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Forsythe + MacAllen - Chairs and Furniture
Forsythe + MacAllen
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Forsythe + MacAllen

Vancouver, Canada

"Materials, Methods, and Design

In our practice, we have noticed that design ideas not only travel from head to hand ... but also the other way around. It is often the hands and eyes which make discoveries that inspire design. That is why, as often as possible, we physically make things. We make experiments which are allowed the risk of an unpredictable outcome, We make things at various scales from small utilitarian objects to furniture and buildings which we design.

We do this because architectural ideas communicate themselves physically and we believe that an understanding of materials and methods allows for a complete design process. We are also involved in the making of things because construction processes can offer unique opportunities for design intervention.

During design and construction we have lived on or nearby the site, experiencing day into night, first light, seasonal change and the intricacies and extremes of weather. In addition to climate and the physical particulars of a site, We have developed an interest in the importance of the local economy and building culture (technologies, skills, materials, etc.) and their effect on a building's form.

In each project, the process of construction has revealed the complexity of the design. Elements of architecture - platform, wall, window, threshold, roof, etc. - uncovered at various stages of building, have each become a physical measure of site and desire. During construction, information previously unseen was unraveled and inspiration renewed. Improvisations were then made based on new findings. Improvisation during construction has added myth to the stories of the making of various projects.

An understanding of materials that is cultivated directly, through making, is thorough with infinite subtlety because the lessons are measured in relation to one's body. Body memory is extremely strong and complex. This gets at the potency which materials can have in architecture, for a person who inhabits a space as well as the person who makes it."

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