This bench, fashioned from a single piece of black granite, was inspired by an African headrest and designed by Carl Bass. An accomplished and dedicated woodworker, Carl has lately been making thins out of stone and metal, too.
In his day job, Carl is the CEO of Autodesk, which makes 3D design software that helps shape the world we live in. With just under $2 billion in revenues, Autodesk, which is based in San Rafael, CA, sells to the architecture, building, construction, manufacturing and entertainment industries.
I traveled to San Francisco this week to interview Carl at an Autodesk sustainability summit. We met at the Autodesk Gallery at One Market Street, a cool space that showcases some of the cutting-edge sustainability projects designed using the company’s software–the ongoing renovation of the San Francisco Bay bridge, the Tesla electric car, Masdar’s headquarters building which is supposed to generate more energy than it uses.
Autodesk has a slew of sustainability initiatives, including working partnerships with the US Green Building Council, the Biomimicry Institute, the Cleantech Open and Granta Design. It gives away millions of dollars of software every year to clean tech startups and entrepreneurs in 29 countries.
As you’d expect, Carl uses Autodesk’s software — Inventor, in the case of the bench — to test out his designs. This is known in the business world as eating your own dog food. I began our conversation by asking him about his latest creation, a bowl (below) made of metal, stainless steel and bronze that he produced, believe it or not, on a 3D printer. What follows are edited excerpts from our talk. [click to continue…]