Furniture Designing: A Profession of PassionAlternative Careers | June 21, 2010 | Share
The first time I met a furniture designer was when I met Sonia Revankar. I had heard of many different kinds of designers but this was the first time I had heard of and seen a furniture designer, so I could not contain my curiosity and I asked her, “What does a furniture designer do, exactly?”
Apart from the obvious answer (Furniture designers, design furniture) she also told me what it really meant. First of all, furniture designers are different from interior designers though they both belong to the home décor industry. An interior designer changes the structure of the house. He handles the flooring, tiling, making and breaking of walls and windows, bathrooms, sanitary ware, etc.
On the other hand, a furniture designer designs and produces individual pieces of furniture depending upon the requirements of the clients. This way, the furniture is custom made to suit the needs and lifestyle of the owner. As it provides greater comfort and enables the client to create a unique look for their home/office. Furniture designing is an option many people who are decorating their homes and offices look into to provide a unique look to their space.
When asked how she got into the field of furniture designing, Sonia told me that it all started out as a hobby. She said, “I have been very creative all my life and being able to create something new is what I am addicted to.” She started off with an undergraduate degree in French from Fergusson College and a Masters in International Business from Grenoble, France. After that Sonia moved to the US where she established a retail and wholesale store of Indian art.
While she was in the US she met somebody who did something similar to furniture designing which really motivated her.” I have to keep creating something in order to function and hence I decided to put my foot in to this”, she says. She draws inspiration for her work from colors of day to day life which she sees around her. “I have always been inclined towards home décor and living in a space which makes you grow and furniture is an important part of that”, she adds.Now she runs a furniture designing firm along with her husband, Bipin.
A furniture designer requires a lot of patience as the space has to work out just right, especially in the eyes of the client. Another very important thing a furniture designer needs to have is the ability to befriend and deal with a male oriented class of labor like carpenters, painters, polish guys, etc. To be able to create the right feel for the customer, it is important to be able to connect day to day lives with colors and designs and be very observant. “Of course, experience also helps a lot. You get better with every piece you make”, she believes.
A furniture designer needs to be dedicated to creating a new and unique piece every single time. Not everybody can completely appreciate the efforts and the designs and the remuneration is also not very much. “People ask questions like why does it cost more than what I find in a mall or think that buying from a renowned place is better than getting it done from someone they don’t know. Everything you do is questioned at all times. They don’t want to pay for the efforts taken behind every piece.” Being a woman in this field is especially challenging as most of the work involves a male dominated labor class. She says, “They don’t like taking orders from women. Also, they are inconsistent and sometimes produce low quality work unless you guide them well through your designs.”
This field can provide a lot of flexibility. The amount of work you take on, the kind of work you take on and the work hours can all be easily changed to suit your needs. It is necessary to take well thought out decisions and make sure that you understand the market. In furniture designing, the painting and creativity are a part of your profession. There are many more aspects to furniture designing that need to be dealt with. Also, you will not be able to depend on it as a standalone source of income immediately as it takes a lot of time to settle down and establish yourself in this business.
“I think one should pursue what they aspire for in their lives”, Sonia says. In the end, it’s the passion for art and creation which keeps you going.