Forrest Kirkpatrick is #MadeForKnoxville.

Forrest isn’t a fan of dichotomies—separating things into categories of black and white, here or there. To him, that’s not how the world works, so it shouldn’t be how he designs and builds. 

This philosophy pushes his team to construct concepts based on fluidity, adaptation and celebration. For if life and culture are not static, then their structures shouldn’t be either. Forrest feels that architecture’s core purpose, and therefore his own, is to add value and beauty to the world around it. 

Fork Design shines through in Knoxville favorites such as the eclectic SoKno Taco and the traveling Vagabond Boutique. 

“Fork Design is about constantly making decisions wherever there is a split in a path, and when there is no path. But I think the guiding star for me and this endeavor is to let it be beautiful.”

Fork Design Sign 1

In Their Own Words..

My story? How long you got? ‘Cause I do like to tell stories.

For real though, in architecture college I really dug into philosophies of design, with a keen interest in moving past unnecessary dichotomies. Science versus art, inside versus outside, analog versus digital, human versus nature, design versus making. Life for me is not an either / or scenario, but rather a both / and / yet experience. Early on I became interested in not just the process of design but also the process of construction and began exploring the trades. Which led to learning about the historical figure of the master builder, who combines the roles of builder, craftsperson, engineer, and designer. Through the journey I’ve come to see that separating life into dyads is to limit things to black and white, which isn’t how the natural world works. It’s not binary. In reality, everything occurs between the black and the white. For instance, the entire color spectrum.

Along the way there have been explorations, failures, adventures, wanderings, and lots of skill learning. It’s a pretty long list. But, suffice to say, I am a licensed architect who really gets into the details of creating the parts and pieces that go into a space. Fork Design began by creating and pre-fabricating educational design displays for HGTV, quickly moving from that platform to designing buildings and exploring processes and materials for prefabrication. Along the way I’ve been fortunate to design The Urban Wilderness way-finding kiosks, Tennessee Valley Bicycles, SoKno Taco, Vagabond Boutique, FLOW A Brew Parlor, Marc Nelson Denim, and Animal Rehab and Wellness Center. At the same time I’ve had the pleasure to design and build the mobile bars for The Mill & Mine, mobile display panels in collaboration with the UT College of Architecture and Design, prefabrication of the custom elements at the Blühen Retail Store, several kitchens, custom furniture pieces, prefabricated wall systems, beer tap handles, and lately a wide variety of what could be called COVID gear for small businesses.

Speaking of COVID … … … 

2020 was a ripe opportunity to take a much needed time-out, a forced winter, look inward and ask some real questions, and begin evolving some of the systems and habits that weren’t exactly helpful anymore. Our relationship with architecture changed — buildings that were supposed to protect us didn’t, and homes that served as a pit stop in hectic lives became sanctuaries. 

I see now that our culture is not a static item, but a landscape of fluidity and constant change. I look for opportunities to celebrate that by creating items, systems, and buildings that are adaptive and responsive. Evolution through design.

Architecture is a social act, which, at it’s core, is about the creation of value. Buildings consume something like 40% of the energy in the United States. Environmental, social, economic, infrastructure, and health concerns, etc, are interrelated. Responsible design is about inclusivity, sustainability, and imagination.

My path has been a bit of a solo journey with many a co-conspirator along the way, and has been driven by an intrinsic curiosity and desire to accumulate both knowledge and skills. Now I’m at a point where the questions and the ideas are getting so big that a new framework and a larger team of collaborators is being created. Fork Design is about constantly making decisions wherever there is a split in a path, and when there is no path. But I think the guiding star for me and this endeavor is to let it be beautiful.


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