A Very Subjective Matter

Design, or for that matter, any creative enterprise, is a very subjective matter – and rightly so. I certainly do not expect everyone to agree with me or share my vision. The fact that some people do understand and/or appreciate my viewpoint is a real thrill for me.
But if the world were populated with people who thought exactly as I do – then the world would be a boring place indeed. It is those differing points of views that make life so very interesting. Everyone is “tweaked” a little(or a lot)differently – whether you were born under a different star or because of your particular set of life experiences – your perspective is unique to you alone.
I consider it one of my greatest achievements as a parent when my (now adult) kids respectively disagree with me (they may wonder while I am smiling while they proceed to tell me I am crazy!).

My designs are an expression of my personality. They will not appeal to everyone, but I do hope they are accepted as valid expressions.
There are many styles that don’t necessarily appeal to my taste – but I can appreciate many of them. Often-times, if we look beyond personality, we can learn from these “other “perspectives. Chippendale is a good example of this. At first glance Chippendale is far too busy for me. But when I look past all the “frou-frou” – I see a master of balance and proportion. There is much to be learned from Chippendale!

Furniture Design – Intuition, Inspiration, and the Rules

I have been giving some thought to furniture design as of late. It is not a simple black and white matter. The rules of design, when followed religiously, tend to produce designs that may be acceptable, but somewhat sterile and lacking in passion.
For every rule of design there exists an exception to that rule. Every new art form, at its inception, breaks the rules in one way or another, and then proceeds to set up its own set of new rules.

On the other hand, if the rules are given little or no respect, chaos will rule instead and there is likely to be neither cohesion nor balance.

That is not to say every great designer started by making a rigorous study of the rules. I am sure there are many gifted artists whose innate sense of balance and proportion is such that a study is not necessary. Their intuition is their only guide.

For the rest of us mortals I think it necessary to make a serious study of the rules, but at some point in time – when the rules are infused into our consciousness – we must let them go. If our designs are to have fire in their souls we must allow our inspiration to ignite the process and our intuition alone to be the guide.

Last year I was reading about Louis Sullivan and came upon this quote:

“……formulas are dangerous things. They are apt to prove the undoing of a genuine art, however helpful they may be in the beginning to the individual. The formula of an art remains and becomes more and more rigid with time, while the spirit of that art escapes and vanishes forever. It cannot live in text-books, in formulas or in definitions.”

Some of you may be interested in a related essay I wrote and posted on my website:
Regulae Stultis Sunt
(Rules are for Fools)