Contemporary furniture is entirely different today, to the way it used to be…this is the nature of contemporary furniture. Before you continue reading, you must know that there’s a difference between modern and contemporary. Modern furniture refers to a period in time, the modernist movement, or modernism. Contemporary furniture is a design of recent time, reflecting the style and design of the present day.
Some pieces are very modern looking with simple lines and often minimal, while others could easily be mistaken for vintage or second hand pieces. Contemporary furniture has always been based on things like functionality, elegance, and simplicity, regardless of the era they are emulating.
Contemporary furniture from the 20th century
When you take a look at past ‘contemporary’ furniture design, from the late 20th century, much of it has deliberately artificial qualities. The designers never even attempting to imitate the grain of wood or marble veins. This was a very popular look, and many homeowners used it throughout their home decor.
You would have found materials such as metal, glass, vinyl, and plywood, in modern furniture designs. Usually, one piece would combine only two materials or two colours, creating a fun contrast in the home. Although today, these styles have helped to inform a lot of contemporary furniture.
Many designers had their own ideas of what 21st century furniture would look like, and attempted to imitate it with their collections. Looking at these pieces now creates a feeling of vintage or nostalgia, in spite of the efforts to create furniture that wouldn’t look out of place in this day and age. Think back to shows such as ‘The Jetsons’ and this is what many designers were drawing inspiration from in the 1960s and 1970s using plastic in a lot of furniture.
Many furniture designers still attempt to see the future in their furniture pieces today, with sleek lines and unusual shapes. These days, contemporary furniture designers use materials such as walnut, bronze, and glass, as well as materials such as marble. Many of the designs are simple and usable, with some other contemporary pieces designed for rustic or industrial styles, and other pieces give a nod to Victorian, Shaker or Georgian styles.
Today, you can find just about any piece of contemporary furniture you can dream up. Whichever era you want to incorporate in to your home, whatever style or colour you want, you can find it. At Case, we have always drawn inspiration from the modern movement with very contemporary proportions, fabrics and technology. We do not retain elements of a design for nostalgia if there is an improvement which makes the design more useful for today’s homes.