CLIENT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW – Darth Vader Meditation Chamber Inspired Furniture!
The Dark Side not only possesses power, but a keen eye for design too! From the sleek look of the Death Star in the first Star Wars™ film, to the details of Darth Vader’s meditation chamber, clean lines and crisp geometry are prevalent in Imperial ships and interiors. We were thrilled to channel this design inspiration and create a meditation chamber desk in our Regal Robot Custom Studio, complete with a Darth Vader helmet light and rolling work stool inspired by the seating inside the chamber in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. We’re excited to share the story behind this project from the perspective of our client, Brandi, who is a Darth Vader fanatic and an incredible tattoo artist.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Brandi R. Harkness-Bruce and I’m originally from Kansas. My husband is in the military so I’m actually more of a mutt now than anything else, having lived in not only the Midwest but the Southeast and the Gulf Coast region as well. I came across Regal Robot on a forum years ago on one of my Star Wars fan pages, and fell in love with the attention to detail that seemed to go into the pieces they built. I have been following their Instagram and Facebook for a while now and started to get super jealous of everyone else having amazing Star Wars furniture!
When you initially reached out to the team, your request was for a modified Emperor’s chair. How did this inquiry turn into Darth Vader’s meditation chamber inspired desk and chair?
That’s a great question. The Emperor’s chair is definitely an amazing piece. When talking with Tom though, we began to realize that the modifications might not work for what I was essentially looking for as an artist. Tattooing is a different format that can leave the artist limited on space and maneuverability. Tom asked if he could concept some ideas for me based on my personal likes and dislikes with the Star Wars universe. I’m deeply in love with Darth Vader – I believe that in both cinema and every literary format, he is the character that is more credibly human than any other. Being into Zen Buddhism, I thought it was only fitting if there was someway to figure out a way to bring the meditation chamber concept to life. I was definitely thinking that it would be impossible. But lo and behold, in the amazing sketches that I was given to look through, there it was!
Once the Regal Robot team proposed an idea for this Darth Vader inspired desk, what was your reaction to hearing about this concept?
I flipped in a good way. I never would have conceived that it was feasible. And even the idea for the stool… that’s perfect for me to actually work on a client in. It just fell together in the most perfect way.
As a tattoo artist, how will you be using this desk and chair in your studio space?
The desk itself fits in my tattoo booth. I have been using it as a sketch space where I do my actual drawing. The lighting that is set up on it is perfect as it’s directed from above me and straight down to the piece I am working on. I don’t have to worry about adjusting it while I’m working as it’s evenly dispersed. The stool… I can’t say enough good things about the stool. When talking with Tom, it was important for him to know that this stool was going to be able to be adjustable in height and have a pretty thick base as I spend a good 8 hours a day with my butt planted in it. They added the back piece so that it matches the movie scene and it ended up being a lifesaver. I’m able to have some lower back support. I haven’t been able to find a comfortable tattoo stool in the 11 years I’ve been doing this. It’s a very big complaint in our community because – as I mentioned – an artist lives in their stool. And the first few days I’ve had it, I haven’t had the hip pain or the lower back issues that I have been complaining about for years.
What was your first reaction when you finally saw the completed desk?
My first reaction was “it’s perfect” and it’s brilliant. It’s durable. It screams Star Wars. It’s everything I could have asked for and more in furniture for my studio. I just don’t even want to leave my booth anymore.
Other than the Darth Vader helmet inspired lamp, the overall design of this desk is very subtle. Have any of your tattoo clients recognized the nod to Star Wars?
Fortunately, I know some pretty cool clients who are close to my level of complete nerdom, so I have had a few who have been able to piece it together. The Tarkin-inspired chair has stumped more people until you describe the scene from “A New Hope.” The chair is amazing as well. I know that this interview is primarily for the desk, but the same quality went into the larger chair. I actually use it at the desk frequently as well since it’s even more adjustable. And… I’m not going to lie… I sit and roll all over the shop in it trying to impersonate the cold dead stare that Tarkin was known for.
Is the Meditation Chamber similar in terms of recognizability?
I have had to pull up the meditation chamber clip more than a few times. That’s what I love. It’s such a quick scene, but so powerful. And it was more of a common mention in the comic books, and discussed more thoroughly in the novels. So I feel like the right people get it. And it allows me to initiate a conversation with someone – maybe get them to think a little more into Star Wars when originally they might just pass it by. Anytime I can get someone to do that, I consider it a good day!
What sort of reactions have you gotten since adding the new furniture pieces to your studio?
My favorite is that I’m in my booth working on “Death Star 3” [what Brandi’s dubbed her meditation chamber desk]. I’ve gotten a lot of people who want to sit in the chamber. The guys at work have been trying to think of a creative way to put my Tarkin chair on wheels with a joystick since I’ve been rolling all over the shop in it. The most repeated comment is about the craftsmanship and durability. Of course it looks amazing, but the best part is this thing will hold up forever for me. That’s why I went with Regal Robot.
Do you incorporate your love of Star Wars in other ways throughout your studio decor?
Oh man. Here’s where people are gonna start raising their eyebrows if they haven’t already. Yes. My entire booth is nothing but Star Wars. I do a lot of custom artwork that I hand draw, so my walls are covered with that. Every year I do a Star Wars themed tattoo day for the movies, and I also travel down to Mississippi to an amazing shop named Lady Luck Tattoos to do a May the Fourth event as well. For those two days, I draw up at least 2 custom flash boards of Star Wars themed tattoos which I do for a discounted price. So I have those boards on my wall as well. In my meditation chamber, I also have 3 small statues – Yoda, Vader, and a Stormtrooper (Gary, if you will) – that are seated and clothed as Buddha. My favorite Black Series figure that my husband got for me is also here at the shop – Alec Guinness’ Obi Wan as a force ghost. That’s not mentioning my R2-D2 screwdriver, a secret project that I’m working on with my Dad for this December, and all the other small pieces I could go on and on about. So yeah, I guess you could say it’s a thing!
It’s no secret that Star Wars inspires us in our profession and we’re curious about your story as an artist too. Has Star Wars influenced your work as a tattoo artist?
Well besides the projects I mentioned above, I think the Star Wars universe inspires me constantly as an artist. I’m able to take these characters and these concepts and turn them into some really modernized and rad body pieces. There’s so much depth to light versus dark, empire and rebellion, that it makes for some good twists on old concepts from tattoo community heros like Sailor Jerry, Lyle Tuttle, Don ‘Ed’ Hardy, ‘Cap’ Coleman, Paul Rogers. My favorite thing to do when making a flash board is to highlight some of those Easter eggs, or flubs, or unsung heroes of the Star Wars galaxy. I always get a chuckle, or an eye roll, whenever I do it, but honestly, those are the things that Lucasfilm and now Disney do that keeps it real for me and for thousands of others. I promise you, the Porkins art coming from me will never stop. Being able to mix in Space Balls, Robot Chicken, Family Guy, and other pop culture references helps me to just get that much more inspired when I sit down with an idea.
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Brandi! If readers would like to learn more about the custom studio process, click here or check out our premium special edition Star Wars themed furniture here. Whether you have an idea in mind for a custom creation or would like to commission us to create new concepts just for you, we can make your Star Wars home decor dream a reality!
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