Tips on Designing Practical and Beautiful Spaces
By Roger G. Hill Chief Executive Officer & Chairman, The Gettys Group Inc. | April 24, 2010
What is Practical vs. Beautiful Design?
As I considered this question while preparing to write on this topic, it occurred to me that practicality is so many things when it comes to executing beautiful design. It doesn't always mean that a piece of furniture "doubles" as two. (It's a desk that also serves as a coat stand.) It doesn't even necessarily mean that every element of the design is even useful in a literal sense.
It isn't hard to find beautiful design...it is so often the focus of any project. Beautiful design that is also practical, however, is a bit of a holy grail. It's the hot convertible that is given a superb safety rating. It's the nutritious, low calorie meal that tastes like the only ingredients are butter and cream.
So I decided, for my own benefit, to make a list of what I thought the tenets of practical design might be, and any design that balances beauty while also accomplishing these tenets, succeeds in achieving the delicate balance.
- Practical design is executed to meet timelines.
- Practical design is executed to meet budgets.
- Practical design is effortless. It asks nothing of its user.
- Practical design eases operational challenges ... foot traffic, hotel staff output or storage, for example.
- Practical design is comfortable.
- Practical design provides context to a property. It tells a story that guests can relate to.
- Practical design produces profits.
So, now that we've defined practicality in design, how can we ensure that it is achieved starting from the earliest stages of planning?