11th May 2016

Architectural Influence on Product Design

Architectural Influence on Product Design

In our April newsletter we explored some of the key trends influencing interior design and ironmongery in 2016. In this article we look at how the principles of architectural practice influence product design, and how Joseph Giles incorporates some of the key tenets of architecture into the design process.


The relationship and interplay between architecture, product design and interior design has been widely discussed, often centering on the blurring of the lines that define the role and responsibilities of each discipline.


From Frank Lloyd Wright to Mies van der Rohe, many architects have historically engaged in industrial design. One trend is to carve out a specific product design niche, such as Fosters + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects have done, through an expanding design unit and a retail website for high-end products respectively. These products tend to be independent of the architecture, either commissioned directly by manufacturers or developed from internal research and development.


Architects can also suggest to clients to take on responsibility for elements of building interiors. Being involved with furniture, signage and interior design allows architects to develop a more cohesive identity of the building architecture.


It works the other way around too – designers have made successful strategic moves into architectural projects, including Thomas Heatherwick, Ron Arad, Piet Hein Eek, Karim Rashid and the Japanese design studio Nendo. Thomas Heatherwick, for example, is well known for the Seed Cathedral, the UK pavilion designed for the Shanghai Expo 2010.




At Joseph Giles, we take the best of both disciplines. Our approach is to take the conceptual and technical rigour of architecture and apply key architectural tenets to enhance our development process. These include:


  • Design as Problem-Solving: defining the design problem as a set of goals and requirements, and exploring the feasibility of the work before embarking on the detailed design
  • Concept and Function Combine: just as architectural practice focuses on mass, form and concept, we ensure that we have an overall guiding idea for the design of our architectural hardware which is combined with an understanding of how a product responds to its needs
  • Responding to Place: we look at how our products fit into this wider external and internal environment – how they respond to place


Architectural Aesthetics


We also incorporate architectural principles into the end product. The architectural focus on the interplay between form, function, shape and lines can be applied both to interior design, through the functionality of space arrangement, and to the aesthetics of product design which has given rise to the popularity of ‘architectural products.’




These products are defined by simple and considered design, with an emphasis on clean lines, which results from refining and distilling the function and concept of a product. Our architectural hardware products are thus intuitive in use, simple in design and thoughtful in construction. Classic examples include our Wedge Lever Handle (LV1005) and Cube Edge Pull Handle (EP1003).


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Ironmongery products within this aesthetic category are defined by this statement design, and complemented by finishes that provide a warmer opulence such as mid- to dark- brass or a contemporary feel with polished nickel.





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