Frances Stacey leading a drawing workshop at Southwell Minster
Initially this was explored through the research of Rooms and Chairs. Eliel Saarinen whilst teaching at Cranbrook recommended to his students “if you want to design a chair consider the room, if you want to design a room consider the house, if you want to design a house think about the city.”[iii] A field trip to Helsinki, Finland was a key part of the design research process to study the works of Alvar Aalto. This included a wonderful visit to the Korhonen Factory to see the production of Artek furniture, which gave insight into the relationship between furniture and architecture. MARS was shown around the factory by Jenni Korhonen, Great-Great-Grand Daughter of Otto Korhonen, the founder and key collaborator in the realisation of Aalto’s furniture designs.
MARS visit to Korhonen Factory
Chair by William Hathaway, Ben Stanforth, Jonathan Hallett
These strands of research formed a foundation for each student to explore an individual thesis project, in which making was the primary mode of design research. 2012 – 2013 was an excellent year with Laura Gaskell’s ‘London Makers Foundation’ cited by the Architects Journal as a sophisticated and well-crafted thesis project,[i] she worked collaboratively and yet was rivaled by her 12 friends and colleagues.