Functional Furniture with Moss

Functional Furniture with Moss

At Moss we’re firm believers that “form follows function”. More than just a throwaway line, it’s an important maxim coined by architect Louis Sullivan (1856–1924). Since its inception, this principle has been a guiding light of 20th-century modernist architecture and industrial design. Louis was adamant that the shape, or “form”, of a building or object should directly relate to its intended purpose (function). While one precedes the other, Function and Form are not mortal enemies. Sometimes it seems there’s an inverse correlation, but they can absolutely live harmoniously in the same design and when they do, that’s when the magic happens. 

In this blog we focus on the functional side of things, breaking down the science behind it. In order to find that perfect fit, designers can be guided by shapes and proportions in relation to our natural environment and the human body to ensure when we interact with their designs it feels natural and effortless. That’s where “Ergonomics” and “Anthropometrics” come into play – both these principles form an important basis when designing product, furniture, interior/exterior spaces and architecture. 

Ergonomics is the science of designing products, environments, and systems that fit the needs and capabilities of the people who use them. In relation to furniture, designers often look at the contours of the body while in certain positions and form shapes around this. Think of the arch of your back when sitting in a chair – to maximise comfort, the backrest should conform to the natural shape of the back.

Anthropometrics are tools for interior designers that help make working easy and more efficient in terms of relative comfort. These are factors that need to be considered when designing joinery or cabinetry, furniture, planning circulation spaces, workspaces, accessibility, and overall design of spaces. In relation to furniture, there are standard measurements we use when designing each product. For example, seat heights and depths correlate to average body size and proportions – this then flows onto table heights. If you don’t get this right, it can become quite an uncomfortable combination of furniture to use. 

Benefits of Ergonomics and Anthropometrics:

  • Comfort: It is designed to promote comfort and reduce stress on joints and muscles. It is made to fit the natural movements and postures of the body, which can help to reduce discomfort and improve overall comfort.
  • Improved Posture: This furniture is designed to promote good posture, which can help to reduce the risk of injury and improve overall health. Good posture can help to reduce the risk of back pain, neck pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome, among other conditions.
  • Reduced Risk of injury: By reducing stress and strain on joints and muscles, ergonomically designed furniture can help to reduce the risk of injury. This is particularly important for people who spend long hours sitting in front of a computer, as an ergonomic chair can help to prevent the development of back pain, neck pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Increased Productivity: By promoting comfort and reducing the risk of injury, ergonomic design can help to increase productivity. When people are comfortable and free from pain and discomfort, they are able to focus better and be more productive.
  • Customization: This furniture is often adjustable, allowing the user to customise the fit to their specific needs. This customization can help to reduce the risk of injury and promote comfort, making it a better option for people with specific physical needs. It offers several benefits over traditional furniture. It is designed to promote comfort, reduce the risk of injury, and improve posture, making it a better option for those looking to improve their overall health and well-being.

Furniture by Design: The Sense of Place

When it comes to furniture, each piece should be designed with purpose and are often inspired by several design elements and principles. Commonly, each furniture category will share their own unique set of requirements based on how they’re to be used.

  • Nesting Tables:  refers to a table that sits with or ‘nests’ with another object or table. They can often be great space savers if you don’t have room for a coffee table – nesting tables can sit closely with a sofa, armchair or ottoman. They always add dimension and height variations to a space when layered with other pieces. Our Mingle and Lunar ranges are great examples of nesting table sets.
  • Coffee Tables: A coffee table is a low table designed to be placed in a sitting area for convenient support of beverages, remote controls, magazines, books (especially large, illustrated coffee table books), decorative objects, and other small items. Not just somewhere to kick your feet up, our bold range of coffee tables can be the new centrepiece that brings your family and friends together. 
  • Side Tables: a side table is placed beside a piece of furniture a person would sit on, such as a sofa, armchair or bed. Its main purpose is to ensure that essential items are within easy reach. Side tables are the perfect way to add small pops of colour or flair without being too overpowering. For those craving something a little more sculptural, our striking Duet Side Table will no doubt tickle your fancy.
  • Ottomans: An ottoman is an amazing addition to any space, it can be used for a wide range of purposes. You can use it for seating, storage, as a coffee table or table centrepiece, a footrest, or as a decorative accent. They can nest with tables and chairs to add warmth, colour and texture. Shop our Rolley Pod Ottoman and you’ll see the possibilities are endless!
  • Chairs: Chairs are typically used to provide support for the seated person's body and arms, although some chairs are designed for 'perching' rather than sitting. There are also armless chairs - with or without a back - that may be referred to as stools. An occasional chair is simply a type of chair that is not meant for regular use. An accent chair is an occasional chair that is used to add a pop of colour or design to a room. A feature chair, much like our Nadine Chair, is an accent chair that makes a bold statement and stands out from the rest of the furniture in the room. 
  • Sofas: A sofa is a long, comfortable seat with a back and usually with arms, which two or three people can sit on. It’s common for a sofa to be a key feature within a space, surrounded by smaller complimentary furniture pieces. Modular sofas differ as they can often be easily and quickly be moved around to suit different spaces as your space requires. It tends to be a more sustainable option that reduces waste as it can be adapted to suit your needs as they change and evolve over time. 

So, to conclude, there’s a lot that goes into the perfect design; more than meets the eye! When designers give “function” due consideration, and abide by proven anthropometrics and ergonomics, the results are spellbinding. At Moss we love to create designs that achieve their functional goals, but we also love making it look good. Check out our Modern Furniture Guide to see how “form”, modern elements and styles have captivated designers and households alike over the past 100 years.