23 Feb Is it possible to innovate in furniture design?
Many would say “oh no, another chair”. This has happened to me thousands of times and it is comprehensive and understandable given the fact that furniture design is one of the most explored fields in the design industry.
Chairs and furniture in general were probably the first products to be called “designed objects”, when style met function and process and bla bla bla. It is not hard to imagine that probably some years ago old fashioned seats would have been the ultimate style and no one could see any possible progress in it. The same would have been for wheels, clothes, tools and so on.
“If I had ask people what they wanted, they would have said: a faster horse” (Henry Ford)
Given that, can we still innovate with furniture design?
Tony Fadell, in a TED talk made some years ago, talks about the first secret of great design. He said:
More or less, after reading, search for it on Youtube, it is there.
The concept is simple, we are in some way accustomed to certain things, we just see the world around us as it is because “it is like this”. We imagine a chair with four legs, a seat and a backrest. We do not even interrogate where it came from, the inspiration ,the process.
The problem is that everything looks the same, we are surrounded by products that are not memorable or worth some attention.
That’s why the boringness leads people to say again “oh no, another chair”.
But we have three good examples of seats that…
Like the Eternity chair by Mater, a product that is recycled, disassemblable and recyclable again. Every part of it can be reinserted in new production circles. It has a rough finish that lets you feel the soul of the project and makes it distinguishable
Like the Costume sofa by Stefan Diez for Magis, which can be easily dressed and undressed for cleaning and replacement. It has an original colored detail which enlights this feature.
Like the Spun rotating chair by Thomas Heatherwick, a crazy product that the designer himself didn’t even expect could actually work as a spinning funny seat.
We have so many examples of old things that have been upgraded during the years, not only in design.
Think about the bread, its recipe has evolved so much during ages that probably a man from 100 years ago would not even recognize it.
The evolution of all the things around us is a mission for all the designers, from tech to furniture and it is a right thing that all of us give his/her contribution to progress.
Have an idea for a new product and need some inspiration? Have a look at Positive Nostalgia article about how design from the past can help you to create something new