Architecture to Product Design

Eric Jacoby
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Designing Products with an Architectural Approach

Eric Jacoby Design is a product design company whose emphasis is on modern furniture and toys. However Eric’s training and license is in architecture, and in many way Eric sees this current endeavor as an expansion of his architectural career.

After a 20 year background in architecture, Eric has followed the path of other architects who have turned to product and furniture design, because for him, the smaller scale of products allows for a purity of design ideas, more immediacy in constructability, and a design process that has a reciprocal relationship with the process of making.

There are many similarities between architecture and product design, but our company remains fascinated with one major difference:

Typically, a building design is only going to be built once in a specific location with specific topographic, cultural, and site conditions. And when the building is being constructed, many small adjustments have to be made in-situ so that ultimately, the building is its own prototype. In comparison; a product’s design is driven largely by working iteratively to create something that will be repeated.

Just like in architecture, product design begins with a function that needs to be met; i.e. a long lasting, durable table that is comfortable and can accommodate extra people if necessary. Then we develop a design concept, work out detailed systems, followed by refined drawings. It gets really exciting when we build our first prototype. Then we break it. Then we build a better prototype. Then we break it again. Then we build a better prototype still. Product design is a rigorous process, but in both cases, design doesn’t really ever stop. Considering that, Eric is always looking for places to improve a building, or a product.

Architecture to Product Design

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