Each new material selection of high quality hardwoods


Each design period, which
I’ve previously mentioned, has developed from an external influence, a driving
force that has push that idea to a new style of furniture. The act of bring
something new to the market has been from a certain reason.


During the French design
period in the 1940’s, the movement of hand made, high-class furniture was
introduced to rejoice and allow the nation to celebrate in a time of sadness. 1937
The world’s Fair in Paris, was the showcase of a brand new start, as this was
post World War I. When many families had lost everything and they didn’t have
much to celebrate for; this period of turmoil was the perfect chance for
designers to make a statement in the world of design. The new material
selection of high quality hardwoods such as sycamore and mahogany, were
expensive thus showing a great more commitment to the effort that had gone into
designing the residential furniture at the time. However these external
influence that can drive a movement of design into a positive outlook can also
not end in the way the designer intend.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now


The end of World War II
allowed designers to once again capitalise the celebration amongst the public
in their designers. In 1947, the release of the exhibition ‘La Residene
Francaise’ (The French Home) showcased interiors of such beauty and class,
offering new luxury furniture in each household for a higher class of living.

Where as the response was criticism stating that is was more of ‘an insult to the war victims’ 1. In
response to this poor judgement of not properly observing the actually struggle
of rebuilding the city, they showcased in the same year a Reconstruction and
Urbanism Fair, offering much stylish new furniture, but for a lower and middle
class of people. External driving forces are extremely hard to anticipate and
to supply a successful outcome, however said, if done correctly can work
extremely profitably for a positive new era of furniture.


From these external that can
affect the way we designer, another driving force can appear which is the new
design philosophy that emerges. Having the new eye to develop a new icon also
can be something, which is naturally harnessed by the designers themself. Ray
and Charles Eames are a classic example of this, being chosen by Nelson himself
as they were ahead of their time. From the new styles of curvaceous forms to
bring into a new modernistic, residential home in the shape of the La Chaise
lounger which they gave a reimage; to the way that they used manufacturing to
their advantage.


Manufacturing is possible one
of the biggest factors that drives the world of design today. Either creating
bespoke furniture that is more luxurious and highly detailed in material
selection to the manufacturing process is something, which necessarily have an
argument to being more aesthetically stimulating on the eye. In 2016 where I
had the privilege in working for Jake Phipps Limited, I had the chance to work
with such luxurious furniture and see first hand how much precision that goes
into making just one piece. This is a much more consuming time period, resulting
in a target market of a much higher class, who can afford this style of


Where as Mass Production, has
now become a new trend. The demand of fast, easily constructible furniture is
now in high demand from the driving force of new flexible workspaces, to the increase
of population. Swedish company Ikea, introduced the ‘moment when the idea of flat-pack was born’ 2,
in 1956 as the co-founder Gillis Lundgren wasn’t able to transport an item of
furniture. The concept of bringing a self assembled products to customers has
allowed Ikea to benefit on so many parts of its business model such as spending
less time on construction, less capacity to maximise efficiency of transport;
thus resulting in less carbon footprint per unit making a more profitable
business model. Having a simplistic design, which can be easily manufactured,
has allowed design to transform into a minimalist culture which many people
aspire their office spaces and residential homes to look like.





























A Comparison between Old and New Office Furniture


Looking back at
the 1940’s we see the evolution of office based furniture change from small
working pods, to the a flexible workspace we see today.


Call centres, and the layout
of offices with private pods allowed a one-purpose workspace. This postcard
(figure  ), shows the style of an
American Mailing Department in 1941, presenting the close proximately which
people worked extremely long hours in. Specifically exanimating the furniture
in the postcard, the material choice would have been hard wood offering the
properties on being extremely sturdy and durable surface for working on,
similar to pieces of furniture, which were produced in the France 1940’s in
term of material selection. In terms of form and style, postcard noted 1941,
shows off a vibrant emerald green which stands out for a office desk, which
normally showed off the natural grain of the hardwood itself. However the form
of the table and chairs which the woman are seated on, doesn’t scream out
expressive form, however sticking more to the functional fundamentals of a
chairs ergonomics. It this context of the image, its was quite a statement to
have a matching coloured chair and desk of the same colour, so this piece was
really making a statement to the luxury of this office space, trying to make
employees feel motivated to work in a depressing period on World War II. The
table and chairs manufacturing status would have normally been mass
manufactured because of the quantity needed for an office space, however this
image differs. Each piece of furniture in different to one another showing that
they have been hand made showing the craftsmanship at the time; this could have
been used for advertisement to show the celebrating of designers at the time. I
could this postcard because it really captures the design philosophy, in using
unique colours to make the environment of the office lifestyle seem more
exciting in a time of distress.



