There seems to be a lot of confusion about what contemporary or modern furniture actually means and what it truly encompasses. The dictionary definition means to ‘follow the latest ideas’, which overlooks the design principle completely and fails to grasp the overall essence. In a nutshell – contemporary, modern furniture is anything made after the nineteenth century that incorporates modernist art influences and evolving simplistic designs. It also takes into account the use of space in which the furniture will be placed as well as the overall architectural design of a person’s home. All these aspects define contemporary furniture and good designers will consider this at every stage of the design process.
Key Differences between Modern Furniture and Other Furniture
As contemporary furniture began to gain momentum in the 50’s, the Museum of Modern Art in New York defined the trend into three core categories that now dictate modern furniture designs globally. These are Design, Materials and Philosophy
The colour, form and texture of modern furniture should be visually appealing. This combined with the applicability of the item and the materials natural appeal will ultimately set the foundation of a visually satisfying piece.
(Simple form, grain texture table with complimenting blue chairs)
Contemporary furniture must use cutting edge materials and newly discovered furniture crafting techniques to stay relevant. This could explain the fast evolving nature of modern furniture. This notion has also established an ongoing trend that utilises pattern free fabric, materials that are practical and usually flat. A combination of various metal styles including; tubular, standard, as well as other rich materials are used to form the basis of the furniture structure which ultimately provide an items crisp linear appeal, smooth texture and sleek edges.
(tubular metal design)
Modern furniture must address the practical needs and express the spirit of the modern lifestyle. It should also compliment the progression of fine arts by defining the purpose of the item, harnessing the feeling of the materials being utilised, and finally the craftsmanship used to create the furniture.
(quality craftsmanship, modest design)
Simply put, contemporary modern furniture utilises modern materials with modern techniques and fuses them with simple elegant designs that are practical and visually appealing. It is important for designers to keep these things in mind to not dilute the meaning of contemporary and make sure that the evolutionary process continues to move forward.