Understanding Purposeful Design: Where Form Meets Function

written by Dan Brunn

From a young age, I have always been drawn to a design style that is equally functional and beautiful. While I didn’t know this as a child, I have since learned that there is a term for this type of aesthetic, called purposeful design.

If you visit A Modern Haven often, or have read about the Bosch design philosophy, purposeful design is likely a concept you’re familiar with. But what does this term really mean, and how can you incorporate it in your own home? Read on for a deep dive into my favorite design style.

Understanding Purposeful Design

Similar to the popular German school of Bauhaus design, purposeful design can best be described with the term, “form follows function.” It is devoid of trends, frills, and gimmicks. A purposefully designed space has a value far beyond aesthetics, and serves a specific purpose. Generally, purposeful design follows three defining principles:

  • Inherent usability: Purposeful design must be as user-friendly as it is unique, beautiful, and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Familiarity: Like the feeling you get when you pick up a new product but intuitively know how to use it, purposeful design must be familiar, even if the space or tools being used are novel.
  • Timeless: When a design serves a purpose, it withstands the test of time.

Even with these guiding tenants in mind, to achieve this style of design takes work and dedication to one’s craft. In my case, I must consider how people will actually use the space and allow this to inform the choices I make when I’m designing. By using this method where follows function, instead of the other way around, I can ensure my design is not only beautiful, but also truly serves the purpose it was designed for.

Identifying Purposeful Design

I’m often asked by friends and clients how to spot the telltale attributes of a space created with purposeful design tenants in mind. The simple answer is that while creating this style might be a science for architects, identifying it in your own space comes down to your intuition.

In most cases, we’re drawn to one space over another because of particular attributes that make it comfortable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. This can include anything from strategically placed windows that provide natural light, or convenient and comfortable movement from one room to another. It even includes–you guessed it—well designed home appliances.

Like purposefully designed spaces, home appliances should provide a feeling of comfort and ease. That immediate feeling of familiarity is and what has always drawn me to Bosch home appliances. From the clean lines and sleek handle options on the dishwashers to the hinges on the refrigerators , everything is designed with modern simplicity and functionality in mind. And while this might not be something you think about on a daily basis, it is certainly something you will notice and appreciate when using these appliances in your everyday life.

Incorporating Purposeful Design

Whether you’re designing your dream home or simply remodeling your kitchen, you can incorporate this unique design style into any space you inhabit with just a few considerations.

Purposefully designed homes of today often incorporate an eco-friendly element. If you’re designing from scratch, take advantage of the natural resources available in your area. Perhaps you can reduce your interior lighting with large windows that light your rooms from the outside in. Similarly, strategically placed windows can provide both warmth in winter months and airflow and shade in summer months, reducing your need for air and heating systems. While these things might not be visually apparent, they have a huge impact on the overall feeling of the space, and have become crucial to purposeful design in the 21st century.

If a kitchen remodel is your future, focus on appliances that are ergonomically designed to simplify your life in the kitchen, like the Bosch SideOpening Wall Oven . With this product, you can choose to mount the oven on the wall, providing easy access to the oven cavity and helping make your life in the kitchen that much easier.

Want even more tips for creating the modern kitchen of your dreams? Check back next month for my top three tips on how to create the perfect purposefully designed kitchen.

Dan Brunn is a brand partner for Bosch home appliances. For more information on the award-winning architect, visit www.danbrunn.com .

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