Beauty and Function

I am a member of a great organization called BNI, Business Networking International.

At our meeting each week we have one of our BNI members give a talk to help us better understand what they do and how we can help them build their business.

Well, this week was my time for the 10 minute talk.

In preparing for the talk I was thinking of the ways we design, make, and use the things around us.

You see, I am a metal artist and my goal is to make beautiful things.

I like making beautiful things that are also functional.

Japanese craftsmen were famous for this idea. They even had beautiful tools, which were incredibly functional.  If you need a tool, why not have one that is a joy to look at as well.

The earliest man decorated himself for some artistic reason.  National Geographic was full of tribesmen, totally naked except a fancy necklace.  Again the need for beauty.  Even when function was not needed.

When women select china for their wedding, they do not pick plain round white plastic disk… no they select elaborately designed fancy china.  They pick functionality, but the beauty makes them feel special. 

Think of the last car you bought…. Or the one you wanted to buy. There are a lot of cars which could have taken you from home to work.  But no you chose the black one with the leather interior. And it cost a lot more than the old beat up car.  But whether you acknowledged it or not, there was a need for beauty in the function.

Do you think your dog appreciates the pink collar you got her?  No, you bought it for you, the dog would not have known, or cared if you used an ugly piece of rope.

That is one of the things that separate us from them.  Man from the animals.

We want beauty in our lives.  The function is just icing on the cake.  But icing is important.

I have created projects for clients who told me they didn’t care about how it looks. Then later, they would ask for a different color…. beauty really did matter.

I mean, we all comb our hair…. There is no real reason to comb your hair.  We just do it because we want to feel better about ourselves.

That is what I deal with every day,   making the routine things beautiful.

Why do I do it?  Because I think we deserve things that make us smile.

Now, let me switch things around…

Making you smile does not come from beauty alone, it comes in function as well.

The blend of function and beauty?  Beauty in function and function in beauty.

That concept is where I live and work every day. 

Here is another example.

I was asked to make a gate for a small fenced in yard.  The fence was wood and did not allow ventilation.  They could have used anything to cover that door and allow access.

But I proposed a blend of beauty and function.  I noticed the gate would be at the head of the driveway and anyone driving into the yard would see it immediately.  It set the stage for the first impression of the house and yard. It was going to represent the house and their design style, whether intended or not. 

We discussed the ideas and came to an agreement on of an open picket gate design with an intertwined morning glory vine climbing up the side of the gate and flowering at the top. 

We added an overhead arch with a deep blue glass circle in the center. This arch matched the top curve of the gate and provided an arbor for the real morning glories to climb. 

The latch was a simple design, but with a unique detail to make it special.   Again, adding  beauty to function. (I will add a photo of this gate after it is installed)

That is what I love to do. 

Make the usual, unusual…. and the simple special.

I can make the client smile each time she sees her piece, knowing it is totally unique, and was designed especially for her.  I have taken the time to use my skills and construct each piece with quality and craftsmanship. It will be a piece she can pass on to her grandchildren. A special item with true beauty and exceptional function.

I always look for clients with a desire for something unique, something lasting and beautiful.  

Clients who give me the chance to make them smile.

I love my work!  I think it shows in the spirit I put into everything I create.

I hope you have treasures you look at every day…. and smile?

                             If not.…. give me a call!

Steve Zawistowski






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