Mathieu Frossard

Department: Contextual Design

Function follows Beauty

Re-thinking functionality from the vantage point of beauty.

From the very beginning, beauty is
considered to be one of the pillars of the
definition of design. Although designers
tend to put higher value on concept or use,
it would be hard to find any designer who
claims to work hard to make something
ugly or unnoticeable.

The notion of beauty resists an easy
definition. Beauty is based on subjectivity,
and thus it is hard to combine with
rationality. It is this openness in its definition that makes beauty so interesting.

While beauty and function cohabit in every
design proposal, they remain two disparate,
almost opposite, elements. Beauty is linked
with the physical representation of a project.
It could be understood as a superfluous,
added element that does not increase
its function.

This last term refers to the idea of use.
It is a rational element that does not leave
much space for interpretation.
On the other hand, beauty is a fluctuating
element that leads to imaginative thought
through a system of interpretation. My
proposal is based on this tension between
function and beauty, between defined
objectivity and fluctuating subjectivity.
My work is about defining function in the
same way I would define beauty. I think of
objects as catalysts for the imagination.
Function becomes as open to appropriation
and interpretation as beauty has always

Intriguing but curiously familiar shapes
demonstrate that omnipresent subjectivity
endures in the way the designer and
the user/viewer deal with physical

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Joost Govers