Modern Furniture – What Does It Really Mean?

Modern furniture referers to a particular design of furniture made popular in the late 1800s at the Bauhaus School of Design in Germany, known for its simplicity in design and function in combination with technological and architectural elements such as striking polished metal and geometric patterns. It is a combination of several styles of furniture, including mid-century, art deco and industrial.

Before the modern era, furniture was seen as artwork, or, in other words, visually striking but not necessarily functional. The modern era changed all that and placed emphasis not on embellishments or ornamentation but on simple, streamlined and geometric shapes.

Whereas furniture design was once about maintaining tradition and respecting lineage, the modern era brought about furniture design that was based on looking forward and originally, not to mention taking advantage of new manufacturing processes and technical innovation.

With this technological innovation also came new, groundbreaking materials to the furniture trade, such as steel, glass, molded plywood and plastics, which came to represent the look and feel of what we know as modern furniture.

Although of Western origins, modern furniture design owes a lot to Asian culture. This was in large part due to Japanese isolationism softening at roughly the same time, leading to new influences in design and aesthetics focusing on simplicity, lack of ornamentation, and solid colors.

Staples of this era include the Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer, the Eileen Gray Side Table, the Barcelona Chair and the Noguchi Coffee Table.

The most recognized modern furniture designers of their time include Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier (born Charles Edouard Jeaneret), Lilly Reich and Walter Gropius.

All of the above taught and / or studied in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s at places such as the world-renamed Bauhaus school of art and architecture, the focus of which was finding new and original ways of combining art, technology and new materials. The furniture that was produced at this time is now referred to as '' mid-century modern '' or '' modern classic. ''

Although originating nearly a century ago, the modern furniture of the late 19th century and early 20th is still looked at today as symbolic of modern design and aesthetics.

Although the terms' 'modern furniture' and '' contemporary furniture '' are often used interchangeably, they are not synonymous. Whereas modern furniture has origins as old as the late 19th century, contemporary furniture refer to the designs and styles made popular today.

It is a continuation of the Bauhaus School's emphasis on '' form follows function '' but has expanded to include inspiration as varied as fine art, rustic design and nature itself as well as additional materials, including recycled steel and chrome, and fabrics such as linen, hemp and recycled polyester fabric. Think of contemporary furniture as form follows function sustainability.