Designing Furniture!

While getting deeply involved in designing the furniture for kindergarten students, I came across a very basic question for myself – What is the need to design the furniture for kids? Can’t the chair designs produced for adults be reduced in size and produced for kindergarten? I was also drowning in the vicious thought of What is the need at all to deign a piece of furniture?

After thinking on my own and reading a couple of articles here and there, I realized that furniture design is important to serve a particular function for the user. It can be further enhanced by incorporating multiple functions in a single piece of furniture.

The most important factor responsible for designing a furniture is anthropometry – which is the measurement of the human beings for producing a product suitable for their height so that there are no physical health problems.

I also felt that aesthetics of a furniture is important but it should not compromise with the function of the furniture.

The key is to initially think only about incorporating the functions in the simplest possible way and then follow the form of the furniture to come up with an apt design solution.

I hope this formula of designing furniture helps me solve all the design problems that come my way!


Tradition does …

Tradition does not mean wearing ‘Dhoti’ and ‘Phenta’ or ‘Sari’ or ‘Burqua’, or eating on the floor or reciting ‘Hanuman Chalisa’. It is looking at things of value of the past and giving it an existential meaning in today’s context. Is tradition an asset or a burden. Are we able to contribute something today that the future generation will fondly call ‘Tradition’?

This actually makes me think and question – Ain’t I one of the major persons responsible for bringing out tradition in terms of dwelling places?

I visited one beautiful contemporary yet traditional Kerala architecture home. I was awing at the way the residents, who were builders themselves, embraced their culture and tradition by using the basic elements of their homeland architecture – Kerala.

I suddenly went back to the beginning of my research from where I had started and what I wanted to know – “Where has the Indian Architecture disappeared?” and yet How has the western influences affected the taste and nature of design in India.

Looking at that house, my intention of producing a futuristic concept of a house has been grounded to produce something with an amalgamation of Indian traditional and modern!






What is the difference?!

Whenever I am going around to meet people, they ask me, “what do you do?” to which I reply, “I am an Interior Designer”. They instantly get excited listening to what my profession is and start talking about their houses and taking suggestions regarding the decor of their houses.

While vising various houses for field study as a part of my research project, I have constantly been in discussions with the house owners about various topics. One of the most common discussions that I usually have with people and I came across once again was – “What is the difference between an architect and an Interior Designer”?

People always have this notion that an interior designer’s job is to do the decor of a house. Decide the colors and texture and materials of a house. An architect is the person who makes the house.

To this, all I have to say is, an interior designer is the person who is responsible for the space planning and design. An interior designer’s job is not only to decide the color and texture but also to make the house from the beginning. A structural engineer may be consulted though for providing the technical input about the structure.

Now, as I was searching for books on interior/space layouts of houses of the past decades, I thought I would get some data from the architectural books. But, to my surprise, for the first time I noticed that architecture in the past, majorly constituted of construction of temples, mausoleums, palaces and other public buildings which were huge in scale. Nowhere in the architectural books I came across the plans of the small scale dwelling houses of the common people.

Then I thought to myself, even today, the architects are responsible for building full communities for residential purposes and also the public buildings such as malls, recreation center etc. Having this thought, I thought to myself, can’t I ever build these structures!? I was gratified by my inner self because it very confidently said, if I want I can.

And then again, I thought to myself – “What exactly is the difference between an architect and an interior designer?”












What is the origin of the term ‘living room’?

” ‘room set up for ordinary social use,’ 1825 (as opposed to bedroom, dining room, etc.); from living + room “

In the late nineteenth century, decorative literature suggested a  living room to be a reflection of the personality of the designer, rather than the Victorian conventions of the day where there was a formal room designated for receiving guests. The rise of the living room meant the end of such a room that had been common in the Victorian period.

The term ‘living room’ was known since the mid 19th century.  This word was mainly coined to give a word to a space where the general social activities are performed. As there was a name for each room dedicated for specific activities like the bedroom, the dining room, the kitchen, et cetera, a name was supposed to be given to such a space which was a common place for all the members of the house where general living activities were performed. Thus, such a space was termed as the living room.

However, this term was not extensively used until the early 20th century. The use of the term by the common people started after the end of the World War I in 1918 prior to which it was called ‘The Death Room’. It was interesting for me to know the reason for which this front room of the house was given such a name and how things stacked up later so that this space was called the ‘The Living Room’.

It so happened that after the end of the World War, influenza was widely spread across the globe and millions of people lost their lives. There were deaths all around and the bodies were kept in the front room of the house for mourning before taking it for funeral. Thus, this room was then started to be called as ‘the Death Room’.

With the improving conditions and decrease in the number of deaths, the Ladies Home Journal suggested that this room was no more a death room. As it was used for various activities of the house and was more a lively place than a mourning room, it should be called ‘the Living Room’. Thus, the use of the term spread in common people.

  Before the late nineteenth century, this space of a house was called a ‘parlor’. The term parlor was derived from a French verb ‘Parle®’ which means ‘to speak’. The term was given to the space because it was mainly a place for sitting and talking to various people. They may be the members of the family or guests. The function of this space was to carry out various formal or informal social functions of the house. With the advent of the term ‘living room’, the use of the term ‘parlor’ subsided.

“1175–1225; Middle English parlur  < Anglo-French; Old French parleor,  equivalent to parl ( er ) to speak (see parle) + -eor -or”

 There are some other terms associated with the naming of a similar space but have minute differences on the basis of the functions being performed in this space.

The term ‘Drawing Room’, can be synonymously used for ‘parlor’. This is also a space which is used for entertaining visitors. This name is derived from the sixteenth century terms ‘withdrawing room or withdrawing chamber’ . A withdrawing room was a room to which the owner of the house, his wife, or a distinguished guest who was occupying one of the main apartments in the house could “withdraw” for more privacy.

In larger homes in the United States and Canada, the living room may be reserved for more formal and quiet entertaining, while a separate room—such as a ‘den, family room, or recreation room‘ is used for leisure and informal entertainment. A ‘great room’ combines the functions of one or more of these rooms.

A ‘family room’ is an informal, all-purpose room in a house similar to a living room. The family room is designed to be a place where family and guests gather for group recreation like talking, reading, watching TV, and other family activities.

A ‘recreation room’ (also known as a rec room, rumpus room, or ruckus room) is a room used for a variety of purposes, such as parties, games and other everyday or casual use. The term is common in the United States and Canada, but is less common in the United Kingdom where the preferred term is games room. Often children and teenagers entertain their friends in the rec room, which is often located in the basement, away from the main living areas of the house. Usually it is a larger space than a living room to have the ability to serve multiple purposes and entertain moderately large groups.

 The term ‘Sitting Room’ is often used in place of a living room, although sitting room is also a space that can be seen in other public buildings such as hotels and public libraries for waiting or ideally sitting. The term living room is dedicatedly associated with residences.