Furniture within furniture

Text by Marco Iezzi

Multi-functionality as a sign of the times

Those who own more than just a shirt and pair of trousers need furniture. You can’t store plates, clothes and cooking utensils in the Cloud. So in line with society’s development, we need furniture offering maximum mobility in the smallest possible space.

Furniture makers have to produce creations for use in increasingly limited space: apartments, offices, exhibition centres, etc. They have to make objects that are functional, pleasing to the eye and can be used in everyday life. The earliest item of furniture is no longer widely used today, but its success was attributable to a feature that is still very much in demand: multi-functionality. We are talking about the chest, which was used for storing objects, for sitting on, and even for sleeping on. Over time, three basic categories of furniture evolved that we know today: tables, chairs, cupboards. Furniture design changes in line with our circumstances and resulting needs.

Social development is the basis for new trends in the design and function of furniture. From the 1960s onwards we have seen new design milestones, for example Joe Colombo’s «mini kitchen», a visionary concept of a compact kitchen on wheels – an idea that has lasted until today and is still in use in form of the multi-functional KITCASE kitchen at trade fairs and other events. Designer couple chmara.rosinke reinterpreted this basic idea in their «Mobile Hospitality» and introduced a new level of mobility. Globalisation and networking are rapidly increasing our action radius and thus our need for mobility, and new concepts will have to be found to meet the changing requirements.

Visionary concepts such as Joe Colombo’s «total furnishing unit» which was introduced in the early 1970s continue to fascinate and inspire the design world. It is both futuristic and highly flexible. Many other multi-functional concepts have meanwhile been developed, with space-saving and flexibility among the main objectives.

Significant opportunities for companies operating in the furniture making and trade fair construction sectors to establish themselves as trend-conscious and innovative business partners will open up thanks to the evolving requirements. Multi-functional and mobile furniture is a sign of the times and calls for a flexible and mobile approach.


This article was first published in Brandworld 2014.