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 In Design Matters

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Good bones. Learn to see the form to understand a design’s hidden structure.

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

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.


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