Boundary Pushing Design
Everyone appreciates a great design. An aesthetically appealing space or object can catch our attention and lift our spirits. But there’s another aspect of design that’s not always so noticeable: functionality.
Sometimes, the most well designed objects were created not to catch our attention. Rather, they allow us to direct our attention elsewhere. Designers who prioritize functionality are pushing boundaries every day to make our lives easier and less stressful.
Innovations in design are popping up everywhere. They can be found in the layout of your home or office, in the devices you carry in your pocket….even on your next boarding pass! What these innovations have in common is the ability to make daily tasks easier to perform. Great designers create spaces and objects that adapt intuitively to our lifestyles and enhance our sense of well-being.
A well-designed home is both beautiful and functional. The architectural style and colors of the home are often matters of taste. But some architectural elements are both highly functional and aesthetically pleasing. These include:
Windows strategically placed to bring in more natural light
Transitional walls that allow rooms to become outdoor living spaces
Kitchen islands that double as both a food preparation area and a dining space
Built-in shelving and seating that maximizes space and adds detail
In a custom home, design choices are made to fit the unique lifestyle of the homeowners. Their day-to-day lives dictate the homes layout and features in many ways. For example, how they like to entertain and what type of storage they need are both important factors. In many cases, the answers to these questions have led to our decision to dream up fabulous spaces, like an indoor basketball court, a waterslide, and even a garage outfitted with a bar and TV area.
Office design has been a pretty hot topic lately. Articles in Forbes, The New Yorker, Fortune, and others, have question the current trend toward open workspaces. Some argue that the open floor plan isn’t conducive to people’s concentration.
These days, 70% of offices have an open floor plan. Some studies show that this choice leads to a greater amount of collaboration. But other data indicates that open offices lead to decreased satisfaction, poor concentration, and even sickness.
Mediating this debate are those who argue that there is no blanket solution. Like a custom home, a well-designed office should adapt to the needs of individuals and the type of work they do. Allison Arieff, an expert on urban planning, suggests companies try a “college library model,” to accommodate both private and collaborative work.
While some designers work to create great spaces, others focus on the small objects we interact with every day. A British designer named Pete Smart designed prototypes for stress-free solutions to everything from bicycle theft to daylight savings confusion during a project he called 50 problems in 50 days.
Great design can revolutionize spaces and devices of all types. They’re so intuitive that once you discover them, you don’t even consider life without them. So, next time you take note of a well-designed object, just think about all the ones you don’t even think twice about it.