Middle East Furniture Design Essay Research Paper

Middle East Furniture Design Essay, Research Paper

Ayse Birsel was born in Turkey, which is, as she states, A land of contrasts. Birsels designs, like her are filled with combinations of contrasting points of view. Similar to Ayses homeland of Turkey, where quite modern ideas and practices live side-by-side with centuries-old structures and customs, her designs make everything work together in harmony. She was born in the city near the port of Izmir, which is the Turkish Smyrna, a town which is more than two thousand years old. Here she took in a, Mediterranean cosmopolitanism.

Ayse studied industrial design at Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. She was there from 1981 until 1985. From there she received a Fulbright scholarship which brought her to Pratt Institute in New York City where she worked for her Masters degree. From Pratt she took away remembrances of great designers and professors named Bruce Hannah, Rowena Reed, and Peter Barna from whom she learned a no-nonsense view on design. Ayse states, a way of distilling problems, solutions, and forms to their essence. These few words became her perspective toward the industrial design field. Distilling problems, breaking them down, which can reveal the answer to a design problem. This can be seen in her work she has done for Herman Miller.

Ayse being quite blunt with her speaking helped all who viewed her speech to realize how she fits into the design world. Ayse told us very bluntly, being and outsider is a big help. Because I m ignorant of so many things, I find it easy to collaborate with people who can teach me, she says. Her willingness to accept new ideas comes in handy in the world of design. She feels designers benefit from being apart. Also, that being able to view from the outside she feels she has more of an advantage without the prejudice of being in America from day one of her design world.

With the perspective she has toward design she enjoys working with organization that is always interested in change. And that organization was found in Herman Miller. She feels she is not very good at giving new form to old ideas. Design for Ayse is a selfish process in her mind. She states that she designs because she likes to and she feels we should do the same thing. Although innovation is often the outcome of her work she does not strive to innovate in her pursuit toward a product. Too much emphasis on innovation produces too much junk, Ayse says. She always asks herself, Why? and, Why not? She told us that we should not try always to innovate but create a new along the same perimeters as the old yet do not focus on what is already in existence.

Ayse is quite an acclaimed designer. Her senior thesis at Pratt, which was entitled, The Water Room, won her an ID Award for Concepts and the Design of the Future competition in Japan. Then after that, with her professor Bruce Hannah from Pratt she began designing a collection of office furniture and accessories. In 1995, she designed a combination bidet and toilets for a Japanese manufacturer entitle, Toto. Then in June of 1997 she began to work on the Resolve Office System. She began to develop a taste for office furniture that a lot of designers tend to do. We were lucky enough to be able to view her whole design process and what went into Resolve. It truly was an amazing process that she went though. This system can be seen throughout the world in offices. Office furniture is growing and the competition is growing just as fast.

The Office

Office furniture in the Middle East if one of its largest furniture exports. There are hundreds of companies which deal with office furniture and that also export off of their homeland. One company which is striving to be the leader in office furniture in the Mid-East is that which is called, N.I.A. Metal Furniture. This company is located in Israel and was founded in 1964 by General Manager Mr. Nissim Bechar. In 1993 they made the move toward the public direction and established themselves in the Tel Aviv stock exchange where its stocks are traded. Their products cover a large range of lifestyles. Most of it is directed toward offices yet they deal with specialty shops like Coffee rooms and Restaurants. They carry a large selection of seating, shelving, and dining elements in their line. Some of Israeli s leading designers are in team with N.I.A. Each unique design is engineered using the most advanced metal working technology. The designers can persue beautiful shapes and achieve great sensuous curves since they are not hindered in their design due to the lack of technology. Basically, whatever they can design it can be made into reality.

The technology at N.I.A. is amazing compared to many other factories. N.I.A. s near 120 employee staff have the opportunity to occupy any various department that suites their knowledge. And there are plenty of departments to go around. In the past the marketing at N.I.A. has been targeted toward a leading furniture manufacturer. So N.I.A. was acting as a subcontractor for the last 10 years. Only recently have they began dealing directly with the consumers themselves. Essentially cutting out the middleman to focus the design of their product directly to the buyer. International marketing for N.I.A has just begun recently. They have broadened their reach to England and Germany and also here to America. Some of their buyers include: Burger King, King David Hotel, Blue Moon, Pizza Hut and many others.

The technology at N.I.A is a major advancement in the furniture design field. Laser and Water Jet cutting in the new wave of technology entering the site. They have the ability to take a file off the PC and are then able to print out the actual metal stamping. This helps a great deal in the making of their office designs with perforated metals and louvered panels. Technology has taken this company and many others to a new level in the design environment.


Technology and computer aided design (CAD) have been taking the design industry by storm. There is less and less pencil to paper and hands on manufacturing going on now in the design workplace. This means better products with near flawless curves, edges, and mechanical workings. There are programs out there for computers that, if you can draw it in a CAD program it can be made in 3D form by a 3D printer. It will actually print out a full size model to any complexity. This is along the lines of stereolythography, which is a computer aided laser model maker. This makes product development increase in a major way. One company in the Middle East that has this kind of technology at their disposal, again is N.I.A.

N.I.A has many different machining techiniques. Laser cutting, water jet cutting, electrostatic painting and shot-blasting are all used in their persuit to create the perfect product. A twin-head laser is used to decrease cost, increase quality and to speed up the whole process. Their laser cutting systems have been revolutionized to improve upon past designs up to ten times the old speed. These lasers will cut through nearly any material used by them. Some materials include: Iron, Galvanized and Stainless steels, plastic, plywood, and even MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). The cutting thicknesses of these range from a mere 6mm up to 30 mm on the softer materials. Now if Laser cutting wasn t enough and not fast enough, there comes Water Jet Cutting. The accuracy of a water jet cutter is around 0.2mm which is the same as the laser process. Yet, unlike the thickness limits that the laser cutter has, the water jet can cut even the most fragile materials and go even thicker on the laser cut ones. Water jet cutters have the ability to cut marble and even glass. The plastic thickness, to put it in perspective, laser cutting can cut stainless steel up to 6mm and water jet ranges from 6mm all the way up to 20mm thick. Laser can cut plastic up to 25 mm thick and water jet will do from 20mm to 100mm. This broadens the horizon on which design material to use for what job and speeds the whole job up in general. Accuracy levels increase and products all seem to fit better together.


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