Ross School - Senior Projects 2010
Mentor: Ned Smyth
Title: Flexible Minimalism in Furniture Design
The goal of my project was to design usable pieces of furniture that express a minimalist aesthetic. I wanted to address the relationship between form and function common in architecture and design of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Form means shape, and function means intended purpose.
The first stage of my design process was drawing two-dimensional renderings of particular design concepts and translating them into furniture. Once an idea was planned out on paper, I created a three-dimensional representation out of either Foamcor or basswood; both light and easily manipulated materials. I created multiple versions of each piece in stages. Part of the learning process involved reassessing what I believed to be finished pieces and improving on them. Once the furniture was completed, I had the task of creating abstract architectural environments in which to show and photograph the pieces. My exhibition included a series of shelves on panels that hold the pieces within their architectural context, my process-folio that traces my steps from the very beginning, and a full catalog of my work.
Catalog (Artist Statement, Front:Cover Page, Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9, Page 10, Page 11, Page 12. Page 13, Page 14, Page 15, Page 16, Page 17, Page 18, Page 19, Page 20)
My Product consisted of four parts: a line of multifunctional minimalist furniture represented as furniture maquettes on a scale of one inch to one foot, a graphically enticing catalog of the furniture photographed in abstract, minimal architectural elements (which later serve as backdrops for the pieces in the exhibition), a single life-size version of my FM Base (my favorite piece that I believe accomplishes the goal of the project perfectly), and lastly, an articulate artist statement that holds all of my work together.
Each of the final products came with a different learning experience. Soon into the project, I began to incorporate similar concepts through different mediums: what I discovered I liked in graphic design, for example, could be emulated through furniture design and vice-versa. My biggest goals in my research were to first to discover what I wanted to accomplish with my furniture, and second, to personalize and refine a style that I could call my own.
Each piece of furniture has its own timeline. Each has a starting point as a design with intended functions drawn on paper, a midpoint at the refinement of the design based on the human form and necessary consideration of space, and an endpoint as a three-dimensional model with accompanying plans to build.
It was exciting to photograph my maquettes, because I could display them in different ways to create different feelings of warmth, accessibility, and play with the assumption of scale. Designing and creating a cohesive catalog that linked the pieces together along with specific statements for each piece allowed me to look at my work from different angles, and helped me with my own self-criticism.
My final exhibition was incredibly satisfying because I felt that my work looked exactly how I wanted it to, and that it complimented the other work in the gallery. The life-size representation in my show was a surprise to everyone, because I had only decided to make it three days earlier, and had kept it a secret. Overall, I felt greatly appreciated for my work, and I will graciously further my exploration in furniture, among other design mediums.
Matthews an Artifice, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
"Charles and Ray Eames -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web. 05 Feb. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_and_Ray_Eames>.
Coy, Chris. Personal interviews. Aug-Nov. 2009
"Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Great Buildings Online." Architecture Design Architectural Images History Models and More - ArchitectureWeek Great Buildings. Web. 05 Feb. 2010. <http://www.greatbuildings.com/architects/Ludwig_Mies_van_der_Rohe.html>.
Matsumoto, Koichi. Personal interviews. Sept-Dec. 2009
"Pioneer in plastic design - Eero Aarnio Facts." Eero Aarnio plastic furniture - Homepage. Web. 05 Feb. 2010. <http://www.eero-aarnio.com/2/Facts.htm>.
Saarinen, Eero. Eero Saarinen Shaping the Future. New York: Yale UP, 2006. Print.
Community Member (Details)
Outside Consultant: Koichi Matsumoto