Architects are experts in the principles of design.
While their career focuses on the design of buildings, they can create other types of structures like furniture.
Architecture and furniture design may appear to have little in common, especially in terms of size.
However, architects can follow similar processes in creating furniture.
Follow this guide to learn how architects approach furniture design and other interior design aspects.
Can An Architect Design Furniture?
Many architects enjoy designing furniture as an alternative or an extension of designing buildings and structures.
They have a creative and innovative mindset, knowledge of design principles, understanding of factors that may influence functionality, and practical skills to draw up plans.
These skill sets apply to both domains, allowing architects to easily move from education and experience in architecture to furniture design.
In fact, plenty of notable architects designed famous furniture pieces, including:
- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – Barcelona Chair
- Frank Gehry – Rocking Chaise
- Eero Aarnio – Globe Chair
- Arne Jacobsen – Egg Chair
- Ron Arad – Bookworm Book Shelves
- Isamo Noguchi – Coffee Table
- Zaha Hadid – Mesa Glass Table
- Frank Gehry – Wiggle Chair
- Antonio Citterio – Charles Sofa
- Eero Saarinen – Tulip Table
- Daniel Libeskind – “Web” Shelves
- Chan Soo Khian – “Java” Bed
Is Furniture Part Of Architecture?
Some may consider furniture a small-scale version of the architecture, as it contains similar elements, and the process of furniture design and development is relatively identical to building planning.
When designing a building, architects need to consider how people will interact with the piece on a functional level and from an aesthetic standpoint.
They may design an office building to inspire creativity and productivity of the workers, influence consumers to think of the brand as groundbreaking, and entice new workers to consider them excellent employers.
Additionally, the building must be structurally strong, load-bearing, and weather resistant to ensure usefulness and safety.
Likewise, when conceptualizing pieces of furniture, designers need to think about how individuals will use the article, how it will work with other aspects of the building, and how it will appear to those who enter the room.
Stress, weight, and longevity also must be critical elements of concern.
Next, architects and designers must draw 3-D and 2-D drawings showing the structure and aesthetic features.
This way, clients or companies can approve the design, and teams can build the building or object.
What Comes First Architecture Or Design?
When architects work with buildings, they must prioritize design before architecture.
Designing involves rough drafts, drawing approvals, and official drawings and blueprints.
However, they can use both design and architecture when they design furniture.
Since furniture is small-scale, workers can build prototypes relatively fast, which allows designers to view their creations in real life, make appropriate changes, and even test those changes immediately.
Is An Architect The Same As An Interior Designer?
Architects and interior designers are distinct professions, although each may have similar core responsibilities.
Architects and interior designers must have significant education and experience, however, governments and organizations more heavily regulate the requirements to practice architecture.
Additionally, architects and interior designers may work together on specific projects, whether they are working on buildings or furniture.
In the latter case, architects will design furniture while interior designers help determine how the furniture fits with the overall aesthetic and harmony of a room.
How Is Architecture Different From Design?
There are a few differences between large-scale architecture and small-scale furniture.
Furniture plays with its elements more readily, in that angles, measurements, and other features are immediately accessible and tactile to an individual interacting with it.
Since this is the case, architects may need to conceptualize furniture differently than they do buildings.
After all, design features in a building may need to be larger-than-life to appear obvious to an onlooker.
Additionally, the furniture design and development process is much quicker than buildings.
Design approval and building of a prototype can occur within days or weeks, while building approvals and construction processes can take months or years.
Architects may enjoy how fast their pieces come to fruition, their designs not staying abstract for long periods.
What Do You Need To Design Furniture?
Aspiring furniture designers must ensure they have the proper knowledge, skills, and credentials:
- An undergraduate degree in architecture, interior design, structural engineering, industrial design, or commercial design. If they enjoy their education and wish to specialize, they may want to pursue a graduate degree in industrial, commercial, or furniture design.
- An internship or work experience in a design firm.
- A designer’s portfolio showcasing their best designs or completed projects.
- Many furniture designers also like to be part of an industry organization, as it helps with networking and career advancement. Excellent choices include The International Society of Furniture Designers and Furniture Society.
Why Are Chairs Important In Design?
Architects who design furniture and established furniture designers heavily focus on chairs.
The main reason is that the chair has a clear purpose: to sit.
However, designers can also see the chair as a challenge, as they need to take this purpose and transform it into something unique.
Designers can extrapolate more functions from the chair, such as holding weight, accommodating the spine and neck, relieving pain, sitting comfortably for long periods, or changing into a bed.
They can also elevate the chair aesthetically, accommodating minimalist design or embracing ultra-modern colors and shapes.
Ultimately, the chair is an excellent, small-scale embodiment of creative expression and practical function.
Helpful Online Resources To Start Designing:
If you have an interest in furniture design, start your journey with these useful resources:
- Furniture Design Online Class
- Furniture Design for Beginners Online Short Course
- Solidworks Furniture Design Software
- Sketchup Design Software
- How to Design Furniture in SketchUp
- Prod Board
- Furniture and Design Courses
- National Design Academy
- Furniture Design for Beginners
Architects have an excellent background to begin designing furniture.
While it may involve similar tasks to planning buildings, designing furniture can be faster, more creative, and more rewarding.
Whether you are an architect who wants to try something new or has an untapped interest in small pieces, it is worth it to follow your passion.