RECEPTIVE DESIGN, through another lens, is also about being openly willing to consider, test, and apply new ideas, beliefs, concepts and interpretations; all while adapting these things to a constantly evolving design ideology.
This initial idea, fused with the interest + needs of the client, is the driving force which informs not only the design and development of the project, but the design process itself. Certain projects may require very specific design strategies, while others may require a more expansive approach. I try to look at each project through a variety of lenses, at various scales, in order to develop an initial scope of potential possibilities.
In terms of construction and woodworking techniques, all of my work is handcrafted with real wood joinery. I spend much time designing my work and the joinery that holds it together; both on paper and digitally, in CAD. I will always provide you with a product which you will never need to replace. I only build with this traditional type of joinery, hand crafted, yet executed with modern procedures + techniques to maintain efficiency.
Wood also stands apart from most other materials, for it has a multitude of positive values that are not as easily quantifiable in scientific terms. We relate to wood on a primal, fundamental level, through the experience of the senses. This creates a unique bond between humans and trees. Not only do we routinely engage wood through every standard sense, whether it be sight, sound, touch, smell, or taste, these relationships are interestingly, and oddly, very closely connected to us + our well being. The richness with which wood resonates with us creates a beautiful, emotional relationship with the material.
Each individual piece of wood tells a story. Containing a wealth of information, each and every board is a diagram of the life of the particular tree from which it was taken. My task as a designer and a craftsman is to incorporate each piece of material exactly where it wants to be, and to justify its existence. Building with once living tissue, however, provides a unique array of challenges which adds an interesting new layer to the design process. Wood, along with everything else, is constantly in motion + always reacting to the environment. Even the most dimensionally stable species can move quite a bit, and all of this movement needs to be accounted for in order to retain the visual and structural integrity of the material. This is one prominent place from which I draw my inspiration; especially pertaining to the investigation of structural and formal design solutions.
I believe my work simply reflects myself, the materials I work with + my design methodologies. This includes everything from the places and spaces that I have inhabited, the circumstances I have experienced, to the evidence I have discovered in my environments.
My work also tends to reflect the relationships and organizations in nature that I am attracted to. I have a very strong interest in the science of the materials with which I work. This is especially true of the specific details of how things are put together; the joinery, the connections, the structure and the moving parts are all places that my mind constantly tends to investigate. Every small detail is just as important to me as the overall form and function of any particular piece.
My work also reflects history. People have been working wood for millennia, and throughout all of this time have developed many procedures and techniques for dealing with and working with wood. I believe it is essential to study these techniques + methods and to use this information to solve design problems within my own work; as well as to develop my own techniques + methods. My work tends to merge the ideas of the past with my own modern approach.
There is this commonly accepted notion that modern design means simple, plain, or even boring (and some of the time it is), but I believe this is generally a misunderstanding; mainly as a result of the introduction of new wood fiber based building materials in architecture and furniture, such as plywood, fiber-boards, particle-boards, as well as plastics. While many of these materials and incredible in terms of their possibilities, much of modern design tends to reflect them and their working properties, and the fact that they don’t have to respond structurally in the same way that wood must. These materials don’t respond to the environment in the same manner that wood does; specifically in reference to moisture and temperature changes. For that reason, they can lack all of the traditional methods and approaches to dealing with these types of issues that we traditionally see in wood design; issues such as expansion + contraction and other types of dimensional instabilities, which are solved when working with solid wood by incorporating techniques such as raised panels, joinery which allows for expansion, proper grain orientation, etc.
Good quality plywood, in the right hands, is an amazing material. It’s extremely strong, versatile, and has changed the way that we build. It can be manipulated, worked and joined + fastened in ways that solid wood simply can’t. I believe it is foolish to ignore this kind of technology. Rather, I believe in the inclusion of these kinds of materials in our work, and simply using them to our advantage to solve our never ending changing world and the design problems that come with it.
The “fluid” nature of wood as a material is another prominent place from which I draw my inspiration. Wood movement consistently becomes a major challenge, and the investigation of potential solutions becomes even more interesting, as there is an infinite amount of ways to build the “same” thing. I enjoy dealing with the difficulties of working with solid wood, and I express this in my work through the inclusion of these techniques + design solutions. Each and every piece or part of a project is there for a reason.
The architecture of the universe around us and within us is ultimately the core of all of my interests. The natural world and it’s systems, structures, processes, and physics is my source of endless inspiration. My goal is to attempt to express even a fraction of this through my work.