Architecture and furniture – a glimpse into an age-old relationship
The curious thing about memory is the apparent randomness of past incidents that are in the forefront of human conscientiousness. You may forget many things of significance but know exactly what was for dinner last Friday.
As a student, I remember my professor explaining how an entire room could be designed around a piece of furniture. I couldn’t fathom how a space with great volume could arrange itself around a chair.
This is probably one of my more significant memories.
Architecture is an arrangement of space through a manipulation of form. It’s the creation of dwellings with humans as its inhabitants. But any space is incomplete without equipment, tools or furniture.
In any art form, an artist desires to achieve harmony. Success is apparent when it appeals to our senses – it looks/tastes/feels good. It feels right. Composition of the elements is critical when it comes to developing a finished product.
This brings us to the relationship between architectural design and furniture. If a room is said to be well-designed it would mean that it looks great! (And functionality is not compromised).
It was easier in the past to follow a specific theme. In a Victorian house, the drawing room would be designed by the architect to have alcoves, a marble fireplace with decorative molding, wall paneling, coffered ceilings and bay windows. The color palette would be cool and the furnishings would also be Victorian (pin cushioned with round wooden framing).
It was easy because the architect was the decorator and the complete vision of what the room should be was already there (in his mind).
When modernism is the theme in question, there are many approaches to achieving that look. So much so that creating a balanced space becomes all the more difficult. Therefore, the planning and interior design must be in sync with each other. A minimalist room will have a neutral color palette with lack of adornment. Everything from the light fixtures to the sofa cushions will have clean lines and things may become rather monochromatic.
Furniture arrangement also dictates whether amendments within the planning are required. In Islamic architecture, the layout of bedroom furniture and bathroom fixtures is dependent upon the westward side. Window sizes, fireplace locations and doors may need to be relocated for optimal use and a more desirable result.
A great artist envisions the entire space, before allocating it within a given area. And a space is incomplete without furniture – the human need to sit. And sleep. And eat.