Reading about modern furniture designers over the past century it is easy to spot a trend that happened in furniture design. Furniture prior to the twentieth century followed tightly ordered and structured laws of proper design in a traditional manner. Sometimes more involved in ornamentation than actual consideration for functional use or human proportions, people seemingly needed to adapt to accommodate the furniture rather than the other way around.
Modern furniture designers deliberately separated themselves away from this single minded view of furniture as mere decoration and literally exploded into the world of furniture design with modern, contemporary ideas utilizing new materials and exploring construction techniques not previously considered.
With this same embracing of new ideas and concepts came the ideas regarding furniture’s new found place in the home and pushed the design to be more functional embracing places for storage and flexibility for multi-purpose use. This is a concept that many modern designers championed seeing the home and the life lived within its walls as a responsive living machine. While some did not like the reference of human beings as mechanical, it allowed for a reshaping of how we use our living spaces.
Dining room tables no longer only accommodate the Sunday special dinner and holidays, finding themselves host to children’s homework, folded laundry and not so surprising, everyday meals as well. Gone is the formality and the strict division of furniture to task but rather a more integrated way of living that is more casual and for many, more comfortable.
Large oversized chairs with hard flat wooden seats might be fit for a king but for comfortable seating it was anything but. Probably even the king did not look forward to sitting in them for any great length of time. With ergonomics in mind, the human body was explored and celebrated with functional, modern furniture that fit the new contemporary lifestyle.
Dining rooms, tired of being closed off from the rest of the home became a part of the open living concept linking spaces normally closed off from each other; the kitchen, the living room and the dining room. With this new form of architectural space planning, modern wall units gained favor as a way to create some sense of spatial separation while still allowing the easy flow of traffic and conversation between rooms. Substituting a wall unit for a wall opened up a whole new world of possibility providing storage and display space. Suddenly everything got a whole lot less cluttered.