Furniture design mixes aesthetic with utility and where the designer gets it right, the finished product is transformed from a regular item of furniture into a piece of art. Here at Careers in Design, we have collated the design careers of five icons whose legacies live on in the furniture we use every day. We hope they will inspire you to keep searching for that perfect furniture design job.
Charles and Ray Eames
Charles and Ray Eames were a married couple that are considered to be some of the most important American designers from the 20th century. They began their furniture design work by experimenting with moulded plywood and later pioneered technologies to use new materials such as fibreglass, plastic resin and wire mesh. Critics lauded the chairs they designed at the time, and their furniture continues to be manufactured to this day by the Herman Miller group.
Charles Edouard Jeanneret, later known as Le Corbusier, was a giant in the design world and his work has been hugely influential. Like many iconic furniture designers, he had his roots in architecture and art but sought to move from cubism into purism, and this inclination is evident across his portfolio. In the furniture world, he is most famous for his LC4 Chaise Longue which he dubbed a ‘relaxing machine’. This classic design mixing curves and straight lines in perfect balance remains in production.
This Italian architect and designer stood out due to the way he mixed modernism with bright colours and patterns, in many cases going against existing teachings and always experimenting. His best-known collection, Memphis, launched in the 1980s and changed the landscape of design worldwide. The bold attitude characterised these pieces, and though not commercially successful, they represented the energy and emotions of the 80s in a way that can still be appreciated today.
Initially intending to go into medicine, Noguchi found his passion as a sculptor but went on to have a varied design career that spanned landscape, product and furniture design. His highly collectable Noguchi Table has gained an enormous following and has been sold continuously since 1947. His talent in elegantly blending unexpected combinations, be it materials, geometry or colour, gave his pieces, both large and small, an unworldly feel.
Aalto’s humanistic approach to modernism gave birth to his vision was for a beautiful everyday home. From this he took a holistic approach to design, looking at everything from the building planning to the furniture and lighting design too. He was one of the founders of Artek, a Finnish furniture company that aimed to combine art and technology, through which he promoted his simple but beautiful pieces. He is best known for his Savoy flower vase whose curves allowed the stems to fall away from each other and instead face diners.
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