Brittany MacDougall is an evolving furniture designer and maker from Toronto, Ontario. She grew up exposed to handcrafted furniture made by her grandfather and has been a figure in the wood shop since she was young.
Britt is an emerging graduate from the Furniture Craft+Design program at Sheridan College. Her designs are modern and functional while incorporating asymmetrical forms, secondary materials, and an interesting use of negative space and colour. She applies her techniques to a variety of wood species, using solid hardwood and plywood as primary materials.
Her goal is to produce timeless, beautiful pieces of furniture with designs that she hopes find solutions to problems that people did not know existed.
When I first started designing and making furniture it seemed to be centred on simple forms that functioned well for my personal use. Furniture that exists is from someone else’s point of view, I like to make furniture because I can imagine it in my own way. I design furniture how I think it should work, in the hopes that others will find the same joy in it as I do, and that it will function harmoniously for them.
My designs are function followed by form, and I try to include elements that will intrigue the user visually. Traditional and modern design features are inspirational and present in my designs with my own filter imposed to create beautiful and functional furniture pieces and objects. While every design is different and I always select the material that is most appropriate, walnut is one of my favourite materials to use. I like the warmth of walnut and the amazing transformation it undergoes when you apply an oil finish; it comes to life. I desire to create dynamic relationships between elements, which add visual interest by incorporating secondary mediums such as fabric, metal and colour. I am drawn to asymmetrical forms, which I find to be a strong and compelling element that makes each side of the piece interesting to look at. I also like to focus on negative space and how you can use it, functionally or not. What is really important is how the piece comes together in the end with all of these carefully considered details.
I grew up around handcrafted furniture. My Grandfather built his house and designed all of the furniture in it, which has always fascinated me. He was often in his shop working on something new. My first experience in the wood shop was at the age of 11. I was excited to see what I could design and how I would create it. These wood shop classes became part of my standard learning from the age of 11 – 18 when I graduated high school. Had I known about the Furniture program at Sheridan upon graduation, I would have jumped right in. Although in hindsight, approaching it with a higher level in maturity helped me have greater success than I would have otherwise.
For me designing and making are elements that are equally important. I learn and realize so much in the process of working through a design idea. My designs are functional pieces that stay true to the original intent, refined through the editing details to create beautiful furniture and objects. Experiencing a finished piece of work is the most rewarding aspect, which I look forward to throughout manufacturing. I have found something in furniture making that I love and am passionate about like nothing else. For me it is extremely enjoyable and does not feel like work at all.