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Furniture Design
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Table of Contents

Preface xiii Acknowledgments xvii Foreword xix Foreword to the First Edition xxi Chapter 1 Introduction to Furniture Design 1 Furniture 2 Design 8 Furniture + Design + (X) = Furniture Design 10 Data Visualization: Mapping Data from Research 12 Chapter 2 Function and Social Use 19 Human Body Supports 20 Sitting, Working, Resting, and Sleeping 20 Squatting and Sitting 23 Activities: Eating, Reading, Typing, and Writing 25 Containing: Storing, Displaying, and Organizing 27 Defining Space: Enclosing, Shaping, and Partitioning 28 Classifications Based on Social Use 29 Health-care Furniture: For Those Who Need Assistance 30 Hospitality Furniture: Restaurants, Lobbies, and Reception Areas 32 Institutional Furniture: Education 34 Multifunctional Furniture: Sit-Work, Sit-Sleep, and Store-Display 35 Office Furniture: Ergonomic Seating, Workstations, and Systems Furniture 37 Recreational Furniture: Play, Leisure, and Outdoor Furnishings 38 Religious (Liturgical) Furniture: Altars, Arks, and Minbars 40 Residential Furniture: Social Gathering, Resting, Dining, and Organizing 43 Retail Furniture: Displaying, Storing, Transactions, and Sales 46 Storage Furniture: Containing, Organizing, and Accessing 47 Chapter 3 Form, Spatial Organization, and Typological Orders 51 Form 51 Angular 56 Composite 56 Curvilinear 57 Orthogonal 58 Sectional/Modular 58 Spatial Organization 60 Centralized 61 Clustered 62 Grids 63 Linear 64 Radial 65 Typological Orders 66 Assembly Required (Ready-to-Assemble and Knock-Down) 66 Built-In/Stationary 67 Freestanding 67 Inflatable 68 Mechanical (Transformative Pieces) 69 Movable 72 Summary 74 Chapter 4 Furniture Case Studies 75 Overview of Furniture Case Studies 75 700-400 BCE Greek Klismos chair 76 1200-1800 CE European coffer 78 1745-1750 French Rococo commode 80 1754-1780 Chippendale chair 82 1855-1859 Cafe chair, Model No. 14 84 1917-1918 Red-Blue chair 86 1922 Blocs Screen 88 1925 Wassily club chair, Model No. B301 90 1928 Siege a Dossier Basculant (B301) 92 1932-1933 Stools 60/65 94 1949-1950 Eames Storage Unit (ESU) 96 1950-1954 Antony chair 98 1951 Wire side chair 100 1968 Action Office 102 1987 Ghost chair 104 1992 Cross Check armchair 106 1993 Trinidad chair 108 1994 Living units 110 1994-1995 Aeron chair 112 1999 The Block 114 2000 Pathways 116 2003-2004 Jimmy's Buffet 118 2004 Knit chair 120 2006 Araneae coffee table 122 2011 Modular Vitrine System 124 Lessons from the 25 Furniture Case Studies 126 Chapter 5 Furniture Design Theory 129 Inquiry 129 Systems Theory 131 Firmitas, Utilitas, and Venustas 133 Firmitas 133 Utilitas 137 Anthropometrics 139 General Body Characteristics and Dimensions 141 Ergonomics 142 Posture 145 Proxemics 147 Venustas 150 Beauty 150 Geometry 152 Proportion 152 Modernism 154 Built Form and Culture 155 New Formalism: Theories of Digital Form 158 Chapter 6 Design 161 Design Principles 163 Balance: Structural and Visual, Symmetry and Asymmetry 163 Continuity, Unity, and Variety 165 Dynamism and Stasis 165 Hierarchy and Emphasis 165 Juxtaposition 167 Rhythm and Pattern 167 Scale and Proportion 168 Design Thinking 171 Construing and Constructing 172 Bold Studies 172 Making Prototypes 174 Scaled Models 175 Design Ethos 177 Accessible Design 177 Codes, Guidelines, and Standards (Health, Safety, and Welfare) 177 Green Design 178 Universal Design 181 Design Processes 182 Schematics: Sketching, Drawing, Computer Rendering, and Model Making 182 Design Phases 190 Predesign, Research, and