So here’s the deal: I’ve recently become completely obsessed with gypsies. Or, more accurately, I’ve become obsessed “Big Fat Gypsy Weddings,” a new-ish British documentary series airing on Channel 4 that made its stateside debut on TLC this past weekend with a slightly tweaked name: "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding."
For those of you who have known and love the seven-part series (I started watching it earlier this month on YouTube), you’re probably well aware that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill reality wedding show. Although curious courting rituals and outlandish matrimonial garb (think Lady Gaga and Nicole Polizzi go to prom in 1980s Manchester) do play central roles in the show, the main draw of "Big Fat Gypsy Weddings" is the intimate glimpse we get into the brutish — and often tragically short — lives of young, modern-day Romany gypsies and Irish Travelers living in the U.K.
Although I haven’t contemplated the carbon footprint of the contemporary, caravan-dwelling Irish Traveler — as evidenced in the show, gypsy housing has become rather sedentary in recent years and most 21st century tinkers aren’t exactly driving pollution-spewing RVs all over kingdom come — I have wondered about what kind of home furnishings would appeal to a modern traveler with nomadic inclinations.
I think I’ve found my answer: Clark Davis’ Gypsy Modular, a nifty line of LEGO-inspired home furnishings that are “designed to assemble and disassemble repeatedly, for those who move a lot,” no tools or hardware needed. The interchangeable parts that comprise a piece of Gypsy Modular furniture are made from either unfinished Baltic birch ply or Melamine-faced, recycled content MDF (medium-density fiberboard).
Of course, Davis, the Provo, Utah-based son of a cabinetmaker, didn’t conceive Gypsy Modular specifically for the Romani or Irish Travelers but rather for mobile populations: students, young professionals and growing families who tend to relocate or reorganize a lot. Davis, who is apparently Mormon and not of Romany extraction, explains the inspiration behind his reconfigurable furniture line:
Toward the end of my college career I was able to solve my need for mobility as a college student, by creating a new medium of creativity in furniture. In spring of 2009 I was moving for the seventh time in my college career. At the start of my college career, I made a mission-style desk, bookcase, and chair of quartersawn oak set at my dad's cabinet shop. Every time I moved I had to find someone with a truck and round up a crew of husky roommates to help me move. I am the type of person that likes change and likes the freedom of being able to pack every thing I own into my car and leave. But the hassle of big bulky furniture kept me from doing this.
Explains Davis on the project's Kickstarter page:
I have currently prototyped several of the pieces of the set, and proven the concept. The hurdle now is getting a big enough order to be economically feasible. I would like to add some variety in color, fabric bins, and other accessories, but don't have the volume to do it. Your pledge will help me get to those quantities. Then I can focus on bringing more cool products to the kids line, and expanding the student and home lines. I have several more products in the works for the 'Kids' and 'Student' line, as well as a 'Home' line I am working on.