When we featured the Furni ALBA clock a couple of months ago, we got some feedback decrying its minimalism and 70s’ roots, yet Furni’s fans are gung-ho about the quality and elegance of their products that come without pretension. We asked Devin Barrette and Mike Giles about the iconography linked to their work.
Your work provokes opposite reactions within different demographic groups. Although the emotional connection to the 70s works in your favour, how can you explain why a younger cohort embraces your designs while an older one is more dismissive?
I think it’s a rather simple explanation; the younger cohort embraces the 70’s design aesthetic because they’ve been lucky enough to have had all the ugly stuff from that decade filtered out for them. Most modern design books, magazines and museum collections focus on what I call the “good” 70’s, you know, the simple curves and minimalist lines. The older demographic had to grow up in all of the 70’s! Bellbottoms, giant collared polyester shirts, disco and worse! They didn’t have the luxury of the “filter” I guess the nostalgia of our designs brings back those repressed memories and with reminders like that, I don’t blame them from shunning us!!!
The world is already full of 'stuff' – as designers, why do you choose to create more?
Most people don’t need a Fridge with a built in TV, coffee maker and microwave oven, but we are constantly pitched that we need one! Media tells us to buy the product with the most bells and whistles as possible to get our value for money. Most of today’s stuff is designed with function before fashion, and that’s a tricky balance. When you are trying to cram space ship style functions into a toaster, there’s so many buttons, slots and knobs that there’s no room left for style. What ever happened to things simply doing what they are supposed to do and look good at the same time? That’s why we continue to create …