The answers to these questions will be very different depending on the scenario. In general I would say that the ability to make full scale experience prototypes is invaluable in furniture. The ability to actually sit in or on something, move around your design, see it in space, and evaluate full scale will allow you to make better decisions and more fully understand your context. These can start very rough and become refined as you go. Any gained knowledge in the craft should be helpful in understanding and developing better design intent. This is not to say that you always need to be doing all the work and craft, but the better you understand it, the better your understanding of potential production methods and ways to make something can be, and this is what can give you greater control over your designs. I assume the process is different almost anywhere you work, but in general working fast and rough to discover and prototype quickly and being able to give clear direction on how you'd like to execute your design will take you a long way. The better you get, or understand any part of the process should only make you more well rounded and better.Table-Top wrote:I would like to know if I need more practical craft skills to work in a furniture design studio, or if I would need a workshop and to make the furniture myself if I went freelance.
So does a furniture designer make full size, high quality prototypes, or do they just make rough mockups and then send the CAD file to a specialist furniture maker. How does the process work?
Here is an example/crash course of a 3rd generation struggling furniture maker in which the process (or lack of it) is dissected and re-envisioned (in easy to digest tv show format).Table-Top wrote:So does a furniture designer make full size, high quality prototypes, or do they just make rough mockups and then send the CAD file to a specialist furniture maker. How does the process work?
I would say that it is good to have an opinion or point of view on the final manufacturing detail, BUT different manufacturers will have different equipment, different processes, different capabilities, different crafts people, and this will all lead to having different preferences for how they all might want to make the same piece. Some differences may be subtle, others may be drastic, but in general when working with a manufacturer, you need to be able to work with them to help them understand how and why you might want to do something one way, and also be able to understand their core competencies and strengths to understand how you might leverage them to execute your idea or make something better or different. The greatest asset you can have is the ability to learn and adapt and be willing to teach and communicate. As far as the deliverables go, being clear about design intent of your prototypes and models is important, they may have ideas or capabilities that you were unaware of that may help execute on your intent better than your original idea, but you may have been unaware of. The "why" is generally more important than the "how", they are almost always several ways to do or make one thing. That being said, coming to the table with a few ideas on the "how" is almost always a good idea. I guess another big thing to consider is that in most in-depth partnerships with a manufacturer, the design intent model or prototype and initial drawings should feel more like the middle of the conversation than the end.Table-Top wrote:but just to clarify ..
If I work for a furniture design studio, or as a freelancer selling to furniture companies, do I also need to be a furniture 'maker' (as in make end ready pieces of furniture), or would I be fine making prototypes and handing the drawings over for manufacture?