Armando Magnino  
Fine Furniture, Beautifully Made  .
                       
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->  awards ->   philosophy “Questions about whether design is necessary or affordable are quite beside the point: 
design is inevitable.
The alternative to good design is bad design, 
not no design at all.”
Douglas Martin “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris
 
                                        
                                            I have often struggled with this quote from William Morris. 
                                            The place where I stumble every time is that “OR’’... 
                                                Why introduce such a contrast between aesthetics and 
                                                functionality? Why judge them on separate scales? 
                                            Shouldn’t we expect beauty from useful, everyday objects?

While I sympathize with much of the Arts and Crafts agenda (their horror of 
bland mass produced goods, their quest for working approaches that lifted the workers from their alienating and disempowering working conditions, their social agenda aiming at making beautiful objects and pleasant living conditions available to all), I find that their escape to an idealized medieval past and to romanticized working methods had often counter-productive effects. I do believe that it is possible to produce objects that are beautiful, functional and not prohibitively expensive.

I often look for inspiration in the work of designers and architects 
such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus School. 
I see them searching for a form of applied aesthetics that has more 
to do with shape, proportions and choice of materials than decoration 
and detailing. At the same time I see that a purely modernist approach 
can lead to designs that are sometimes quite stark and dry. I balance this 
tendency with the more organic lines of Art Nouveau designers, Gaudi, and Far Eastern approaches, such as a careful use of asymmetry and empty space.

Being a small business, focusing on one-off pieces gives me flexibility. I can approach each client and job with an open mind. Not only I can design a piece to suit the client needs, preferences and budget,  but I can also then choose the techniques and methods best suited for the task.  Gordon Russell talked about “teaching the machines manners” emphasizing that machines are tools like any others: with the necessary application of skill and understanding they can produce wonderful results. While I love wood as a material and I believe there is nothing quite like the feel, sound and smell of smooth silky shavings coming off a finely tuned hand plane, I also know that there are times when a machine will do the job better and quicker. New technologies and new materials are constantly being introduced: I believe it’s important to be able to select the best approach for each job, without idolizing innovation nor hanging on to inappropriate methods in the name of tradition.





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