Is custom furniture still considered industrial design...

If it is not mass produced? I am on a roll today with questions, so I apologize but I had another concern… well, more of a question, since my field of interest happens to be furniture and housewares, i noticed that not only is there a market for mass produced office furniture like Herman Miller, but there are design firms I am discovering online like dTank, in California, that design, it seems, one of a kind furniture for office and commercial environments. I found out about them from a posting for a job on Coroflot, where they were seeking an industrial designer, so I got to thinking… I can see how an industrial designer would be needed for this kind of work, but since the work is one of a kind, does it still qualify as ID? Just looking for opinions. There is also another company in California called Orange 22, which does custom furniture for clients as well, along the same lines, and that is something I would love to get into possibly someday too. Maybe I won’t have to move overseas after all. :slight_smile: By the way, I assume that dTank probably works hand in hand with architectural/interior design firms to create these livable environments and furnishings. Are there any Industrial Designers who have worked for Interior design/architectural firms? Sorry for all the questions. Thanks guys.

a lot of manufacturers have custom solutions. it’s a one-off, but utilizes parts from the company’s parts list or catalogs. i know steelcase offers it. i suspect everyone else does too.

small production or one-offs = gallery furniture

i’ve never been impressed with dTank.

Kung Fu (aka KFC Jesus) and I are in agreement on this one.

I think if you include one-off’s into the realm of ID, then you’d also lump all the carpenters, cabinet makers, and other craftsmen into the pot. I know we just had a discussion about this in our studio the other day. There’s a resurgence in the furniture world with one-off’s. I think it’s all very good, and the work getting noticed is quite beautiful. But because of the fact it exists in singularity, often with a specific client in mind, it’s not ID. (Although I would think that if someone like SOM comes up with a custom workstation for a new building that exists in mass quantities, but no place else, it would constitute ID, no?)

I would feign to bring up the discussion of what it is then… I think the recent behavior seen at Art Miami / Basel is proof this. It moves into the world of sculpture, but it’s not really art since it’s goal is to serve a purpose and I would think Art, by it’s very nature, is devoid of true practicality…but that’s another thread.

i completely agree with jesus too.

I think it depends on weather or not that one-off or minimal production items are meant to be sculpture or perform to the same level (or better) than similar mass-produced items. I think one-offs can still fall pretty close to ID. You would likely use a very similar design process, from concepts to ergonomic research to materials and construction, IF you are working on a one-off that’s meant to be functional. Your answers to many of the usual design problems will be much different, but the point is that you are answering the same questions and dealing with similar issues as a mass-produced item.

Its different if you are only chasing the cool factor or totally disregard the ergonomics, durability, construction, etc., or making it from such precious material that you’d be a fool to use it and risk damage. That is gallery work.

well, some designers will produce a one off for hopes of production. The sculpture turned designer like stark learned how to develop a one off with production qualities while other id trained furniture designers would never think to use carved steel or wood for furniture unless they could source a supplier for the quantities.

still others design one-offs and throw it over the wall to let someone else figure out how to build it, in quantity. i’ve never allowed myself that luxury.

… probably because they would do it differently that you would want.

cjs33139 this is a classic gray area. The most accurate title to put on this position is furniture designer. You could custom design a wood side chair for a specific interior and build one for the CEO’s office. Six months later they want 3 dozen to furnish the confrence rooms too. (36 chairs is mass production albeit a very small run) A year later you may have the chair in full production. Only then would you go back and reclassify your past design efforts as ID?