Contemporary is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as just “following the latest ideas.” That definition doesn’t adequately grasp contemporary furniture design’s essence. Contemporary furniture also referred to as modern furniture or modern contemporary furniture is furniture that has been built after the 19th century. The modernist art movement has heavily influenced its design. Concepts from modernist art got directly translated into the furniture world. Instead of creating furniture that was substantially visual, furniture evolved into more simplistic visual designs. The furniture, as well as the area that it resides in, are used by contemporary furniture design as part of a home’s overall design theme.
How Does Contemporary Furniture Differ From Other Types Of Furniture?
Contemporary furniture started to emerge during the 1950s with the rise of the custom home bar that everyone wanted (and still wants) to get in their homes. At this time New York’s Museum of Modern Art made the decision to address the trend. The museum published a booklet called “What Is Modern Design?” Edgar Kaufmann Jr. was the author. A series of precepts were established that dictate what is considered contemporary furniture. Furniture abiding by the precepts may be considered to be contemporary furniture. Kaufmann’s precepts can be divided into three major categories:
Design | Contemporary furniture
An overall design theme is taken into account by contemporary design. It may be something that the future owner of the furniture is trying to accomplish. According to Kaufmann, the form, texture and colors of the item should directly spring from whatever materials are used. Also, the design should combine the beauty of the materials with the utility of an object to present an item that is visually satisfying. It should be a simple design with no redundant materials and an apparent structure.
Materials | Contemporary furniture
One of the precepts of Kaufmann’s dictates that furniture should make use of cutting edge materials and take complete advantage of new techniques for making furniture. The precept helped to create a trend of using fabric without patterns and materials allowing for a flat functional surface. Various chromatic, standard metal and tubular metal materials along with a combination of all of them were used frequently to create the structure of pieces of contemporary furniture. These kinds of materials allow for the creation of smooth textures, pronounced edge and crisp lines.
Philosophy | Contemporary furniture
A specific spirit and philosophy is employed by designers when they create contemporary furniture. According to Kaufmann, furniture should express the spirit of our modern times and address modern life’s practical needs. He also stated that the furniture should help to advance the fine arts. The design should express an object’s purpose, the material’s beauty and methods used in creating the furniture. It shouldn’t ever try to appear to be anything that it isn’t, like a mass-produced piece of furniture shouldn’t try to look hand crafted. Maybe the most important Kauffmann philosophical precept was that as many individuals as possible should be served by the item, and that costs should be limited so that it could be attainable and affordable to a broad market.
These precepts were also shaped with help from European contemporary design before the trend moved to the United States. There started to be a shift towards function and broad accessibility of furniture in Europe, instead of designs that were overly intricate. Many designers around the world made note of this and helped to perpetuate the style.
Famous Contemporary Furniture Examples
There are always standout pieces in art that help to perpetuate and define an emerging style. In the furniture design world, this is true as well.
Wassily Chair- This contemporary furniture icon was created in 1926 by Marcel Breuer in a German cabinet making shop. It employed leather straps and tubular steel to embody a minimalist design and created a functional design comprised of thin geometric shapes.
Eileen Gray Side Table – This simple bedside table was created in 1927 by Jean Badovici, a French architect. It embodied her well-known quality of refusing to conform to whatever the popular standard was at the time. A unique utility was featured, which allowed a special adjustment to serve breakfast in bed. The piece featured a conical design and was made out of glass and metal to make a very functional and visually pleasing piece of furniture.
Barcelona Chair – In 1929 Lily Reich and Mies Van Der Rohe created the world-renowned Barcelona Chair. It was made as an entry into an international design fair held in Barcelona. The chair features curved tubular steel and simple leather patterns to create a chair that is very aesthetically pleasing. The footstool that accompanies the chair used the Roman numeral X (10) for creating its structure.
What Is Contemporary Furniture
Contemporary furniture is any kind of furniture featuring a simplistic design and using modern materials. Function is considered to be paramount and creating an item that is visually compelling is secondary. Another goal of contemporary furniture is that is strives to be both attainable and affordable. There are numerous places online to find contemporary furniture. BIF has a wide selection of contemporary furniture for you that fully embody a philosophy you can be proud of.
The Best Contemporary Furniture
The best contemporary furniture BIF has some of the most unique and innovative collections from leading manufacturers around the world. You can browse contemporary furniture from our website or you can visit the showrooms in your city and then decide which model you want. Shop at BIF to create a fresh new look using today’s hottest trends in contemporary furniture design for a stunning finish to any room.