Dogs have their dog houses. Birds have their nests. Humans, since the dawn of time, have had their living spaces. Furniture has been a staple of human living since the dawn of time, (even the ancient Egyptians had tables), and speaks to our instinct to organize the world around us into functional hierarchies. Historically furniture has also been used to delineate human hierarchy, not just the hierarchy of goods. Chairs, for instance, were costly status symbols as recent as 200 years ago, meaning they were only affordable to the rich and powerful. Thus evolved the word “chairman” as a metonymy for boss or leader that has carried over into the modern world, even though you’ll be hard pressed to find an office today without at least a dozen office chairs abounding.
We have moved past the point as a society where chairs and other furnishings are rare, but this doesn’t mean furniture is any less full of unspoken social meaning. Like clothing fashion, furniture fashion follows trends, and we are smack dab in the middle of a roaring modern furniture trend.
What Qualifies As Modern Style Furniture?
Modern style furniture is often characterized by a minimal, funky design aesthetic. Whereas classical furniture designs (think every chair or couch you see on Game of Thrones), are ornately patterned, bulky, and made of lux materials like mahogany silk and brocade, modern designs are stripped down and slightly askew. Lines are clean-maybe even curved or unsettling somehow. Colors are neutral or in-your-face solids. Materials vary and can be expensive, but they are expensive for their quality and durability, and not their intricate bead work or design elements.
Sounds Weird. Why Do People Like Modern Style Furniture So Much?
There are many theories ranging from haute couture artistic to the anthropological–my guess is that modern furniture designers understand today’s culture. America is more than ever an individualistic society that rewards people for pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and seeking their own fortunes. Whereas historically furniture was used to show off wealth, today modern home furniture is used to accentuate the best home accesory: the self. We are the stripped down, ambitious, coffee-fueled, always-connected generation of innovators. Modern style furniture doesn’t say “look at me.” Modern style furniture says “look at them. They’re the ones with the big ideas. I’m just a chair.”
Ok, That Sounds Like A “House Of Cards” Script, I’m Convinced. Where Can I Buy Modern Furniture?
You can literally type that question into Google and get hundreds of results for perfectly dandy modern furniture stores. In fact, I recommend it. But I also encourage you to think outside the box, and look in unexpected places for your modern furniture needs. Follow that feeling I described above. Ask yourself, as you stare at the egg couch or the table with the weird, wabi-sabi boarders, “does this make me the statement piece of my home?” If the answer is yes, then it’s as modern as modern gets, and more importantly, it’s your definition of modern.
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