The principals of Vancouver-based furniture design firm Lock & Mortice did not start out as woodworkers. Originally a creative house working in a variety of different mediums, Josiah Peters, Rachel Peters, and Ryan Tam are industrial designers who eventually decided furniture design was the best way for them to execute their aesthetic vision. “Our interests lay in designing and manufacturing products of enduring relevance and utility, combining creative and even old-world knowledge of a medium with future-thinking technology,” Josiah Peters says. However, the current state of mass market furniture stores, waste, and poorly made items means that the field for furniture is complex, especially for those who want to maintain a certain ethic.
“We were haunted by the idea that the world doesn’t really need any more furniture companies,” Peters explains. Following their aesthetic principles faithfully and with a commitment to sustainability, they decided that using a region-based approach to wood furniture would be the best means to bring together all the ends. “We’ve found that most well-intentioned industrial designers don’t understand manufacturing, and that comes through in products that are driven by ego and personal expression,” Peters says. “We don’t feel that we’re doing anything shocking, but wanted our business to be consistent with our values and not flood the market with unnecessary products that have a big ecological footprint.”
The result is collections of solid wood furniture, and the manufacturer hopes to someday transport the model to different regions, taking cues from the local materials and systems to craft unique pieces for clients with sustainability in mind. It’s a vision of design simplicity at odds with the trend-based design world but one that fits well with the West Coast idea of sustainability and perennial use. From elegant black-stained dining tables with slender arching legs to robust, pyramidal coffee tables, the craftsmanship and aesthetic considerations of the work are apparent from the start.
Now, the brand has also ventured into lighting design, collaborating with Matthew McCormick Studio to create a linear, solid-wood light fixture. The tie between the two brands has culminated in a shared flagship studio in Vancouver’s Gastown, Arcade, that features the elegant wood furniture along with McCormick’s provocative lighting fixtures, a combination that emphasizes the ever-increasing strength of Vancouver’s industrial design scene. People should take note.