A design trend evolving in the late 19th and early 20th century, modern furniture captures the essence of the machine age. In a concerted effort to break away from historical reference, modern furniture designers took a minimalist approach to design based on form and function using industrial materials for furniture fabrication. Sometimes deemed too stark or cold for daily living, industrial-edge modernism boasts clean lines, geometric forms and the elimination of most applied ornamentation or decoration. Tubular steel, aluminum, and plastics replaced traditional woods for leg, arm and frame construction while leather and synthetic fibers dominated upholstery materials.
Art Deco & Retro
The Art Deco style emerged during the jazz-inspired, streamlined-age of the 1920s and 1930s. Hollywood was turning out movies glamorizing lifestyles of the wealthy boasting luxurious interiors emphasizing sleek lines and rounded contours. The most decorative styles of the Modern era, furniture frames, tables, and chests were made from the more exotic wood species such as zebrawood, rosewood, and ebony. Opulent upholstery textiles of velvet and mohair softened polished metals of stainless steel and chrome, and translucent glass. Today’s Art Deco inspirations, sometimes referred to as “retro,” are more restrained in their elegance yet still emphasize rich wood grain veneering
Swedish and Danish designs dominated the American market during the 1940s and 1950s offering functional and modular lighter scale furnishings. Press-molded laminated birch or simple turned birch and walnut blended with natural fiber textiles for upholstery emphasized firm cushioning, straight lines and tapered legs