Furniture and Crafting

Furniture and handicraft
Furniture and handicraft Max Plunger

Considerable research within cabinet-making, furniture design and furniture upholstery is carried out at LiU, principally at Malmstens. Materials and techniques from various periods and cultures are examined, with a focus on sustainability within ecology, ethics, economy and aesthetics.

Research is conducted into how cabinet makers and designers solved their tasks in different ways at different periods and in different cultures. The research offers insight into how this is relevant to contemporary issues, which covers choice of both materials and methods. Based on this, ideas concerning sustainability, quality, skill, expertise, creativity and productivity are raised in a way that relates to questions that the students discuss to an increasing extent in their degree projects.

The way in which art, architecture, design and handicraft developed in the years before the beginning of the 20th century is analysed, together with the role that the English ‘Arts & Crafts’ movement played, and continues to play, for contemporary values. Studies of the folk art that can be found in, for example, farmhouses in the Hälsinge region also provide inspiration for design with location-bound or site-specific references and an aesthetic presentation that breaks mainstream norms.

Project based on research

One recent example of a student project with a clear research basis is the study and manufacture of a working wave-moulding machine using descriptions from the middle of the 17th century. In another example, radiology has been used as a non-destructive testing method to understand how valuable furniture has been recovered and handled through the years. What we experience with one sense can be described with the aid of another sense. That observation, adoptable for the analyse and communication of visual form within furniture design, was the topic of one recently delivered study. Examination of today’s sedentary lifestyle has resulted in new tools to test various sitting positions, while a further project has studied the sustainability, comfort and economy of various filling materials.

Much of the research takes place at Malmstens Linköping University, Campus Lidingö, and in close collaboration with researchers working in materials science at Campus Valla.

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