Collaboration en Route to Coffee and a Chair Design

I can’t help but notice that whenever I walk anywhere from the office with Jason Gorsline, design director of THINK FABRICATE, he is almost always inclined to embark on a different route than I would have taken if I had been walking on my own. It feels a little counterintuitive, even funny, to me at times, to walk on the unaccustomed side of Tillary or Flatbush, but, as a result, I end up looking at the environment around the building where we work in an ever-so-slightly new way. This new take on the rather routine makes me think about why it is that I usually walk the same way, why I avoid these other equally obvious and perfectly fine routes, and what makes one person favor one path over another!

It also makes me smile to think not just about the paths taken to get a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, but about many of the products in our collection introduced last weekend at BKLYN Designs, and how they reflect the unique input and viewpoints of many members of our collaborative design team, each inviting the others to look at things in a new way, leading to a result that is better than it would have been with just one viewpoint!

Many visitors to our booth were quick to run their hands over the back of our Stepping Wood chair, part of our Stepping Stones collection; and many members of our team had input on its design! The initial idea for a chair of that type came from the design of cafeteria booth seating for a college. Jason then wanted to further explore the shape of that bench seating and different options for cladding. We explored numerous variations on the shape, including the angle of the chair back, in a series of prototypes. During their fabrication, Nicholas Oshlick at the shop suggested introducing colored strips of MDF as a counterpoint to the wood cladding. At one point I may even have pushed for bamboo plywood as the primary cladding material, and for using thin strips of the bamboo to create the curved edges that had such tactile appeal. Kelli Miller, Associate at Doban Architecture, suggested painting the edges of those bamboo strips to match the MDF, adding greater depth and interest. As we finalized colors, Jason pushed for a bright shade of pink to highlight the end caps of the chair. At the very last minute, we fine-tuned the shape of openings and worked together to create a rich pattern involving the deep purplish strips of bamboo, the MDF, and the plyboo planks. The result was captured on Interior Design’s blog yesterday!

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