Nood Design

The Evolution of Modern Furniture

Press release   •   Jun 20, 2011 03:30 EDT

Modern furniture is considered furniture that was produced from the 19th Century to the present day and is influenced by "modernism". It is very different from earlier designs. Richly embellished fabrics and dark and/or adorned carved wood was replaced by the gleaming sophistication of sleek metal. Furniture form had successfully evolved from bulky and solid to visually light.

Before Modern furniture was designed, furniture was considered ornamental. If a piece of furniture took a long time to create, it was considered extremely desirable. In the early 20th Century, the philosophy had changed and shifted the emphasis from ornamental beauty to accessibility and function. Previously furniture had been designed with history and tradition as an inspiration for the design. Now, the modern designs concentrated on originality and technical innovation. The message conveyed was of the existing time and the future, instead of the past.

The modernist designs evolved from state-of-the-art methods in manufacturing and new materials. There were influences from the Bauhaus and the Werkbund School, Art Nouveau and even some exotic foreign inspirations. These designers had a tremendous amount of creativity.

Some of the new materials used to create modern furniture were different forms of steel, molded plywood and plastics. These materials were all considered to be on the leading edge and a huge contrast to previous furniture. This new furniture blended art with technology. This was a working philosophy and the Werkbund became an organization that was sponsored by the government to help launch German designs all over the world. Many that were involved with this organization became involved with the Bauhaus School in later years. The school became interested in finding a way to mass-produce their designs. Doing so would make their designs more accessible.

Asian, African and Japanese design was also influential in the designs of modern furniture. Many of the most recognizable designs were created near the conclusion of the 19th Century or at the beginning of the 20th.

The majority of designs that set this change in motion were produced prior to 1960. However, these designs are still considered modern today. This furniture design is an icon of sophistication and elegance. It is evident that not all the furniture that has been produced since this time is considered modern. There remains to be tremendous amounts of traditional designs produced today.

Modern furniture manufacturers and designers today still seek new materials to create unique forms. They still employ a simple, light form as opposed to solid ornamental furniture. These visionaries still attempt to create an entirely new furniture experience for us to enjoy.

Bob Michael is a freelance journalist who writes about contemporary design, with a focus on modern furniture, modern housewares, kitchenware, bed & bath products, and lifestyle products.For more information about contemporary furniture visit