he difference between “functional” and “non-functional,” like beauty,
is in the eye of the beholder. Some would no more let a day go by without
exposure to artful elements than go unfed. With most furniture, some of the art
is not visible but tactile, it’s fit and function. Does it feel comfortable? Work
smoothly? Perform under “stress?” These measures are not much different than how
we rate our friends and colleagues. If someone at work falls apart when there is
a rush to get a project out, the stress test has failed. If you spill your wine,
if a 300 lb. football player settles into your favorite chair, you want your functional
art to work like, well, Art. These are the artful traits of life that are often neglected
in the purchase of a piece of functional art, but you sure want that Art built in
when it comes to the tests.
o, consider not only cost and size, but also longevity, warranty, style,
strength, and, yes, beauty. After all, some of your best “friends” come with
four legs and six chairs!