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Art And Contemporary Furniture Design

Jun 8, 2008
Furniture design and the high arts may not be closely connected - if connected at all - in people's minds, but the fact is that they are both parts of the same facet of society. Art, whether purely for art's sake or functionality, is always art. Ancient societies all over the world brought artistic visions into their functional pieces; imagine Navajo blankets, Persian rugs, Chinese vases and pre-historic pottery pieces. Archaeologists actually rely on the artistic patterning and design of pottery so that they can identify different societal groups and tribes that lived either simultaneously or in different time periods. Art and humanity are virtually inextricable from one another.

Contemporary artists are mostly known for their expulsion of rigidity in paintings, sculptures, and even the form of art itself. Such artists may often decide to embrace an unorthodox form of expression to reach out to their audiences and viewers; art museums are becoming filled with electronic works, photograph montages, cardboard boxes, even light bulbs and short movie screening rooms. It has become the choice of modern artists to showcase their thoughts via non-structured forms of art that have often been untried by previous generations.

Design and Function Must Meet Art

In terms of furniture, designers have realised in the past several decades that their designs can be grouped into artistic prowess; despite a widespread opinion that for the most part divides art from utility contemporary furniture has embraced both sides of its existence. By no means has artistic value been completely removed from furniture design; it is simply that furniture is an industry that has thrived on such a removal via mass production, affordable pieces and easy storage. When you see stackable chairs, this is exactly the mentality that has caused furniture design to deviate from artistic prowess.

Utility aside, contemporary furniture has joined its cousin contemporary art to provide a new aesthetic and a more vital quality to its design. The initial reaction to these new designs - very seamless and seemingly natural in their construction - was not so much from the general public as it was from artists and the art world itself. Contemporary furniture found its way onto the big screen before it was seen in the average household. What then seemed like a breakthrough for contemporary furniture and art was merely the first major hurdle jumped.

Style and Success

Like contemporary art, contemporary furniture has had to work at building a good reputation as a viable option next to classicism. After a good sixty years, however, contemporary furniture has succeeded in not only claiming converts but in furnishing the bedrooms and eventually the entire homes of new generations of people who adore pieces like the swivel chair and the winged coffee table.

Perseverance can only get you so far; contemporary furniture designers have succeeded because of their love of aesthetic and form alongside function.
About the Author
Stella Stevens is an expert in the modern and designer furniture industry.
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