5 pitfalls designers need to avoid…

In New Zealand our tastes are evolving, our spaces are changing and artistic trends and production materials are revolutionising design too. Yes, it can be difficult getting the balance just right when designing well- crafted furniture. But it also helps when you avoid some of the more obvious mistakes during the scoping and design process.

5. Consider that actual humans might use your design.

Look before you sit

Yes, the people you’re designing furniture for have sore knees and aching backs and, well, actual physical measurements. It’s still surprising how often we’ll see furniture that is punishing to the human body if used for more than a few minutes. Too deep, too shallow, terrible padding – there are so many ways something designed to comfort can do more harm than good.

4. Think of what it will look like in 3D.

Unsurprisingly, the shirt wasn’t a hit on the school run.

The choice of upholstery can dramatically change the tone of any particular piece. 95% of the time this is a good thing. But every now and then it’s for the worse. So remember that some ‘cutting edge’ choices look good in the swatch or on the screen but fail when applied in the real world. Exhibit A: This man’s shirt is meant to say ‘dope’. But, of course, it can also be read as something else entirely…

3. Design for the whole room environment.

Easy… easy…ok, put it down and… perfect.

Knowing when a furniture piece should act as a star and when it should work as a best supporting actor is vital. You can’t have a room filled with ‘stars’. The egos would clash and it would be a train wreck. So too does it help to understand how our modern lifestyles are changing. With apartment living growing in popularity design needs to be compact and adaptable – without compromising one iota of comfort.

2. If you have to choose style over comfort, you’ve already lost.

The Bruiseinator 4000 series.

Unless it’s going on a gallery wall, or it’s some anti-comfort public space monstrosity, your design needs to actually be comfortable to use. Harsh materials and lumpy cushioning will limit the lifespan of a piece. Sometimes you’ll have to make a choice: are you an artist or a furniture designer?

1. Live by the gimmick, die by the gimmick.

We firmly believe there will always be room for creativity and innovation in style and construction. Many modern classics have indeed pushed the boundaries of form and function and in doing so evolved our lifestyles at home and work. However designing the equivalent of a fidget spinner neck tattoo creates more than just embarrassment in the future. It also perpetuates a throwaway culture that our planet simply can’t afford it. Good furniture will be cherished for decades to come. Great furniture should be proudly passed down from one generation to the next.