interior design companies in pune

New Age Furniture: Ethics vs Aesthetics

About a decade ago, furniture in most countries was all about aesthetics and ergonomics. Beautiful looking furniture which was very functional and comfortable was all that the designers cared for. Big furniture manufacturers in Europe and the US who created designer items were essentially concerned with high aesthetics and some degree of ergonomics as well. That was a period when furniture was created as a work of art with an aim to embellish the interior of a residence. To enhance its aesthetic appeal, materials other than wood, such as stainless steel, plastics and even ceramics, were being used in making furniture.

On the other hand, voices in support of environment protection were continually growing. A host of environmental agencies, both state-owned and private were already studying the environmental impact of a lot of industrial activities. In this context, production of all man-made material and items gradually began to be seen for its impact on environment. A demand for environment protection was now being made on the global stage by most of the advanced nations. Among other man made things, even furniture began to be evaluated for its impact on environment.

Some of the award winning furniture designers initially voiced their disapproval for environmental considerations in furniture design. They stated that aesthetics were being sacrificed in the name of ethics. They thought it was an unnecessary conflict created by the environmentalists who had no idea of aesthetics. But, despite that the environment protection movement continued to grow, with full backing of developed nations, and also economic blocks and organizations of countries.

What is eco-friendly furniture?

Eco-friendly primarily means helping the ecology and environment. In context of furniture, eco-friendly would mean the following –

  • Use of wood in furniture leads to depletion of forests. However, other alternative materials were seen to be in greater conflict with sustainability. Hence, specific wood types have been accepted as environment friendly.
  • Wood used in furniture should aide forest preservation & restoration. This means wood should be taken from such trees which can be grown or restored easily. Technically it is called “wood from sustainably harvested forests”
  • Bamboo plantation should be encouraged. This would help availability of bamboo for furniture manufacture. Bamboo is actually grass and is not a tree. So this does not lead to depletion of forest cover.
  • Furniture should be manufactured in processes that help water conservation and reduced use of water.
  • Furniture should be durable, so it has a long life cycle and it would not need replacement for several years.

In addition to the environment friendly characteristics, there is an addition emphasis on sustainability. Apart from environment, sustainability covers social and economic factors as well. When sustainable design principles are applied to furniture, the following needs consideration -

  • Reclaimed material should be used for manufacturing furniture, e.g. wood scrap, saw dust etc.
  • Furniture should be made from low impact materials: material should be recyclable and should involve least amount of processing time, from its input or natural state to the finished state.
  • The material should have low toxicity. This means the furniture during its usage, would not emit toxic gases which could harm the environment.
  • The furniture should use energy efficient processes in its manufacture.
  • The furniture must have a low carbon footprint. This means all the processes used in furniture production and its transportation should emit the least amount of carbon dioxide.

While selecting readymade furniture or getting it manufactured, a user too can consider some broad factors which would make his furniture more environment friendly -

  • Furniture should be made of wood which can be reused and recycled. Bamboo furniture should also be considered for spaces where it is feasible.
  • Some polycarbonate sheets can also be used which have been declared more environment friendly.
  • Use of plywood and particle boards, which need a lot of processing in its manufacture should be minimized.
  • Use of laminates should also be minimized for their lack of environment friendly characteristics.
  • Furniture upholstery should use natural fabrics and natural colors as far as possible.
  • Upholstery should be easy to clean and use less water and energy for its maintenance.
  • All the paint & polish used in the furniture should have used non-volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Today all of us dream of a grand house with beautiful and aesthetic furniture. But, we need to also consider how environment-friendly our furniture is. In this context, beauty is not what pleases the eye alone, it needs to please the environment as well.

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interior design firms in pune

Interior Designing – As a service for offices and residences

Interior design is both the art and science of enhancing the interiors of a building, be it a residence or an office; or even a factory, school, or hospital. Until a few decades ago, interior design largely referred to only shapes and play of colors that are aesthetically pleasing. But, now interior design is a lot more complex and includes aspects of functionality, environment friendliness, and also promotes healthier lifestyle and wellbeing. Therefore, interior design does not require the professional expertise of an architect alone. A good understanding of masonry work, carpentry and electrical work is also essential. Further, interior design work needs to be handled on a project basis and thereby includes the aspects of planning, techno-commercial, and execution at site.

Important considerations in interior design –

  • Effective use of space: to enable residents get maximum out of the available space. An uncluttered interior yet allowing a lot of storage is a good example of this.
  • Functional and safe design: An interior is not all about a beautiful scheme of colors and shapes. It must be also fulfill its functional requirement. For instance a lounging area or a work space needn’t look only attractive. It should be comfortable, with easy access and should be optimally lit with a mix of natural and artificial lighting.
  • User well-being through ventilation and ergonomics: A well designed interior must allow good ventilation for human comfort. Ergonomic design refers to comfort as well as health. For instance, a seating system with a sub-optimal backrest design could induce backache.
  • Environment friendly design and choice of materials: Principles of sustainability should be followed in production of materials used in interior design.
  • Consideration to users’ specific taste: User requirements in terms of layout, furniture design, lighting fixtures etc, also need to be satisfied while maintaining aesthetic appeal.

In the last decade, interior design of residences and offices has seen great innovations in not just new materials but also in the layouts and use of technology. Interiors of contemporary residences and offices currently feature the following characteristics –

  • Vibrant color schemes.
  • Natural lighting.
  • Emphasis on comfort and relaxation.
  • Use of natural and organic materials.
  • Use of technology: for example, security and access systems, electrically operated shutters and screens, remote controlled lighting, mobile/internet controlled home appliances.

One would think that with the constraints of functionality, most residence interiors should be looking similar. Far from it. Residence interiors are increasingly expressing the lifestyle and taste of its residents and also innovation of the interior design professionals. Some of the innovative features found in modern residence interiors are –

  • Storage under stairs.
  • Hidden workspaces.
  • Walk-in closets.
  • Seating by the window.
  • Interior gardens.
  • Innovative lighting fixtures; wall mounted, floor mounted or table top.
  • Glass flooring.
  • Suspended beds.

Office Interiors

Design of office interiors has several other aspects to consider. These include the type of company, the number of people and the movement pattern during the work day. Design of work stations and their layout is therefore of primary importance for offices.

Modern office interiors reflect a company’s culture, values, and brand characteristics. Open office layout, which became a rage all over the world about 2 decades ago, was first designed in the US to express openness, transparency and collaboration among employees.

This translated to a layout with a large number of workstations placed in open halls, with cabins for senior managers and conference halls made of glass walls, but offering acoustic privacy at the same time.

Some important factors in designing an office interior are –

  • Type of company and its business: A funky interior may not suit a traditional financial firm, dark color scheme may not work for a modern marketing or ad company.
  • Number of employees and their movement pattern
  • Need to maintain hierarchy in size and positioning of work stations and enclosed spaces.
  • Number of conference and meeting rooms.
  • Lighting balance: between natural and artificial lighting
  • Type of light fittings and light sources.
  • Structure and furniture design: materials, colors, modularity etc

Selecting a professional service provider –

While selecting a service provider for designing the interior of your residence or office, it is necessary to go for qualified professionals who have domain knowledge and experience in all aspects of design, especially when the size of residences is large or the office has fifty or more employees. A team of carpenters, masquerading as interior decorators, are not the ones who would fit the bill. Professional interior designers would handle the work as a project, and start with a laid-down plan and thereafter create a functional design. A professional service provider would also consider all techno-commercial aspects and ensure proper execution of work on site. And in keeping with the modern trends, and being responsible global citizens, we all must insist for environment friendly practices in interior design.

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