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By: Jerri Saldivar
modrn - Chintz and charm in the shape of antique furniture isn't for everybody. Many new buildings, loft apartments, penthouse suites and cellar conversions don't lend themselves so well to this style, so modern furniture and contemporary accessories can offer a young, dynamic and minimal alternative.
Anything produced from the late 19th century is classed as modern furniture. Though defined as modern furniture, it has been superseded by contemporary furniture design, which sometimes draws upon the 'modern' styles and shapes from decades ago. It is inevitable that we revisit older looks to inspire new ideas. Like fashion, interiors enjoy a new lease of life with a revival, so it's only natural that contemporary furniture designers have taken influence and inspiration from modern furniture designers that came before them.
A good example of a piece of modern furniture that has enjoyed such resurgence is the Le Corbusier chair from 1928. Le Corbusier was a Swiss born French architect, designer and artist - turning his hand to anything creative. Whatever he dreamed-up though, had to be modern and minimalist. His signature chair, typically Bauhaus, had a simple yet solid stainless steel frame, very square and angular in shape, almost like railings - echoing the architect in him. Caged within the frame were square-edged leather cushions. Today this piece is still being produced, together with matching 2-seater and 3-seater sofa versions, as well as a chaise-longue adaptation.
The Barcelona chair is another iconic piece of modern furniture, designed only a year after the Le Corbusier masterpiece, but by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This chair is revered for the fact that it was initially designed for royalty - the Spanish King and Queen at the World Art Fair Exposition in Spain in 1929. The Barcelona design is a perfect specimen of balance, function and form. It had a no-fuss curved steel construction, designed to effortlessly take the weight of the sitter, a feature supposedly plagiarised from the Roman folding chair. The seat cushions were hand crafted with full grain and stud-buttoned leather. Still a very popular item, this piece of furniture is reproduced today and is available as a standalone piece, with matching stool or there is a daybed option.
These examples of modern furniture are timeless classics and anyone who owns an original from the 1920's is incredibly lucky. It also seems that in this day and age, pretty much anything can be considered fashionable. Perhaps we have come past the point where things go in and out of fashion and we can now enjoy whatever we like - whether it's modern furniture, contemporary furniture, oriental furniture or traditional English furniture - rather than being dictated to and restricted by the latest fad.
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