Newcastle, UK | Woods: Cherry
Mac Collins is a British designer from Nottingham. Mac graduated in 2018 with a degree in Three-Dimensional Design from Northumbria University, where he is currently a designer in residence. Since graduating, Mac has received a number of awards, including the Hole & Corner Cræftiga Prize, and has recently launched a collection of furniture with makers Benchmark. Mac uses his creative practice to explore the effects of interaction, the value in celebrating identity, and the connections that might be made between objects and their owners.
‘Although there was a brief and there were parameters, you had this complete freedom of expression within the materials you were allowed to use.’
The design process
Collin’s examined his own feelings about the sense of isolation felt by millions of people over the past 18 months. ‘It seemed the word “isolation” had become negative, almost demonised. However, in my mind, it had always been a really romantic word. It carries positive connotations of being separated from the rigmarole of daily routine, giving you time and space to reflect. I’ve never seen it as a bad thing. I guess it has always suited my personality. Certainly it was never something to avoid or get away from.’
The making of the final piece
After toying with the notion of using red oak, Collins eventually decided to make it his piece in American cherry at the behest of his mentor Tomoko Azumi. ‘Red oak is a material you can stain or chemically whiten easily,’ Collins says. However, he feared it might make the chair appear a little ‘cold’. ‘The sense of isolation I want to achieve isn’t unwelcoming,’ he continues. ‘It is intended to be warm and inviting.’ Cherry became the perfect fit.
The end result
During the pandemic, Collins found that the money he had saved by not going out was used to buy books instead. Subsequently, he needed to create his perfect piece to sit on while he was reading. ‘The chair seemed like an appropriate direction,’ he says. ‘When I think of isolation where would I want to be? I want to be sat down. I want to be in lounge position. And I want to have my reading material around me. I’d want the chair to immerse me and have big surfaces that I could use to put things on.’ The chair also comes with a multi-functional companion piece, which can be used as a little side table or footrest.