develop to build our own impossible things.
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 420 g
Dimensions: 220 x 146 x 32 mm
'Like sitting in a room with Mark and hearing the best stories in the world, wound up with wisdom, craft, and hard-won philosophy' - Burkhard Bilger, The New Yorker
'A brilliantly engaging storyteller, laugh-out-loud funny, loving, cheekily smug... an enjoyable read on making, inventing and what might contribute to a life worth living' - Julie Mehretu
Mark is an amazing polymath - and an Olympic-level aesthete. Unlike many polymaths and aesthetes, though, when he gets up in the morning, it's to make real, physical things - including this book' - Craig Nevill-Manning, Engineering Director, Google NYC
'On a job site Mark makes irreverent banter while scribbling measurements on the back of pizza box as works of astonishing complexity and precision materializes under his direction. Now he has somehow applied this same deceptively offhand but exacting craft to unspooling this collection of tales from his ascent to the summit of one of the most demanding construction habitats on earth' - David Hotson, architect, Skyhouse and Pinnacle
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“A truly honest account of how impossible things get done”
This book is refreshing to read, it is a peek into the ordinary life of a carpenter. In between intriguing stories, there are many lessons to be learned. With honest observations about his life, Mark Ellison describes... More
“So much more than wood!”
I know nothing about carpentry. Nothing about wood either, but it didn’t matter in reading this excellent memoir.
Whilst being genuinely fascinated by Ellison’s ability to build just about anything, it was his... More
“Such a Nice Read!”
A great read - I do not know much about carpentry - well I did not, but after reading this book I feel I I do — but going into the book, I was really captivated by the premise as well as having read The New Yorker... More
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