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Function, aesthetics and construction

Throughout history, the triad of aspects corresponding to function, aesthetics and construction has been proposed as the fundamental components in design, from Vitruvius to various contemporary authors. This year-long research, titled 'Optimal design: function, aesthetics and construction', builds upon these theoretical underpinnings, and through a series of exercises, this idea is investigated and clarified within the context of interior design. The lobby-seating area of SIT@TP was chosen as the site.

Designing to the context

The optimality of the design to its context is explored. For example, in 'Project 1: Function', a 'double-decker' strategy (shown on the left) may be better when there is space constraints, while a flexible programme and capacity may require collapsible furniture (shown on the right).

Finding the context

Factors, such as the pedestrian flow or circulation of the site, largely influence its function. In this case, the circulation reaffirms that the site is heart of the building. Thus, it may serve as a kind of landmark as one of its main function.

Functional design explorations

The circular design is explored, which conveys the centrality of the space, and contrasts against the straight lines of the building. Refinements are made on the basis of the functional concerns – its primary uses (programmes, activities and users), comfort (such as privacy, access and noise) and safety.

Spatial arrangement

Atelier-Bow-Wow style perspective plan of the design.


In 'Project 2: Aesthetics', the design is approached first as a kind of sculpture or art before dealing with functional concerns. Through collages like this, the atmosphere of the space and the visual composition can be quickly explored. For the site, the quiet and darker study and resting area is contrasted with the brighter and more busy lobby area.

Aesthetics design explorations

Through understanding the formal visual language of the existing building, the new design can be conceived as the continuation of a visual composition of the whole gestalt. Different aesthetics forms can be produced based on the formal language, although they are functionally similar.

Modular furniture

A modular approach may be interesting, where the furniture can be arranged to form many different seating configurations.

Different arrangements of furniture

Physical models exploring the modular furniture configurations.

Track details

Exploration of how the modular furniture can be moved along a track. In A, a metal floor strip provides only visual feedback on where it should be. In B, a custom-extruded strip provides a small slope along the edges, allowing the furniture to slide more easily into its track. In C, a wheel-and-grove design enables users themselves to easily reconfigure the furniture arrangements, although more maintenance may be required.