Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Classics of Modernist Style

There are some classic pieces of furniture which slip easily into the vernacular as classics of design, things such as the stunning Arne Jacobsen Swan Chair or the Charles Eames DAW classic.  Both are stunning additions to any stylish home, whatever your decor, although perhaps not everyone would be keen to embrace the bright orange version of the Jacobsen!



This kind of Modern Furniture, particularly associated with the middle of the twentieth century, was a huge departure from what had come before it.  Dark woods and patterned fabrics gave way to modern metals and stylish, block coloured fabrics, plastic or leather.  Lightness of form became key, with either organic shapes like those above or angular, masculine lines like the Harry Bertoia Diamondd Chair or the Le Corbusier Basculant Chair seen below.  (The latter was actually based on the 19th Century foldable wooden version, much beloved of colonial picnics.)



The new Modernist approach to furniture making marked a break with the ideas of tradition and lineage, speaking instead of technical innovation, newness and originality, looking ahead to the future instead of harking back to a past of traditional furniture making and design.  Out went the traditional Windsor armchair and the value of handmade, labour and time-intensive production, and in came the factory-produced, design-led use of metals and plastics.

For many this style of design is evocative of Bond movies and the like, only at home in buildings like Le Corbusier's own Maison Guiette (below), but to me a single piece like this would fit into any interior or design style.



Of course, the originals are now way beyond the budget for most of us, but there are some amazing reproductions around, including those shown above, all sourced from Vita Interiors, a fantastic online site whose founders "believe that good design should be a compliment to modern living but with an affordable price tag."  With one of their fantastic pieces, we can all welcome a classic of 20th century design into our homes.


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