Designing Your Own Furniture
It is necessary that the designer should be familiar with the historic styles of architecture and furniture. He should also study the characteristic forms and ornamental details of each period. This will enable him to recognize the kind of furniture needed to harmonize with surroundings, learn what has been made and store his mind with material that suggests new forms and ideas. In many instances the designer is required to make his work correspond with a historic style; then his best course is to hunt up good existing examples of the style (not necessarily the articles he is working on, but any in the style), and with these before him try to give their character to the problem.
When not restricted in any way he should work out the forms suggested by the purpose for which the furniture is used. Study this purpose and consider the character of the material used in meeting it. By working with a knowledge of these requirements a design may be made that does not resemble any style. It is more probable, however, a close adherence to the demands of the problem will lead to the employment of a style, and it is well that it should, as then some good example may be taken as a model. There are excellent models for modern furniture in all styles, though many of them may not be suited to exact reproduction owing to change of customs. But when possible furniture should have the characteristics of some recognized style.
Many poor designs are due to a striving to produce something new and original; different from what is seen every day. The result is rarely pleasing. Any article that is designed with the intention of making it odd, peculiar, or picturesque is usually poor. Aim to make it beautiful, not by disregarding styles but by working upon rational methods. The result will be furniture with possibly little ornament, and it may be noticeably plain and simple. It is not desirable that all furniture should be richly ornamented, and overloadng with ornament is, of course, to be avoided. Study good examples, whether ancient or modern, and if an article appeals to you as particularly good try and find why it does so. Make a memorandum of it, and put it in a scrap book for future use. Often a long time after seeing several objects it happens that some one of them is recalled vividly while the others are forgotten. This impression is caused either by the value of the material from which the object is made, the beauty, the ingenuity of mechanical construction, or the eccentricity of design, and it should be valued accordingly.
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