Furniture design should find a balance between aesthetics, ergonomics & functionality
In this era of compact living, versatility is critical, and one should invest in furniture that can serve multiple functions and multifunctional spaces, says Sharika Sharma, Business Lead, Mangrove Collective.
How integral is furniture design for urban homes where minimalist interior design seems to be in vogue?
Minimalism is about choosing a few quality pieces of furniture over an assortment of many; thereby, the choice of furniture and its layout plays a significant role in creating a comfortable space. Finding a balance between the idea of ‘less is more’ and creating a space that speaks of a person’s personality is essential. Furniture design should firmly find a balance between aesthetics, ergonomics, and functionality. No matter the nature of the home, that remains the most important thing.
What kind of furniture would be apt for an urban Indian home, do you feel customisation can help or branded furniture alone can serve the purpose?
In this era of compact living, versatility is critical, and one should invest in furniture that can serve multiple functions and multifunctional spaces. Whether they are consoles, coffee tables and pouffes offering hidden storage or bespoke built-in shelves and cabinets that help free up clutter, both purpose-built and branded furniture can work in tandem to spruce up and optimize space. Customisation offers a new window of possibilities as it becomes an extension to the client’s personality and taste. More importantly, it speaks to the synergy in vision amongst the designer, the furniture maker or craftsperson, and the owner in co-creating the object, which results in a masterfully crafted, high- quality piece. For a country like ours, home to a wellspring of crafts traditions, we have at our disposal a tremendous opportunity to combine indigenous know- how with modern engineering—to develop ergonomic but also beautiful pieces of furniture.
What kind of material should the furniture be made of to ensure they have a good shelf-life?
One can work with both natural and synthetic materials to make furniture for a general or specific use, given they are responsibly selected and procured. Raw materials such as cane, bamboo, wood, metal, particular grades of leather, and fabric can all be deployed in myriad ways to suit various contexts. It all boils down to purpose, availability and budget. Both natural and engineered wood find many applications owing to their versatility, strength, and tactile and textural qualities. Metal and wood combinations are also seeing all kinds of contemporary usage. For upholstery, one can choose from multiple grades of leather and fabric—cotton and natural linen for the outdoors; velvet to bring in the sense of luxury indoors etc. to set the tone for space. Shelf-life is not divorced from maintenance, so one must carefully consider the nature of the use of the item and the climatic suitability of the material before selecting the fabric. Homeowners and designers should predicate their choices on a conscious understanding of environmental impacts for choosing suitable furniture materials.