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Some of the best furniture across the globe may be found in the corner antique store or neighborhood yard sale. It may be handed down through the years from one family member to the next. In general, furniture that lasts long enough to be resold or become an heirloom will be very well constructed. Either that, or it has seen limited use through the decades. Here is what you may find when you start looking at some great furniture.
Design of the Best Furniture
Design varies from era to era. You have the straight lines delicately turned spindles of the Federal Period, and the intricate carvings and gold leaf of furniture from the Rococo era. The design of furniture serves basically two functions.
The first function is that of furniture. Does the piece do what it is supposed to do? For example, in the 1800s, women wore corsets. Chairs made during that time had straight backs and sides so that the woman could have some kind of support when she sat. Those same furnishings are stiff and unyielding to today’s consumers, but still highly prized as antiques. There are many functions of modern furniture, things like hifi cabinets and TV stands all have their place in the home.
The other main function of furniture is to make an artistic or craftsman’s statement. Bentwood rockers were extremely popular at one time, simply because it was hard to bend wood. But designer furnishing may go further with the inclusion of unusual building materials and asymmetrical lines. Furniture will go from the graceful curves and delicate turns of Duncan-Fyfe to the straight, almost severe lines of Le Corbusier.
You will find rare woods with warm grains and deep stains, or a seemingly odd assortment molded plastic, chrome, and glass.
Construction and Materials
Some things that fine furniture of every era share are craftsmanship and quality materials. Craftsmanship is a rare commodity in today’s world of mass production and cheap labor. But the best furniture across the globe has been crafted with skill and intelligence. An Eames chair, for instance, is made out of durable, lightweight fiberglass rather than rubberized plastic. Well crafted legs made the spindly-legged design work, as did quality materials that did not break down with use. This 1950s modernistic design inspired manufacturing for decades. You could find “knock-off” chairs made with cheaper materials everywhere. In fact, a similar design is used in school chairs to this day, because of the ergonomics and sturdy structure.
Famous Furniture Designers
There are other famous furniture designers. Eero Saarinen, an architect who designed the famous St., Louis Arch, also designed furniture in the 1950s. The Tulip Table is one of his famous creations.
Jean Prouve was also an architect who designed furniture. His creations were formed of steel and leather, and are much sought after.
One of the biggest furniture designers in the U.S. was Paul McCobb. His futuristic, minimalist, and angular designs made his Planner Group furniture wildly popular.
Regardless of the era or designer, the best furniture is that that pleases your eye and makes you feel comfortable. An eclectic mix of styles may be just what the designer ordered.