In comparison if we look into
a more contemporary piece of office based furniture from designers Nendo
(Figure ) it has a completely different taste to the post card. The rolling
partitions have been design ‘to achieve a dynamic work space that would
enhance the “rotation” of the brain coupled with the rolling
whiteboard’ 2. On one side, a whiteboard
that offers brainstorming activities and group based work to happen, whilst the
other side uses an acoustic material to offer as a noticeboard. The ability to
offer a multi-purposeful piece, allows the user to create a space unique to
them, making a space more creative and useful to the user’s needs. Whilst the
furniture in figure () used an exotic colour choice for the time; the form of
the dividers allows the piece of furniture to be easily modified into any environment,
further offering several colour ranges to customise a workspace. Japanese
company Kokuyo have worked in partnership with Nendo as they are the manufactures,
and this works effectively like seen with Herman Miller, because when designer
and manufacture combine forces, they have a better understanding of each field
resulting in a well-designed product.



 2.3 The New Themes
existing in Residential Furniture



Residential furniture has
evolved and changed through time for the needs and trends of the time. As
previously stated, furniture in the 1940’s was a decorative piece taking
inspiration from the Art Deco theme; however now there are several different
needs which need to be considered.



The need to have furniture
purely for function has now rapidly changed into concepts that come more of a
trend. The book ‘The House as Symbol of Self’ talks about how ‘The house therefore nicely reflects how man
see’s himself’ 3, in regards to the interior and exterior. Thus the style
and brand of furniture plays an extremely large part to the choice that we have
to make. The collaboration between designers allows an exclusive collection from
a fusion of brands to have a original designed, making the range desirable.  For Example, the
collaboration of both Swedish companies Ikea and Hay, released a full range of
furniture for the IKEA’s Democratic Design Event, October 2017 4. They explored the fact that Ikeas
philosophy offers simplicity in residential environments, however through Hay’s
perspective could they design complex furniture to simplified solutions (See
figure 1.9). Having two brands with high reputations and sharing knowledge
targets a wider audience who desire the simplistic furniture that both
companies achieve.







Residential furniture has now
evolved into two major processes due to the manufacturing process that are mass
manufactured, and bespoke design. Each fall into their own category to target a
specific market. The manufacturing can thus alter the final form of the piece,
allowing this to be a huge theme in residential furniture.

Bespoke Furniture is further
known to be apart of the ‘Make to Order’ (MTO) Sector 5, allowing to have
little stock at one time, saving costs of production so that it can be MTO.

Jake Phipps Ltd is an exemplar of this process, as he designs highly details
pieces of furniture to a upper-class of cliental. This process uses a high
mirror polish steel to create the astonishing style through the form and also
the reflections of light, which are cast. This process will take much longer
than the process that IKEA and other mass manufactured furniture companies for
residential furniture.



When an item of furniture is
being designed the considerations to achieve a functional piece of furniture are
using the same functional ergonomics, however also having a new mind-set.

Residential sitting can be achieved in several different ways because everyone
will use product completely differently, so designing for the future is extremely
difficult. For example the Actulum chair, allows the ”sitting angles to change when the entire chair tilts”3;
allowing the chair to be used in a range of different activates. There is a
natural equilibrium that looks into the balance, as that is a major factor when
seated. Or could there not be a chair that allowed anyone to sit in any
position they pleased? The Credo Chair, designed by HAG; was a design approach
to the following considerations ”Salary
level should not determine the functionality of a chair… We have not been
created for static life”5. This new theme for this chair allows the user
to be engaged with active work such as having an home office or working at
home, to being able to recline, relax and use the same chair but in a different





Another possibility into the
new function of furniture could be rather than having the support, could
freedom be a new influencing factor? As our population is increasing
dramatically, and trends of modernism are taking influence, old styles of
furniture now will not be able to carry out the functions that we need.