Several large furniture companies produce furnishings and equipment specifically for those who need assistance. Healthcare equipment includes wheelchairs, rollaway carts, lift chairs, and adjustable tables to help people with disabilities or those requiring hospitalization. Generally, healthcare equipment and furnishings are mass produced;
however, architects, designers, and artisans have also focused on designing limited-run, custom furnishings. When architect Alvar Aalto designed the Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Paimio, Finland, in 1933, he also designed the furnishings and casework for each of the patient rooms (Figure 2.28).
Today, many medical beds designed for intensive care units (ICUs) are air inflated, temperature controlled, movable, and adjustable in length, height, ... >
Partitioning space is another determinant of function. Space can be subdivided or unified through the location and use of built-in furnishings, privacy screens, and shelving systems. Consider how built-in and partitioned pews have influenced the perception of interior space in many older churches and cathedrals across Europe (Figure 2.25). At the other end of the spectrum, consider the many office environments, hotel lobbies, museum exhibits, libraries, and restaurant spaces in which freestanding furniture functions to partition and define zones of activity, independent of the interior or architectural frame. Office storage systems can provide flexible arrangements, dividing and subdividing large spaces into more manageable spaces or more private spaces (Figure 2.26)... >
Storing, displaying, and organizing items are determinants of function. Storing and displaying are separate functions that can occur simultaneously, as in a jeweler’s display case. Boxlike furniture such as chests of drawers, dressers, bookcases, storage units, and buffets are case goods (Figure 2.21). Case goods are freestanding elements, generally made of wood. The early seventeenth-century cabinet shown in Figure 2.22 is a decorated case good used to store personal or valuable items. The detail in the cabinet contrasts with the conventional white painted pedestals used to display art in many gallery settings (Figure 2.23), which, in turn, reveals fundamental distinctions between storing possessions and displaying art... >
People depend on furniture to perform a variety of activities. Furniture influences how one experiences a meal, reads a book, types a report, works at a computer, or writes at a desk, though the relationships between the form, material, and activity need to be studied further. The ability to identify the measurable and material aspects of furniture that contribute to structural integrity, use, and pleasure is key to understanding basic relationships in design.
Eating, reading, typing, and writing are performance-based activities. Observing and analyzing correlations between furniture, the human body, and activities can help designers better understand how and why furniture performs well or poorly... >
Squatting is considered by many to be the first and most natural means of sitting and is especially prevalent in nomadic, African, and Eastern societies. Squatting works a variety of muscles and places the body close to the ground (Figure 2.12). Today, out of the tens of thousands of chairs available, stools and inflated therapy balls are among the few furnishings designed to accommodate a squatting posture. Squatting is physiologically healthy and doesn’t rely on the use of or need for chairs. In some places throughout the world, a cross-legged seated posture is common, while in other places, such as in Japan, kneeling is preferred. But most people in Western societies have cultural and societal preference for chairs... >
The best of today’s furniture provides for many human needs and desires, revealing the latest conceptions of function and social use. In this chapter, function and social use are interpreted broadly to include matters of comfort, performance, intended purpose, activity, structural integrity, spatial order, and aesthetics (Figures 2.1 and 2.2). Primary categories of function and social use include:
■ Human body supports
human body Supports
Sitting, Working, Resting, and Sleeping
Furniture supports the human body in the course of sitting, reading, dining, working, resting, and sleeping. Many people spend 75 percent of their entire day (from dawn to dusk) in or on some type of human body support... >
A chart, two – or four-axis model, or matrix can indicate quantitative and qualitative relationships within a general or specific framework. An example of a two – or four-axis model might indicate the number and concentration of expensive/inexpensive furniture pieces relative to a cross-axis indicating volume of sales or some other quantitative measure (see Figures 1.21, 1.22, and 1.23).
Furniture design research is often applied, realized through design and fabrication venues. Designers utilize human factors research and anthropometric data in the design of chairs. This engages a scientific method working from assumed principles within the constraints of quantitative data (Figure 1.23). Designers also explore and experiment with
from approx. 1941-1960
seen as a percentage or the tot... >
Maps, line graphs, Venn diagrams, matrixes, and charts are common methods used to graphically visualize research-based data. Recently, data visualization has developed in several directions:
■ New technological areas
Advances include the development of a grammar of graphics, deeper understanding of human perception and implications for graphical layout, better approaches to visualizing multidimensional data, and organizing large data sets.
Consider some of the ways one might map or visualize information related to furniture design. One can compare the relative strength of various glues or the relative cost to manufacture comparable chairs... >
The primary intention of combining the terms furniture and design together is to articulate an emerging discipline in the combined synthesis of the two terms. The phrase furniture design establishes a framework for an emerging discipline that is comparable to interior design, industrial design, fashion design, or graphic design—a discipline that is co-dependent with other allied design fields and, yet, one that has a core body of knowledge. It is an area of study that extends beyond the summation of furniture and
design. It combines the arts and sciences, business and marketing strategies, and design and fabrication processes... >
• noun 1. the movable articles that are used to make a room or building suitable for living or
working in, such as tables, chairs, or desks. 2. the small accessories or fittings that are
required for a particular task or function: door furniture.2
By many accounts, furniture includes a broad range of moveable objects organized in four main categories:
■ Human body support devices (Figures 1.2 and 1.3)
■ Surfaces and objects to support various activities (Figures 1.4 and 1.5)
■ Storage and display pieces (Figures 1.6 and 1.7)
■ Spatial partitions3 (Figures 1.8 and 1.9)
Furniture pieces are designed and fabricated to assist in the many ways people sit and rest, work and play, organize or display items, and partition space... >