In Hand

Touch as a Critical Act in Creating and Experiencing the Built Environment


  • David Schafer Studiomake





architecture, craft, design, digital fabrication, hardware


This photo essay depicts the design and fabrication research that David Schafer and his team conducted through a grant from the Association of Siamese Architects (Thailand). His architecture and design practice crafted bespoke objects which investigate the value that hands-on making gives to an intuitive and embodied design. Seeking intimate relationships with the hand, skin, eyes, and body both before, during, and after manifestation, this work describes a material practice intimately familiar with making’s feedback mechanisms and constituent benefits to the design studio. They study ergonomic relationships with familiar object typologies and segue into the creation of experientially sensitive door handles in wood, leather, steel, brass, and other materials. The palpable haptic richness of these objects, through a responsive and fertile design process, reveals opportunities amicably distant from standardised, functionalist design methods.

How to Cite

Schafer, D. (2020). In Hand: Touch as a Critical Act in Creating and Experiencing the Built Environment. Cubic Journal, 3(3), 12–31.



Author Biography

David Schafer, Studiomake

David Schafer is an architect and fabricator based in Bangkok, Thailand since 2009. Originally from California, he first explored architecture at the University of Arizona. He earned his architecture license from the State of California, and then returned to academics to study a more intimate scale of making. At Cranbrook Academy of Art, he formulated the approach that would lead him and his late partner, Im Sarasalin Schafer, to establish Studiomake. This practice maintains that innate understanding of our environment is rooted in intimate scales of interaction. In their studio these tactile moments develop from fluid, recurrent shifts between the act of design and the performance of construction. Working in full scale and real time the team of architects and craftsmen explore the overlapping realms of architecture, interiors, furniture, and object design.


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