Architects at ICFF: Building furniture instead of Buildings

think fabricateLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

These are tough times for architects, and quite a few of them are diversifying into other types of design. Susan Doban and Jason Gorsline of Think Fabricate are one of the most successful, creating "a multidisciplinary design studio based in Brooklyn, creates solutions for better living, learning, and community."

wiring detailLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0
Nice detailing of a common problem- wire management.

James Rose Not HappyLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

James Rose teaches at the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design and has a practice which focuses on sustainability. He showed a clever and attractive flatpack dining table and chair.

james rose models© James Rose

Drawing inspiration from the plywood furniture of the post-war era, these prototypes attempt to create a synthesis of process, material and aesthetic. Just as mid-century furniture relied on emerging technologies of the day, this chair and table were created using current computer-aided design and manufacturing methods. These methods allow for the same CAD file to be used to produce a scale model or to cut a full-size prototype to study ergonomics. Precise tolerances allow for efficient use of material; in the case of the chair, six may be cut from one 4’ x 8’ sheet with 10% or less waste.

KRH Cube openLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Some of the partners at Kochman Reidt + Haigh Cabinetmakers started out as architects, and you can see it in the design of the Cube, a perfect 36x36x36 inches.

Our simple form has a rich surface and hidden assets. When this furniture is at rest, four stools nest within the table. The Cube is made from American black walnut and anodized aluminum.

cubeLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

I found the chairs to be really heavy (they are solid walnut) and a tight fit to get into the cube without banging the table, but it certainly is clean and minimal. More at

Many architects try their hand at furniture at some point in their careers; it takes a lot of guts and a big investment to display it to the world at a show like ICFF. I admire them all.

Architects at ICFF: Building furniture instead of Buildings
In these tough times, more and more architects are turning to furniture design. Here are a few we saw at ICFF

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