Biophilic Design Wraps Its Tendrils Around Furniture

Irwin Weiner ASID - Our recent Design2Share blog post on biophillic design caught the attention of a furniture maker and designer, Austin Heitzman, who's been influenced greatly by Eastern culture, most notably by the art of Suiseki. I'm going to use his words for the rest of the post - and thanks for reaching out to D2S, Austin, and sharing your work with us and our readers.

It seems that the Japanese, and the Chinese before them, have long been aware of the principles of biophilic design - the importance that nature plays in the health and well-being of human beings - and addressed this problem centuries ago by bringing natural debris into their home.

Suiseki is the art of displaying found rocks in such a manner that they're evocative of some greater natural occurrence, be it mountains, caves, animals, and so on. These small bits of debris focus the mind outside the home in a transcendental manner that would later become the hallmark of the Abstract Expressionist painters, except they would utilize scale to their advantage; suiseki is kept manageable.

I've tried to incorporate these principles of suiseki into my own design, creating furniture pieces that form a mental connection with some other place. I keep these references abstract to allow the pieces to operate on a personal level, allowing each individual to have their own experience within the piece.

I collect exceptional pieces of lumber and utilize this simple building material as a primary focus of the design, utilizing the woods' colors and textures as a painter utilizes paint. I have also developed a line of wooden suiseki, with more contemporary stands, to function as accents within a room (see top photo). I'm sharing a few images of my work followed by an image of a suiseki; I hope you find them as interesting as I found your post.



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