Programming 190 Schematic Design 192 Design Development 192 Fabrication Drawings 193 Pricing and Contract Negotiation 194 Shop Drawings, Templates, and Working Prototypes 195 Fabrication 195 Delivery and Installation 196 Professional and Disciplinary Boundaries 197 Chapter 7 Materials 203 Material Matters 205 Material Properties 210 Absorptive Quality 211 Aging and Weathering 212 Cellular Structure (Open-Cell or Closed-Cell) 212 Compressive and Tensile Strength 213 Density 214 Dimensional Movement 214 Ductility 216 Durability 217 Elasticity 217 Expandability 217 Haptic Sensations 218 Stability 219 Surface Qualities 220 Visual Aspects of Finished Wood Surfaces 220 Visual Aspects of Unfinished Wood Surfaces 221 Volatile Organic Compounds 221 Workability 222 Other Aspects 223 Materials: A to Z 224 Adhesives and Glues 224 Composite Boards 226 Fabrics and Leather 229 Finishes 232 Glass 235 Metal 237 Paper 240 Plastics 240 Rubber and Elastomers 245 Stone 247 Woods and Grasses 248 Chapter 8 Processes and Methods of Fabrication 255 Preparing Shop Drawings and a Materials Takeoff List 256 Securing Materials, Equipment, Supplies, and Hardware 257 Bending 260 Carving 262 Cutting, Drilling, Milling, and Planing 263 Assembling and Gluing 264 Joinery, Mechanical Connections, and Fasteners 265 Upholstery 275 Sanding 277 Finishing, Painting, Sealing, Staining, and Surfacing 278 Wood Finishing 278 Delivery and Installation 280 Repairing, Restoring, and Resurfacing 281 A Chronological Overview of Tools 281 Hand Tools 281 Machine Tools 282 Hand Tools Used Today 282 Power Tools Used Today 283 Digital Tools 285 Technology: The Art and Science of Fabrication 287 Craft (Workmanship of Risk) 288 Machine Production (Workmanship of Certainty) 289 Chapter 9 Professional Practice and Marketing 291 Industry 294 Green Marketing 295 Retail and Wholesale 296 Design for Less 298 Alternative Retail 298 Industrial Entrepreneurs: Silent Heroes 300 Furniture Epicenters 301 Paris 301 Northern Italy 301 Scandinavia 302 Other Epicenters 304 The Business of Furniture Design 304 Chapter 10 Historical Overview 307 How Societies Have Thought about Designing, Making, and Using Furniture 307 The Earliest Cultures 309 Ancient Nomadic Societies 309 Prehistoric World Settlements 309 Prehistory to Antiquity 310 Ancient Egypt 310 Archaic and Classical Greece 313 Etruria 315 The Romans 315 Early Christian and Islamic Cultures 316 Emergence of Islamic Furniture (circa 610) 317 Medieval Societies 319 The Rise of Europe 321 The Renaissance 321 Baroque Period 327 French Rococo Period 329 England in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries 331 The American Colonies and the Emerging United States 333 The Classical Style 336 The Industrial Revolution 337 Eclecticism 339 Revivals 339 Craft and Design 341 Arts and Crafts in Europe 342 Arts and Crafts in the United States 343 Art Nouveau 345 Modernism and the Machine Age 346 The Bauhaus 348 Rising Heroes of Evolving Modernism 350 Craft versus Design 356 New Craftsmanship 356 The Twenty-First Century: The Digital Age 358 New Digital Tools, New Synthetic Materials, New Design Opportunities 359 Appendix: References and Sources 361 Industry Sources 362 Museums, Galleries, and Exhibitions 365 Glossary 367 Bibliography 381 Index 385

About the Author

JIM POSTELL is Professor in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. He has taught design studio and seminar courses for thirty years and maintains an active design practice. He is the coauthor of Materiality and Interior Construction.

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