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Updated: Mar 16, 2023

A look into modern furniture.

Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating, bed, chair, tables, sofas, etc. Furniture is also used to hold objects at a convenient height for work such as tables and desks, or to store things (cupboards, shelves and drawers). It can be considered a form of decorative art in addition to being functional.

Modern furniture are made of materials developed during the war including laminated plywood, plastic, metal and fiberglass. The products reflect today's culture and style. Efforts made by consumers and companies have led to Eco-design, the process of manufacturing products that have less impact on the environment and are more sustainable. Think Ikea, for instance. Widely popular, their line of furniture is based on the notion of environmentally-friendly design. Click here for more.

1. Lounge chair

This American piece will add a modern edge to any modern decor. Made in 1956 it was designed to be comfortable and stylish. Toda it can be an accent chair for anyone in search of flowing continuous shape. A natural organic piece, it wins hands down for its curve appeal.

Lounge chair and ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames

Chair and ottoman in walnut veneer and white leather - by Eternity Modern

2. Daybed

Originally from Denmark in 1957, it's a modern piece that always looks flawless. Use is in an entryway, reading room or office to achieve a Scandinavian look. Because there's no back or bottom skirt, there's no obstruction. It's a great piece to put in an open-space layout. It's a long chair that's covered with leather or fabric depending on what you prefer comfort or luxury.


Daybed by Poul Kjaerholm

Birch, walnut and industrial steel frame with reinforced leather - by Crofthouse.

3. Credenza

Cabinet by George Nakashima

This is a decorative piece of dining room furniture you can use for storage. Long after the16th century, they made a return in the mid-century style. Rectangular shape, with the juxtaposition of drawers and doors. They're typically long and low to the floor, with no legs or very short ones and no visible hardware. Wall-hung models free-up floor space and become a part of the art on the wall.

Stylish storage space in the dining area or the living room - by Bouclair.

4. Ball chair

Also called ''globe'' it was made in Finland in 1963 with fiberglass. This industrial piece is timeless. The oblique angle was made to cut exterior sound. Used as private space to talk on the phone when it was introduced, today's new versions can be used as indoors and outdoors seating in every color possible. You can use a floor base or hang them from the ceiling. What you get is a unique accent chair or porch swing. Integrate music speakers, for a heightened experience while curled up inside at the office or at home. Adding sound is not a feature available with today's technology. It was already an option on this chair.

Ball chair by Eero Aarnio

360 degree swivel with seating made of fabric upholstery - by Eternity Modern.

4. Wire

In the United States during the 1930's metal dinettes and lawn furniture were developed and sold. But when the U.S. entered World War II, factories all production came to a halt to fully support the war effort. When it ended, production resumed with Steel products today are extensively used in many interior and exterior application, ranging from appliances to office furnishings. It's a minimalist look, effortless, unobtrusive like sculptures that seem to float.

Wire furniture by Harry Bertoia

Wire weaving coated with clear epoxy - by Crate and Barrel.

Centuries of furniture styles and movements

Complex building techniques began in Africa, in the early dynastic period of ancient Egypt. This era saw built wooden pieces, like stools and tables, often decorated with valuable metals or ivory. Through ancient Greece and ancient Rome, there was a major evolution in furniture design with thrones and multipurpose pieces fabricated for leisure and common activities like sleeping and eating. Then in the Middle Ages, furniture pieces were usually made of oak and heavily ornamented.

The design of furniture continued during the Italian Renaissance in the14th and 15th century. In the 17th century, all of Europe was characterized by opulent, gilded Baroque designs. Decorative elements testified to the wealth of the family. Guilding is an old practice that lasted until the18th century and also found in the Classical, Neo-Classical and Art Nouveau style from Paris in France. Their taste in furniture for parquetry had a lasting influence on American architecture and design. Art Deco however, was the style of the moment, until the outbreak of World War I. After this period, the United Kingdom developed Modernism and Constructivism a movement by Russia, representing mechanization and modern life.

The19th century was defined by the industrial revolution and shaker furniture made by the religious group that went by the same name. In the 20th century it was pop art and the space age. An emphasis on art, popular culture and the international influence. Movements that brought textiles, abstract, asymmetrical shapes like terrazzo from Milan. The use of computerized furniture design. While Postmodernism was developed around an intellectual discourse. Furniture design factoring in morality, human nature, social progress, mixing materials from different eras and making a return to natural shapes and textures.

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