Modern Classic Furniture

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Since the late 1800s, designers have been creating fully modern classic furniture for contemporary living. These designers, many of whom are also architects, seek to explore people's expectations of what modern living means through design choices and modern materials. By employing new technologies, conscientious design principles, and functionality as their goal, they have been able to create many pieces of instantly recognizable modern classic furniture.

The Role of the Chair in Modern Classic Furniture

The most common outlet for designers is the chair. Re-imagining the chair around the turn of the century led designers on a quest for the most perfect balance of function, aesthetics, and form. Some designers of modern classic furniture would produce hundreds of chair designs in their lifetime, while others finalized only a few key designs.

Arne Jacobsen and Marcel Breuer were two modernists who were extremely prolific furniture designers. Both experimented with many different forms, and almost always kept utility central to the design. Both designers also experimented with new materials: Breuer was one of the first designers to design with tubular steel, and Jacobsen was an early adopter of molded plywood technologies.

Other designers, such as Mies van der Rohe, concentrated their design efforts on other types of objects, and produced relatively few chairs. However, Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair design is one of the most instantly recognizable and critically lauded modern chair designs. Finished in 1929, it reinvented the idea of luxury for the modern world.

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