Work By Erik Hoedemakers
Contemporary furniture has been categorised as design for a long time, and for a long time that was fine. It created a distinction between traditional craft and new, more adventurous pieces.
Not everything new was original and some pieces a hundred years old still have an avantgarde appearance. But values, ideas and meanings evolve and change. So too has what we understand to be design.
Design now seems to want to justify its relevance through defining itself as something earnest and technical, at the very least as a solution to world problems. Nothing wrong with that, the world and its inhabitants need to share more care and attention for our planet. But where does that leave carefully designed contemporary interiors if they no longer belong in the world of design?
Perhaps the fact that it is an applied art is a better description. More functional than a painting or a sculpture but less so than a solar-powered vehicle. The less functional a piece of furniture is, the more it leans towards art and the more practical it is, the closer to design. But as the art world explores the meaning of life through visual ideas and the design world searches for global answers through artificial intelligence and technology, furniture and interior makers can appear rather trivial in their pursuits. However, in day-to-day life our surroundings and the things in it are extremely important for our well-being and balance. So perhaps, to level up the playing field, all we need is a new category. If neither art nor design really fits, this disassociation could actually be a good thing for original creators of applied arts, the creature comforts for our homes.
So, if it is indeed time for a new category, something that compliments the vision and skills of these creators, things that enrich our homes and the places we visit, what name should it go by? Creature comforts?