Mario Davila

’22 Furniture Design

Mario completed the MassArt Furniture Design Certificate Program in 2022. He initially focused on traditional craftsmanship in order to develop a foundational knowledge in joinery, but soon began to test the conventional notions of form. To cap off the Furniture Certificate Program, he sought to explore the limits of wood as a furniture medium. He began by sketching amoeba-like forms, focusing on continuous shapes that flowed in and out of themselves, breaking apart and then seamlessly joining together again –forms that are naturally suited to metal, plastic, or ceramic. Unlike those mediums, wood has limited malleability due to the layers of fibers that form the grain and the long-term challenges posed by wood’s natural expansion and contraction over time. After building a series of miniatures and a partial full-scale model, he settled on a form that could also serve as functional furniture: a dining table with glass top. He was left only with the challenge making it. Over the course of a semester, Mario carved 78 layers of African mahogany, joining them together through hundreds of interlocking pieces fixed in opposing directions to create unusual stability. The final piece not only highlights the form, but also the intersecting layers that were carved to create it. He now explores this practice further by designing and building in a way that understands, but isn’t limited by, tradition.

Mario Davila is a furniture designer living and working in the Boston area. Mario took up furniture-making as a way to synthesize his seemingly disparate passions of arts and engineering. Since joining a custom furniture shop in 2016, he has completed coursework at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, apprenticed with a bespoke furniture maker in London, and completed the Furniture Design Certificate Program at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.