May 28, 2004
by Canadian Architect
Graduate architects and designers Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen have won the 2004 International Contemporary Furniture Fair Editors Award for Best New Designer. Held May 15-18, 2004 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, Forsythe and MacAllen won for their Float tea lantern and cups. Manufactured by master craftsmen in the Czech Republic, the Float line is made of heat-resistant, chemically-resistant and inert borosilicate glass. The tea lantern utilizes a double wall of one glass cylinder within another, creating a simple form with multiple uses and expressions. The space between the two glass walls encloses a vacuum to create a thermal layer that insulates steaming hot or icy cold liquids and renders a handle unnecessary. The tea lantern is held and poured like a wine bottle. The optional warming candle beneath the inner glass receptacle further enhances the multisensory effect of the lens of liquid colour suspended within the glass, projecting a play of coloured light onto the table surface.
As principals of the Vancouver architectural studio of Forsythe + MacAllen Design Associates, the duo formed Molo Design to manufacture, distribute and market their designs for products. As stated on their website, the philosophy remains the same for both their architectural and product design, with one simply being an extension of the other. In fact, molo is an acronym for "middle ones, little ones" which reflect only the scale difference in product design, as compared to the "big ones" of their buildings and structures. An example of this close connection is the link between the Float line and their current architectural design project of the Aomori Lantern Houses in Japan. While designing the tea set, they had developed a double-layered glass enclosure for the housing project. In Aomori, the two layers of glass are separated by a continuous balcony space with the exterior layer being diffuse and the inner layer transparent. In both the tea lantern and the housing project, the partners are interested in the fact that the layering creates a practical buffer for temperature, acoustics and privacy, but also expresses the changing, lively nature of the activity and conditions within. For more information on the work of Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen, please visit www.forsythe-macallen.com and www.molodesign.com.