|General description of the discipline
Image: Graduation project 'Grenzeloos schouwspel, Mijn verwondering' | Lieven Poutsma, Interior Architecture & Furniture Design 2013, Honourable mention - Schuitema Award, Nominee Department Award
Interior architecture and furniture design
The discipline is populated by product and spatial designers who regard space, in the wider sense of the word, as their field of expertise. This field covers a wider area than that of just the interior or furniture, and the designers also focus on other objects and products, and on public and open space. They increasingly cross the traditional boundaries of their discipline and explore other domains, think cross-disciplinary, establish interconnections and always try to find the larger context. With a curious attitude they continuously question, search and fight for their position and that of the discipline.
These designers are increasingly creating their own context and conditions to work in a permanent state of research. They do not just position themselves in relation to clients, but also pose their own questions, define their own projects and by doing so transfer their own vision. This vision prioritises society and questions concerning contemporary times. In their work, contemporary product and spatial designers anticipate possible future changes to improve the quality of the living environment.
In this versatile approach, the product designer centralises the object and the relationship between man and space. The object - furniture piece or product - has a close relationship with the human body, which determines many aspects of the object’s use or experience. The furniture piece is also an object in the (architectural) space. The piece may exist as an independent object or as an integral part of the inhabited space, and will influence the perception and use of the space. An important aspect of the furniture piece or product can be its relation to emotional, social or cultural values. A product can thus transmit a message or visualise a story. The development of new techniques, production processes and materials is of importance in the expression of the product, its manufacturability or the new user possibilities that the product gives rise to. Sustainability and a conscious approach to materials and their application is therefore of great importance.
In recent decades, the interior is increasingly defined as a space that generates specific meanings and emotions through shapes, colours, scents, materials and objects, and can thereby deliberately orchestrate experiences. This space can be interpreted broadly; it can refer to private space, public space, and also to the urban and open space. Not only is the inhabitation of these spaces centralised; movement and mobility are equally important. Concepts such as identity, communication and experience are crucial in the design of these spaces.
The spatial designer starts with the big picture and works from there on towards the smallest detail. It involves the development of spatial concepts that form the foundation for the intended perception and experience, to the materialisation and production techniques that eventually support the realisation of these concepts. Important to this is the relation to current and future issues concerning the use of space(s) and the sustainability of both material and space.
Overlap exists between interior architecture and other design disciplines, such as design, textile and product design. Knowledge and skills from disciplines other than design are also applied to interior architecture, such as ergonomics, engineering, marketing, anthropology and psychology. Interior architecture relates to all these areas.