Design & aesthetics vs. function & well-being

Posted by Furniturise (UK) on

A few weeks ago in Madrid, musician Moby criticised a hotel room by Zaha Hadid; he slammed the ergonomics of the room and hit out at architects who tend to prioritise aesthetics over comfort. At the same time in London, Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate Galleries told Neo Bankside to ‘get curtains.’

These examples highlight the abundance of interesting and wacky designs in the current press, but one questions if their functionality is being inhibited by their aesthetically appealing forms. At Furniturise the main approach is ‘making design work’ where comfort, ergonomics and affordability are the main priorities. Moby described a hotel room by the late British architect Zaha Hadid as "the least comfortable space I've ever inhabited". 

The balance between aesthetics and function is a challenging one, as both have similar importance in the design process. When this balance becomes tipped in favour of aesthetics, qualities such as comfort and ergonomics may be compromised. An example of this would be the Zaha Hadid suite in the Puerta America Madrid hotel in Spain, described by Moby as “amazing, but the least comfortable space I've ever inhabited… [designers and architects] think about stuff that can be photographed well, but never actually plan on spending time in the spaces they create". 

The balance between aesthetics and function has clearly become so skewed in some modern design that the functionality is becoming irrelevant. Perhaps this is due to the necessity of marketability and how photogenic products and spaces are. Moby states, "Sometimes certain things like comfort are not that photogenic, and if you've ever tried to live in a photogenic space that isn't comfortable, it can be really upsetting."

Camera-friendly aesthetics may be compromising the ‘comfort factor’ in many designs, however, it is not to say that aesthetics do not still have a fundamental importance. Aesthetic aspects like the appearance, texture, and finish of an object provide important information about its function and understanding of its quality and how it has been made. Therefore, aesthetic features cannot only be leveraged to allow an object to look appealing, but also to explain what it is and what you can do with it. Therefore a balance of the two is required for a successful product. The classic design principle ‘form follows function’ suggests that form and function should be balanced whilst communicating the main function correctly. This principle can be seen in Furniturise's chosen products, where the forms of the pieces follow their main functionality, whether that is ergonomic comfort, longevity or health. Let’s hope the next trend considers the practical and emotional needs of the end user, without negotiating comfort for cool.

About Furniturise
Furniturise is an online store offering the latest office furniture designs focusing on ergonomics and well-being in the workplace & in the home office. Our mission is to provide a range of ergonomic office chairs and desking ranges that are affordable and comfortable. We believe in making your office the home of your business by combining ergonomics, value, quality and design.

Furniturise is a sister company of Century Office that has over 35 years' of experience in supplying office furniture and operates under the COE Group headquartered in Colchester, Essex. Furniturise provides the perfect solution for professionals working from home, as well as SMEs that operate from a small office space. For more information, visit 


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