See Like a Designer

Look for the ‘bones’ to observe how form defines design.

by George Walker
pages 16-18

It happens during almost every furniture design workshop. At the start of day two, a carload of students shows up 20 minutes late.

One would think they’d be embarrassed, but instead they burst in all giggly and excited. Then the story spills out. They were on their way with plenty of time until they noticed a courthouse, library, cathedral or theater across the street. With a few minutes to spare, they piled out for a closer look. It was then they realized they had new eyes. Instead of seeing just an old building with stone walls and wood doors, they saw for the first time what the original designer saw – the shapes and patterns once hidden, now alive again for those who can see.

I’ve yet to hand out detentions for these latecomers. Truth be told, once you begin to see like a designer, it’s hard to resist the pull of a great building or a masterful piece of furniture. So what does it mean to see like a designer? What do designers see that most mortals don’t?

Blog: Read more from George R. Walker on his By Hand & Eye blog with Jim Tolpin.
In Our Store: George Walker’s DVDs “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design: Moldings” and “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design.”

From the August 2017 issue, #233