Exposed; Design meets Function

By Jo Phillips

You’ve created something beautiful, but does it work? Is it of service to the people? Is it functional? These are the questions every designer considers during the process of their creation.

A functional design represents the process of responding to the needs and desires of people who will use the item which results in their needs being met while being aesthetically pleasing. A functional design should carry out their purpose with minimum side effects and perform their assigned tasks effectively. Clarity is the mantra to functional design. We dive into the world of product design and dissect innovative ways designers expose the framework of furniture, creating unusual designs that are also functional. We’ve seen exposed hinges used for the proper function of cabinets.  In a way these have been modelled before as the function of it is still traditional. What we are excited to discover is designers who are redefining the whole meaning and use of an object.

Seoul-based industrial designer Seung-Yong Song creates multifunctional furniture taking the simplest objects such as chair and accommodates it to various uses. His designs are minimal to the core with frameworks of the product visible exposing the process and outcome of the design. His choices of materials are also purposeful to the intended function and aesthetic. For his project Dami (furniture and lighting collection), he took inspiration from the structure of traditional Korean grilles, using two new eco-friendly materials called Valchromat and CNC. They are light and durable making the shapes more adaptable. Song looks beyond the typical forms and functions of an object to completely liberate them from their traditional identities. “Things seem to reject change because their identities were already defined too long ago, according to their functions and shapes,” says Song. His collection Object consists of a rocking chair incorporated with elevated clothes drying rack. Another piece is a chair with an oversized paper lampshade, allowing the user to create their own personal space. He believes that the name of an object often limits its function, which is why the name of the collection is nonspecific.



Originally a sculptor, Song went on to study at the Reims School of Art and Design in France. His V4 collection consists of four differently shaped vases. The exposed framework creates pieces full of contrasts and irony. It blends lightness and heaviness, lines and lumps, smoothness and roughness, coldness and warmth. Song’s designs are intrinsic in its quality; their structure, function and aesthetic are the principles for a positive outcome.



Finely designed furniture is crucial in bringing character to the space. Polish brand Gie El are pioneers in creating unique furniture and objects that are timeless. Their furniture collection ORGANIQUE features outstanding pieces with the highest quality wood, upcycled metals and unique glass. The ORGANIQUE bed is minimal in its use of material and the layers of wooden planks with soft and round edges add a unique element to its design. The exposed wood gives a feeling of being one with the nature and is complimentary to our ideal interiors. They are made from natural materials and can be adjusted to individual needs for maximum comfort. With every piece meticulously hand-crafted, they are not only functional as a bed to sleep in but also as an art piece.





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