Although our company utilizes a lot of digital technology, our finished products are meant to be the antithesis of high-tech electronics where the technology is completely hidden (and somewhat alienating). Instead, our designs are intended to celebrate the way the products are made, and the way they function - sort of like diagrams of their technology. This principle is our most important one and drives the rest of them.
We attempt to aesthetically turn our products inside out - revealing the analogue nature of the individual systems, and the ways the systems cooperate to allow proper functionality of the final product. In the example of our Tectonic Folding Chair, we have clarified, simplified, separated, and expressed the following systems: Sitting System, Folding System, Cross-link System (to reconcile the differing folding speeds for accommodating the varied geometry of the open/closed structure), Support System, and Foot System. Each system has its own language which visually relates to, or visually contrasts with other systems, and each system has been designed to work on its own, but also in harmony with the other systems.
To reinforce the visual characteristics of the analogue technology, we utilize analogue processes at each step of the design. We start with a hand sketch, move on to miniature hand-built models, then to detailed diagrams, after which we study the form and proportions with digital modeling software. Next, we build prototypes by hand-fabricating the individual components and assemblies to verify that the systems speak of objects constructed by human hands. When we are satisfied with the final proportions and functionality of each component and each system, we revise our digital model, and re-introduce digital technologies such as CNC waterjet cutting, CNC machining, CNC routing, and 3-D printing to fabricate selected components. Finally, we hand-build the jigs for hand-welding, hand-gluing, and hand-assembling the final pieces which will be hand-sanded and hand-finished.