Design Philosophy


The Sara Wise Design Philosophy

Sara’s design talents bridge the gap between architectural designer and fabricator. With the design and technical education and training of an architect and extensive fabrication experience working with wood, sheet resins, and metals, she has an intuitive sense for design.

Unlike many of her competitors, Sara Wise spends a great deal of time in the shop, fabricating prototypes and components of production pieces herself. She works intimately with her team of expert craftsmen to complete each piece – obsessing over weld locations, edge band details, and finishes.

Sara’s hands-on involvement allows her to distill the design elements of her pieces at full-scale to ensure every detail is perfectly proportioned and each and every piece is flawlessly executed. Because the scale of furniture is so intimately linked to the scale of the human body, very small changes in the size and proportion of elements can have a large impact on the visual weight of the piece as a whole. Her commitment to finessing a piece at full-scale results in a much more refined finished product.

Sara’s designs are inspired by travel experiences. They are also inspired by her undergraduate work in biology and her curiosity about the natural world. They are inspired by her study of the history of art, architecture, and the furniture craft. They are inspired by the beauty of her native Pacific Northwest.

Her undergraduate foundation in science means that her appreciation for the inherent qualities of her materials are rooted in her understanding of them at the cellular and molecular levels. Sara Wise has a genuine respect for the unique characteristics of each material and seeks to capitalize on them in an expressive way. This respect is also a key consideration in the development of the sustainable design strategy that is so important to the Sara Wise Design philosophy.

New designs are inspired by everything from the rich grain patterns of a walnut slab, to a sophisticated cocktail, to an ancient ruin. Sara develops her ideas first in hand-drawn sketches, then in 3D rendering and CAD software, then at times in physical scale models. Each piece is then prototyped at full-scale in the intended materials. At this phase of the development of the design, we are able to better evaluate the form and function of the design, removing unnecessary elements or adding them where needed to refine the aesthetic or fortify the structure.
The Sara Wise Design process manifests in a contemporary aesthetic and durable heirloom-quality pieces of a unique style that will stand the test of time.

Please see our Sustainability page for more specific information on our emphasis on sustainable design and quality construction