15 June 2024, 09:25
By Alun Rees May 17, 2024

The art of furniture design

What’s at the heart of good furniture design, and why does it matter? Creative design consultant Alun Rees offers his approach to a unique art form …

Like most retail purchases, buying furniture is rarely met with absolute clarity. As soon as you find something you like, another piece turns your head.

Furniture, like buying a car, presents an endless list of options. From size, to brand, colour, styling, comfort and functionality … it all comes down to personal preference – and when the casually browsing audience has a seemingly endless choice, it’s the furniture designer’s role to make a piece stand out.

So, what sets one piece apart from another? As an experienced designer, I believe it’s not just one factor but a combination of many things that makes a piece of furniture truly stand above the rest.

Consider the Chesterfield sofa, for instance. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different variants available, and each one is unique. The scale, aesthetic, colour, feel, comfort, specification, sustainability and cost all play a crucial role in distinguishing one sofa from another.

Design is a personal journey. Everyone is a designer in their own right, and every design element will appeal to a portion of the marketplace. Design is about understanding the finite aspects of furniture and how they culminate in a harmonious creation. A deep-dive into every element is essential, and manufacturers have to invest in experienced designers to stand above their rivals in a remarkably competitive marketplace.

Design possesses an innate and intuitive quality that defies formal training. As an avid sketcher, I immerse myself in the process of refining shapes and proportions for hours. When examining a form, I instinctively discern subtle imperfections that might elude most observers. While I appreciate the precision of computer-aided design (CAD), it is somewhat limiting compared to the expressive freedom of hand-drawn contours in furniture design.

As a seasoned designer, I believe in the art of harmonising design elements. My relentless pursuit of trend research, coupled with my fascination for colour and texture, is key. The devil is in the details – the subtle loft of a cushion, the intricate patterns that invite softness, the time-worn finish on a walnut leg. It’s about envisioning the product as a cohesive whole, a market offering, a statement. It’s not merely about individual elements, but their symphony.

I’ve always been curious about how design can trigger the buyer’s emotions, and I’ve invested years in exploring the finer details of every element, the nuances that make a piece of furniture stand out. This curiosity and passion for design drives me to create pieces that are not just functional, but also aesthetically pleasing and sustainable.

With a saturated market, the designer’s job is to connect with the audience and create a desire to purchase. We do this by creating value – not just monetary value, but also emotional and aesthetic value. A well-designed piece of furniture is not just a utilitarian object, it’s a piece of art that enhances the space it occupies. It’s about developing pieces that connect with people on a deeper level.

Brand value is also crucial. A strong brand and a unique design signify quality and reliability and influence the perceived value of the product. Building a reputation for excellence and consistently delivering on that promise with a unique style is the raison d’etre of the designer.

In conclusion, good design is about understanding the nuances, appreciating the details, and creating pieces that stand out in a crowd. As designers, we have the power to shape the way people experience their spaces. In my opinion, that is the true essence of furniture design.

Alun can be reached at [email protected], or linkedin.com/in/alun-rees-70287b59.


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