Why “Runcible?”

Many people ask where the name “Runcible Studios” came from. I usually begin by explaining that the word “runcible” was coined by Edward Lear in his poem “The Owl and the Pussycat,” which I explain here. But there’s more to the story. Hilary Knight’s illustrations of the poem, in a 1983 edition, were entirely captivating to me as a pre-schooler. I loved finding tiny details in the drawings, visual puns, inventive textures, and wild creatures. I loved the structures: how they were made up of trees and branches, or shells and sand, or even seafoam and wind. There were spaces for a single creature, stairs that wound up fanciful towers, and always a swing in the branch of a tree. There were buildings without walls, windows without glass – this was a land of warmth and gentle breezes, where the moon was full, and an owl and a cat could be best friends.

When I was in architecture school, a favored topic of conversation late at night was brainstorming what we’d call our firms someday. There was a lot of EX[peri]ment-ATIon with capitals and brackets, imagined partnerships, and debate over who had the most architect-y sounding name. What could possibly embody all we dreamed of for ourselves, our work, and the image we wanted to project? I always imagined using my initials, MWM. An angular palindrome of strong letters, it skirted the issue of all those pesky brackets while also remaining closely tied to my identity. I could never get it to sit right, though. Should it be MWM Studio? MWM Architects? MSquaredDesign? Ehhh…none of these worked for me. I determined that the fact that I couldn’t settle on a name doomed my plans to hang out my own shingle.
I decided to do it anyway. My last day of work before setting out on my own was 1 November 2013. On the way home from work, a name rang clearly in my head: Runcible Studios. I laughed out loud, with absolute delight – and filed “Runcible Studios, LLC” with the state of Massachusetts.