“In the Shaker world, the appearance of a thing or person mattered only to the extent that it revealed its underlying function. Whatever did not interfere with function, served function. This is different from saying that whatever did not serve function interfered with function.”
A few weeks ago, Kaleb posted a bit about the Shaker Design Philosophy. This post inspired me to look back through the book Shaker Built where I found this subtle shift in thinking. Thinking this way about your designs allows you to create something simple without being plain. It also allows the artist or designer an incredible amount of freedom within what may otherwise be considered hefty constraints. As long as a design element doesn’t interfere with the essential function, there can be an argument to keep it, even if it doesn’t serve any purpose itself.

posted by John Dilworth on Tuesday, Oct 28, 2008
tagged with design, shaker, beauty