Modern Furniture Styles

Modern Furniture History

Modern furniture has a rich history. It has evolved immensely over the past 100 years, going theough many phases, each adding their unique elements. The first was the Bauhaus movement which began in 1919. The famous Bauhaus (house of building) school in Weimar Germany eventually became the most influential modern art school in history, spawning the first pioneers of modern furniture design, including Mies van der Rohe (Barcelona sofa, loveseat and daybed) and Marcel Breuer (Wassily chair).

At the same time the Bauhaus movement was taking off in Germany, a modernist movement called Purism was emerging in France. It's pioneers were Le Corbusier and Ozenfant. Then in the mid 20's, Le Corbusier became the first pioneer of the Art Deco movement which had its launch at the 1925 Expo in Paris. Le Corbusier was best known for the Corbusier sofa, loveseat and chaise, all comprised of chrome-plated tubular steel, which was the staple feature of Purist design. In 1964 Cassina of Milan was granted exclusive rights to manufacture Corbusier's designs. Though many of his reproductions are made today, only Cassina is authorized to produce the original design.

In the mid-1900's, continuing the modernist legacy of their Western European predecessors, the Scandinavians began creating their own unique style of furniture. Scandinavian design took the concept of functionality which developed a few decades earlier in the Bauhaus Movement and added the simplistic beauty of minimalism. The result was furniture pieces with clean lines and appealing aesthetics. Adding to the commonly used leather and steel, they introduced reinforced plastics and acrylics. Wood, abundant in the north, also became a common staple in Scandinavian furniture. The Swedes often used light woods while Danish designers commonly used dark mahogany. Iconic Scandinavian designers such as Arne Jacobsen (Swan and Egg Chair), Poul Kjaerholm (Hammock chair), Finn Juhl (Baker sofa), Hans Wegner (Wishbone chair) and Paul Volther (Corona chair) became international household names in furniture design

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