Furniture refers to movable objects that can be used for any activities of humans such as seating and sleeping. Chairs, sofas, stools and beds are examples of furniture. Likewise, some pieces of furniture are in storing things like shelves and cupboards as well as those that holds objects like desks and tables. Aside from its functional role, the furniture also serves as decorative art and as religious and symbolic purpose.
Various materials are utilized in making furniture including wood, plastic and metals. Serving stands and tables are considered as ancient furniture that was built during the 8th century BC. The furniture designed during the Middle Ages was ornamented, heavy and made from oak. During the era of Italian Renaissance, the design of furniture expanded. The opulent and Baroque designs of furniture were notable during the 17th century in both Northern and Southern Europe. In the 19th century, the revival designs of furniture were introduced and the 20th century marks the innovation in which the designs and styles of furniture are modernized.
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The making of furniture has evolved throughout times. That is why it has been part of the different cultures.
- Neolithic Period
Furniture that is made from unique stone has been dug in Skara Brae, Orkney. Since the availability of woods is limited, the people were forced to use stone. The stone furniture is always available in every household and it adds sophistication. Pieces of furniture that are made from stones include cupboards, beds, dressers, stone seats, shelves and limpet tanks.
- Classical world
During the 8th century BC, ancient furniture was excavated in Gordion, Turkey including serving stands and tables. Pieces of Ancient Egyptian furniture were also recovered from Queen Hetepheres tomb and other places for the deceased. During the 2nd millennium BC, the design of the Ancient Greek furniture started. Klismos chair and beds were preserved along with the Greek vases.
- Early Modern Europe
The pieces of furniture designed during the Middle Ages were usually made from oak that is why it is expected to be heavy. The carved and ornamented designs make the furniture distinctive. The Italian Renaissance also marked innovation in design and was inspired by the tradition of Greco-Roman and the renaissance of culture that happened in Northern Europe. The Baroque designs in the 17th century integrated profusion of scrolling and vegetal ornament. When the designs started to develop, some nations in Europe have distinctive styles such as the Louis Quinze that was popular in France and the Palladianism in Great Britain. In Western Europe, Neoclassicism and Rococo styles of furniture were perpetuated.
- 19th Century
The 19th century was considered to be the era of revival styles that include Gothic, Rococo, Neoclassicism and EastHaven Movement. The Arts and Crafts movement and the Aesthetic movement influenced the Art Nouveau.
- Early North American
The Early American designs of furniture emphasize the materials and form. It is notable that the tables and chairs designed in this period were constructed with chair backs and turned spindles. Likewise, steaming is employed in bending the wood. The woods that have been used are hardwoods like walnut and cherry.
The innovation in the designs of furniture occurred in the 20th century when the styles are more modern. The designers have worked having in mind the concept of modernism. Art Deco and Bauhaus emerged during the post WWII and the materials that have been used include fiberglass, plastics and laminated plywood. Some of the popular furniture designers during this period are Harry Bertola, George Nelson Associates, Paul McCobb, Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll and Harvey Probber. The Postmodern design became popular during the 1960’s to 80’s. The Transitional furniture has filled up the gap between the Traditional and Modern tastes.
In today’s modern world in which the environment is suffering from tremendous pollution, the governments and concerned individuals as well as companies have been manufacturing products that support higher sustainability called as ecodesign. The popularity of this design is increasing tremendously, thus it is commonly used in different places like restaurants, resorts and many others.
The Live edge is one example of the designs of post-modern furniture. It supports the return or the revival of the natural textures and shapes within the interior décor of a home.
- Asian History
The line of Asian furniture has distinct history particularly those influenced by the traditions of China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Pakistan. However, other countries like Mongolia, Korea and those in South East Asia have their own unique facets. The Chinese styles of furniture are commonly made from bamboo and wood as well as heavy lacquers. Yet, it is notable that the Chinese furniture differs from the successions of dynasty.
In addition, the traditional furniture of the Japanese shows minimalist style. The designers have been using wood and employ high-quality craftsmanship. The Tansu or the Japanese chests are known for intricate iron work. That is why most Japanese antiques are popular to buyers and collectors. The antiques are usually made during the Meiji era and Tokugawa era.
There are different types of furniture available and each type has its own function. Pieces of furniture are made and designed for bedroom, kitchen, living room, dining room and other places. If you are planning to purchase furniture it is important to choose the one that will work best and purposely. Likewise, furniture can be classified as vintage or antique.
Antique furniture is crafted out the wood and rarity, conditions, age as well as other unique features. Most pieces of antique furniture are considered as collectible thus having high price. Furniture that aged 100 years above is considered as antique. In addition, furniture designed during the Victorian era is deemed to be under the category of traditional furniture. Combining graceful and elaborate decoration as well as aesthetic embellishment makes the furniture more elegant.
There is also furniture that suits in tropical areas known as rustic furniture. This type of furniture is usually made from warm timber or soft material. Aside from the relaxing texture, rustic furniture features homely and warm look. On the contrary, the contemporary and modern type of furniture features combination of leather, vinyl, plastic, molded plywood and steel. Thus, displays stylish and sleek interiors.