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Art And Function In Contemporary Furniture

Jun 22, 2008
Furniture design has, in its own recent history, suffered something of a rift between the functionalists and the artists. This rift has been patched up by what is called contemporary furniture design; this design school has brought functionalism and artistic design value together where once they were completely apart and even further back in history artistic notions were never considered alongside furniture construction.

It is to the credit of modern furniture designers that these two qualities have been put together in the creation of countless unique furniture pieces that have started to change the modern decor landscape, not only of homes but of workplaces and any occupied spaces.

Contemporary art has evolved from classic art in such a way that the rigidity of realism was questioned and broken apart; contemporary painters and sculptors rid themselves of the idea that art must be immediately identifiable as its own subject. Paintings and sculptures from the contemporary period are therefore not necessarily clear in their meaning however, the point of this is to realise that they do have meaning. Classical portraiture, although it certainly does have layered meaning hidden to the undiscerning onlooker, can seem superficial. By deconstructing the portrait or any subject, the artist is helping the audience to understand that there really is something to think about, instead of letting them simply look on in a disinterested way.

Furniture Must Function

Functionalists of the furniture business are like the classical portrait painters; although they have worked some degree of aesthetics into their work they have focused on the true nature of the furniture as a utilitarian object. In doing so, these designers have allowed classical furniture design to rule throughout society as the standard point of any future designs.

A chair is always a chair; if it is such one can always and easily tell what its purpose is because we have all seen a million chairs all in generally the same shape.

Materials and Changing Goals

To bring functionality and artistic modern elements into contemporary furniture design, designers needed versatile materials that could bring their visions into reality; plastics and fibreglass made this dream a reality and suddenly contemporary furniture not only deviated from classicism but brought in a whole new wave of furniture that was often not even recognisable as such. The deviation was, and remains, difficult for some people to adopt, however the fact remains that aesthetics are becoming more and more important according to the new rules of contemporary furniture.

At one time the goal of the homeowners was to own at least one classical set of furniture. Now it is a progressive step that they are opening their homes and workspaces to more modern, interesting pieces of furniture. Modernity is taking its hold on design and those who appreciate contemporary furniture, its development and its artful existence are already making wise investments
About the Author
Stella Stevens is an expert in the modern and contemporary furniture industry.
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