Indre Kisonas

I was reminded that I had designed a chair. It was for a specific market and remarkably, it is still in production 20 odd years later. My design beliefs were akin to the Bauhaus movement ideology where craft and design was not to be hindered by mass production. There is beauty in the simple and utilitarian object i.e. form follows function. It applies to architecture, graphics and textiles to name but a few disciplines. Thought out design, that took time, testing and tweaking to address the given brief. 

Back then we began the design process with hand drawings and loads of them. We moved the concept idea to hand made scaled models, from cardboard and balsa wood and plenty of glue. Welding was handheld instead of robotic welding and steel tube was hand bent over forms. Foams were shaped by eye as were the ply boards. All then hand assembled and out for testing. 

Have you realised that most of your everyday items, those you sleep on, eat with, use to prepare foods and then use to take you to school, or work was originally a concept? Someone had a need and wanted it solved, as need is the mother of invention. The object/ item was brought into production by a team with an industrial designer, model maker, fitter and turner and perhaps a joiner. 

 3D prototyping never existed but when I first saw a 3D prototyping machine it was akin to the very first computers. Big but awe inspiring. Expensive and for professionals. Now look at the small, slick desk top 3D printers your school age child has at home. Someone had to have the concept idea for those advances too. The difference now is that anybody with an idea and a computer can design and produce their own creation. How marvellous is that?  

So, back to my chair that was made for the growing taller and wider population. It stacked, was comfortable, was balanced and able to be mass produced which meant an accessible price point. All points that were part of the initial brief. 

Perhaps doing things the old-fashioned way wasn’t so bad. After all, good design and manufacturing lasts. It’s not for the throw away society. Testament from the current popularity of retro and mid-century furniture and household goods. Fashion and design are cyclical. Otherwise, how do we explain the resurgence of record players, flared pants and the mullet haircut? 

Indre Kisonas is a Daylesford resident and the owner and principal designer of iok design. She specialises in colour & interior design.