Alison Mackie

Twisting and folding materials is what Alison Mackie likes to do best or, or as she puts it, ‘take a flatsheet and fold’. Plywood – both flexible and robust – is the ideal material for her curvaceous designs and her display sees a series of pieces, a canoe-shaped chaise longue and table, two rocking chairs and oval lights, which ‘are easy to produce and not too highbrow.’ Mackie’s dissertation focuses on glass in architecture, with skyscrapers featuring heavily as an influence. She has used her urban photographs of London and Chicago as subjects for her silkscreen prints, transfering them on to the plywood furniture. The result is a Metropolis-like feel, tamed by carefully rounded shapes. ‘It’s a low collection,’ says Mackie of the child-like sizes of her five pieces (which is intended) ‘to maximise the impact of the architecture in which it could be placed.’ In the future, she sees herself as working for a company like Habitat, ‘designing for people’s homes.’ Mackie initially applied for the furniture course, but says her lights are equally inspired by the industrial design side of the course. Of her two years at RCA, she notes that ‘any of this [creativity] would have not happened if it hadn’t been for the interaction with the others [students]’, and that Arad taught her to keep on pushing boundaries and not to be easily satisfied. ‘In the first year, I was playing around. I would create weird shapes not knowing what they were, but then you have to make a decision, they have to live and exist. That’s when they become real.’

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