Italian design was also another strong indicator in contemporary furniture design, but this style of furniture design also took much from French, America and Swedish influences. Many of the original contributors to the contemporary furniture movement, such as Charles and Ray Eames are still highly respected and continue to influence furniture designers to this day.
Think about your lighting – If your room doesn’t have ceiling lights, you will need to prioritize the placing of lamp stands or tables that hold lamps. Work out which areas of the room need brightening during the day and place lamps there to maintain a balance of light in the room. Again, when it comes to night, make sure your lighting is well-balanced.
The opportunity to create new, modern furniture designs has been greatly helped by advances in technology, materials and tooling. Where older pieces were constructed of wood and adorned with intricate, fussy carvings and deep-coloured, luscious fabrics, contemporary furniture is more likely to be built from polished metal, sleek steel and moulded plastics. With the introduction of man-made padding after the Second World War, even soft, cushioned seating can be styled in a more ’clean’ and slick finish. Even the computer has had an impact on modern furniture, with designers more easily able to manipulate a prototype image to come up with striking and innovative new creations.
Modern furniture and contemporary furniture were born from a change in attitude, style and design that started in the late nineteenth century. Previously, furniture had tended towards more heavy, robust and lavish pieces, items that made a statement for its huge character, rather than simple elegance. Contemporary furniture design has veered more to that very elegance, often characterised by smooth, sleek lines and noted for its neat finishes rather than for its bulk and size.
The earliest influences of contemporary design stem from the art deco and post-war modernism ages – artists were trying to break away from the conventional and find new ways to push boundaries. This cross-over between creating works of art and designing functional pieces of modern furniture really grew in momentum during the Bauhaus movement of the 1920s and the design of modern furniture shifted to real self-expression and individuality, as well as being serviceable and comfortable to use.