Modern Furniture - Contemporary Tables And Chairs

Written by Charles Peacock
Bookmark and Share

The term "modern furniture" is a bit of a misnomer. It implies an up-to-date, contemporary style, but in fact this style originated around the 1920s. The striking new pieces of furniture that were designed during this period were at the time called "modern," and the name apparently stuck--we're still calling certain furniture "modern" even if it's 80 years old.

While the modern style was developed decades ago, it has by no means stopped evolving. The shapes and designs that revolutionized furniture design during the early modern period are inspiring artists to this day. And while modern furniture goes through waxing and waning periods of popularity, we're currently in a renaissance--both new and old modern furniture are currently very hot.

The Origins of Modern Furniture

In the 1920s, designers and architects from (or inspired by) the German Bauhaus School began to revolutionize the world of furniture design. Where antique furniture had focused on ornamentation, and more recent industry-inspired design was obsessed with mechanics and function, modern furniture took a back-to-basics approach. The key word was "simplicity."

Eschewing the complex ornamentation of past furniture styles, modern designers created pieces that were simple but elegant. In their designs, they followed only rules of logic, order, and simplicity. The result was a revolutionary body of work that looked nothing like what had come before it.

Modern design really took off in popularity in the 1960s. From the '60s to the '80s, round, colorful furniture began to dominate the homes of young people and older trend-setters. While the style fell out of favor in the '80s and '90s, many of the pieces from several decades ago have again begun popping up in furniture and style magazines.

Characteristics of Modern Furniture

The easiest way to recognize modern furniture is to see if it passes the "futuristic" test. Most modern pieces--even those that were designed almost a century ago--look a bit like they came from the future. This may be one reason that the term "modern" still seems to apply quite nicely.

Modern furniture is characterized by smooth, rounded, stylized shapes. It is usually without any carved or painted ornamentation. In terms of coloring, pieces typically use either one solid color or are made with a set of clean, bright (sometimes striking) colors.

Since simplicity is a mainstay of this style, you'll also discover that most modern pieces have far fewer components than other styles of furniture. Many chairs, for instance, are made from one solid piece of wood or plastic that is bent or carved into shape. Because of this characteristic, modern furniture designers have learned to depend on the strengths of the materials they are using.

Bookmark and Share