“Combining style, materials, and technology in a desirable product at a price the market will accept has always been the basic problem facing furniture makers. Since costs are, in part, dependent on the labor intensity of their technologies, manufacturers must design pieces with the capabilities of their tools in mind, constantly compromising between cost and style. This system of give and take is the economic interface between technology and style. It is the economics of design.”
— Michael J. Ettema, “Technological Innovation and Design Economics in Furniture Manufacture,” Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 16, 1981. (Special thanks to Don Williams for pointing me to this article.)
“Furniture which is strictly useful, should be of good quality; strength and durability being generally the chief points to be regarded… it is therefore little affected by fashion, whereas the style of drawing room furniture is almost as changeable as fashion in female dress.”
— Mrs. William Parkes “Domestic Duties” (London, 1825)
One of my friends teaches a freshman composition class at a university. At the beginning of every class she hands out an index card to each student and asks them to write down the answer to this question: What do you hope to gain from this class?