Hello and Welcome to DOCENT - your guide to design intelligence, creative solutions and earthly beauty.
Today’s DOCENT Briefing takes a look at the importance of SHAPE as it relates to contemporary furnishings. I take great interest in considering not only the basic form of each piece with its context and composition in a room, but even more - the underlying ways that SHAPE serves the function and beauty of a thoughtfully curated interior. Let’s investigate further...
Today’s homes often embrace open layouts and generous spaces. In many homes, the soaring spaces require the arrangement of the furnishings to create “rooms within rooms” in order to achieve an intimate scale for relaxing and interacting with family and friends. Spaces must function comfortably when entertaining larger groups yet feel right-sized for daily living.
FURNISHINGS AS ARCHITECTURE
Furnishings whose designs embody their own architecture have a way of “holding space” within a space. The Highline Sofa from Linteloo recently caught my attention. Its front facade appears as a minimal leather wrapped structure that houses the over-scaled cushions. Together the two opposing components form an elegant sofa that holds its own space in the room and provides a pleasing place to cozy-up.
The pioneering multidisciplinary designer, Gere Kavanaugh designed her club chair using a painted wood grid to secure the cushions and to create a perforated structure around its visitor. This enclosure creates a sense of boundary while remaining open to an airy space. In Piet Eek’s version, he uses a modernist block form to provide sit and support but wraps the entire shape in mirror polished stainless steel to reflect its surroundings - giving this chair the appearance of disappearance.
I love this curved example by Nina Seirafi. I would use it for a dining chair giving each guest their own nook to enjoy a meal together. I might even mix it with the Toptun Chair that holds space with its ample upholstered frame and open sides. While the forms may at first appear a little rigid, the condition of the cushions is independent of the frame allowing for maximum desired comfort. After all, comfort is key.
I love unusually shaped furnishings that don’t adhere to tradition. I see them as carving and sculpting large spaces with their lines. Angles and curves can do this with subtle grace or in a bold move. Here I used the "On The Rocks" sofa for an open family room. It's modular and re-arrangeable - a fun way to change things up when the mood strikes.
THE EXAGGERATED DETAIL
Composed shapes that play on classic details can add intrigue. The Howard Sofa by Egg Collective takes a traditional 1950’s sofa form - to me reminiscent of Ed Wormly - and exaggerates wrapping the arm to express the upholstered frame. This layering effect draws attention to the arm's design in a fresh new way. I find it very satisfying to bring focus to a detail that might otherwise be overlooked.
FURNISHING AS SCULPTURE
Just as we live with art on our walls, sculptural furnishings bring levity and dynamism to our surroundings. Whether it’s a Campana Brothers pink powder-puff sette, a Verner Panton rocker or a contemporary molded plastic Roly-Poly stool, there is great pleasure to be found in choosing the perfect Art Chair - or sofa, or table…! When it comes to these playful shape-shifters - the sky is the limit. Who doesn’t take pleasure to invest in Art Furnishings that channel the unexpected?
Since childhood, my sensitivity to these innate characteristics even finds me personifying furnishings and objects to explore how they might live together in a home. At this time in life, I find it especially exciting to be a designer among designers. We're utilizing the tradition of craft AND also the convenience and imagination of technology to create and produce thoughtful furnishings whose importance expands far beyond function to bring artful beauty and expression into our lives. JOY!
If you enjoyed this DOCENT Briefing and would like further information or resources, send me a note! I’d love to hear from you.
Until Next time -