Furniture design goes through many gradual changes as fashions ebb and flow…designers often seek inspiration by looking to the past or to the future; grabbing details here and there they seek to refresh old looks and create new ones… but rarely are they firmly in the present…when they are…those unforgettable and transcendent pieces which seem to rise above novelty are created.
Pivotal moments in furniture design can be noted throughout many past centuries and time after time, designers hark back and refresh the old with the “mediaeval revival” during the Victorian era being a notably successful example of this and of course during the 1980s we had a big return to the sleek silhouettes of the 1950s and 1960s.
So what’s big today? What should we be considering an investment piece? What’s dated and what’s cool?
A lot of what is dictating fashion within furniture today is personal choice; never has there been so much variety on offer and so many affordable pieces to choose from. Part of this is down to a growth in manufacturing as well as the wide range of materials available today…and still another part of this is down to a more open attitude towards style…there’s no “wrong” these days when it comes to furniture.
That doesn’t mean though that there are no clear indications in terms of what is fashionable though; at the moment there are a lot of pieces out there which are taking the basic shapes made popular in the 1950s and 1960s but with an added twist.
That may simply mean an Eames style chair which has been upholstered in very current fabric or it could mean hard plastic fresh from a 3D printer with intricate design details like the Laser Sintered Butterfly Stacking Stool Set by Jane Kytannen which is a beautiful nest of stools/tables which have the delicacy of carved ivory in appearance but of course…they’re as strong and as sturdy as plastic at it’s best.
As with many other periods, designers are using the latest technology to create furniture which in some cases are so intricate that just a few years ago we would never have been able to contemplate such designs. 3D printing has unleashed some incredible pieces which are more art than furniture.
Endless Flow by Dirk Vander Kooij is a stunning example of what recycled plastic and a 3D printer can do. Flowing lines and a range of eye-catching colours make this a really desirable piece.
If you like your furniture soft rather than hard, then the massive selection of beautifully printed fabrics available today ensure that you will find your perfect piece no matter how contemporary or traditional your tastes are. Novelty prints have been popular for some time and aren’t showing any signs of fading away just yet. A return to large and leafy prints has been evident as shown by Christian Lacroix’s beautiful Belles Rives fabric for Designer’s Guild and this theme has been seen in a number of collections.
The exotic has been carried further into animal prints on many of the latest furniture collections out there. We’re not talking about 1970s monstrosities though…no faux fur throws here. We’re talking about sparely designed furniture made quirky with a variety of subtly coloured animal print upholstery fabric. The gorgeous Martello Leonine by House of Hackney is a great example of how animal prints can soften and brighten the hard lines of a 1960s inspired sofa.
Today’s manufacturing processes have made it easy for stores and for designers to offer their clients a much wider choice and it shows. There’s so much out there to choose from and in such a broad spectrum of prices that it’s never been easier to have something up-to-the-minute in your home.