“Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright, 1908
To me, I’ve always interpreted the phrase “form follows function” as meaning that the shape of something should come from its intended purpose and utility, usually as it relates to architecture, interior design, industrial design and the like. According to what I’ve read, the phrase originated from another famous (Chicago-based) architect, Louis Sullivan.
In my practice, I’ve generally always made design decisions based on how I think my clients will interact with an object. What will their reactions be upon first seeing it? What about each time they walk into the room? How will they use an object throughout the years, across different seasons, when at home alone, when entertaining guests? How does the object fit with the rest of the furnishings in the room?
My number one focus when selecting furnishings for a room is “Will my clients be comfortable and want to use the items I’ve selected?” After all, what’s the point of creating a beautiful design if it won’t be regularly used and enjoyed?
“Some think a decorator should change a house. I try to give permanence to a house, to bring out the experiences, the memories, the feelings that make it a home.”
– Sister Parish
Residential designers or decorators definitely help clients change their homes for the better in terms of function and appearance, but ideally also help support and enhance the experiences, memories, emotions, wishes and goals that make a house a home.
“Generally people think that good design is how it looks. It is how it looks, how it feels, the character it has, the whole thing in one package. To make something good, it takes all of those ingredients worked out.”
– Michael Graves
In tribute to Michael Graves, 1934- 2015. From prominenence as one of the “New York Five” to product design to universal/accessible design, Mr. Graves was key in increasing public awareness of architecture and design.
“Design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe, the practical with the desirable.”
– Donna Karan
To me, this is a meaningful quote because it’s so true that interior designers strive to achieve balance between aesthetics and functionality.