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I n s i g h t : A r c h i t e c t u r a l F u r n i s h i n g s Design from the Inside Out Consideration of furnishings helps develop the design concept b y J a c q u i D od s o n , A I A With businesses and project owners interest in keeping costs down and flexibility high, furniture planning takes a significant role in the overall development of a project. Whether it is an enclosed or open office, lobby, library, or classroom, planning for the location and quantity of furniture can help the architect to make the most of the square footage, configuration of a room, spacial relationships, and overall building design. Efficiency of space informs functionality, budgets, and the flow of people throughout the building. Basic design principles can be applied to the furniture selection, just as they are applied to other aspects of the project. Considering scale, proportion, rhythm, balance, emphasis, variety, and context are all part of furniture selection. Other considerations include color, material, durability, and construction. These principles all contribute to a design methodology that considers the inside spaces on a parallel track with the exterior form of the building. In new construction, for example, looking at column spacing while standardizing workstation size will benefit the overall efficiency of the planning—adjusting 78 t e x a s a r c h i t e c t column spacing by only a few inches can accommodate a particular module of furniture. Thus, the maximum amount of area for workstations is achieved and circulation space is reduced with the column spacing planned according to the furniture specifications. Designing for furniture early and using actual product sizes can dictate how large the Designing for furniture early and using actual product sizes can dictate how large the space really should be and how it is configured. space really should be and how it is configured. Furniture design selection can also determine a specific behavior or attitude in the use of the space. For example, a lobby; looking at the scale of lounge furniture, flow of spaces, intended uses of surrounding spaces informs the selection of the types of furniture pieces. Behavior around pieces with high backs and arms can be very different than when using backless and armless benches. Knowing the fundamentals of space planning ensures a successful design; still there is added value to product knowledge and availability for a particular use. From the product representative to the dealership to interior designers, experts in the field of furniture and furnishings add value to an architectural project. By building relationships throughout the field, those experts can become an integral part of the team at an early stage as well as an important resource to inform the design throughout. And with a broad range of product knowledge, those experts will assist in right selection, right sizing, and right specifications for the furniture. An expert in the field of furniture can answer questions about the availability of a specific product for off-module flexibility or will know certain price points of products to achieve specific design intent. Starting all these conversations early will make the later stages of the project run smoother with fewer changes. As with planning for the architectural vocabular y of a project, when in the pro- 1 1 / 1 2 2 0 0 9

Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2009: Industrial

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