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Design your Home Extension – Form vs Function

Design your Home Extension Builders North Balwyn – Melbourne

Design can be thought of as two things; a process and an outcome. As a process design is how something is created. As an outcome design is the actual thing that was created e.g. an extra room to your home.

Design has become incredibly important in today’s world and in particular, has captured people’s imagination, especially through companies like Apple. Apple is currently considered one of the leading companies when it comes to design, certainly in the tech world, and that status has been enhanced through their innovative design principles; by breaking down the design process to produce products that have beauty, ingenuity and charisma.

Design has often been thought of as the aesthetics and physical shape of a product, especially amongst non-designers. In truth, design is much more than that. It is about what a product is used for as well as how that product looks and fits into the environment it is going to be used in.

Relating this to the designing of a house or an extension we can split design into two major elements; form and function. Every well-designed home should reflect your personality and desires whilst also accommodating the way you want to live, work and relax. For example, having a place that looks great but is not great to live in, or vice versa shows a disparity in what should be a synergy between form and function. Let’s take a look at each of these elements and relate it to designing an extension on a home.

Design: Form

Technically defined a product’s form represents a number of elements chosen and blended into a whole by a design team to achieve particular sensory effects. At a more simplistic level, it is the aesthetics, beauty and uniqueness of a product. For a home extension, this relates to both the internal and external elements.

From an external perspective, the form takes into consideration the look of your extension. For example, an extension can be integrated with your home so that it looks like your home and not an addition. Here you are looking at the shape, height and location of the extension and then the materials used to build it, which should be in line with what your house uses e.g. same brickwork design or weatherboard type and colour. Other form elements to consider are the materials used in roof extensions, the window types, exterior doors and any unique decorations or details e.g. ornamental architectural details such as cut, rubbed or glazed brick, stucco or ornamental glass.

Internally, form considers how you want your extension to feel and what kind of mood you want to create. This can be determined by the lines and shapes within the extension as well as the elements of colour, lighting and materials used to decorate it. For example, if you are building a new kitchen then the form may reflect a zestier and more colourful approach to say a study which will be more subdued and tranquil.

Design: Function

Design function relates to the practical aspects of a product. The process of functional design begins with the goal of the product i.e. What is the product to do? There needs to be a clear and practical purpose for that product.

Transposed to home extension design it is the statement of what the extension is going to be used for and when it is built does it meet that goal. For example, you may want a new space to cook food in, in which case you would be looking to build a new kitchen. The functional design would consider the elements that are necessary for you to achieve this: the space required for kitchen appliances, layout for efficient food preparation and cooking, specific lighting required, access to utilities such as water, gas and electricity, extraction of kitchen smells and fumes and maybe a serving and eating area that doesn’t interfere with the kitchen operation.

Functional design can also encompass areas like safety, accessibility, sustainability, energy saving and cost saving.

There is a classic debate about whether form follows function. That is, do you design the functions of your product first and then design the aesthetics and feel as a result. A modern view is that when it comes to house design form and function need to be in synergy; you decide what your extension, for example, is going to be used for first and foremost, but the actual functional and formal design will happen concurrently, because the practicality and the style and mood of a place are becoming as important as each other.

So when you come to design your home or have a designer do that for you, it’s really important to consider both the function and the form. A great designer will also be able to include Apple’s three principles of beauty, ingenuity and charisma to turn your current home into a dream one.

You can also follow our series on where to start when building a home extension’ by clicking here.