A SHORT HISTORY OF FURNITURE DESIGN
When it comes to furniture design, it's no exaggeration to say we stand upon the reclining armchairs of giants. While impossible to enumerate every single influence of design history on today's furniture styles from Ancient Greek furniture to Ancient Egyptian furniture to Gothic medieval furniture to Roman, we can still trace our way back to some solid inspirations. From the traditional to the ultramodern design styles, here are several of Whom's most iconic pieces and the styles to which they pay homage.
Traditional. “Traditional” is an umbrella term used to represent a number of older, more ornate styles such as Queen Anne, Renaissance, 18th century, 19th century, Victorian, Chippendale and Sheraton. Whom indulges this aesthetic with the Idealist sofa. It is our version of a tuxedo sofa, which is itself a variation on the classic English Chesterfield, characterized by rolled, as opposed to straight, arms. The signature trait of this sofa is the equal arm and back height which gives it a more formal appearance, along with its beautiful, buttoned-up diamond tufting.
Turn of the century. Like Art Nouveau, Art Deco and other “arts and crafts” movements of the early 1900s, the furniture of Gustav Stickley and the American Craftsman style has seen a major comeback in recent years. Its uncomplicated, practical interior designs are nostalgic for a bygone, pre-industrial era that showcases the woodworking of individual builders. Whom’s Loyalist table is a beautiful example of Craftsman-inspired furniture, highlighting the quality of the wood grain and simplicity in form and function.
Modern. Whether you’re a diehard Eames chair fan or you think Bauhaus is a goth band from the ‘80s, chances are you’re familiar with modern furniture. While much of Whom’s collection incorporates the clean lines and minimalist elements that characterize the modern movement, in some cases, we make a bolder statement. Taking a hint from one of the most famous chairs of the mid-20th century, the classic Barcelona chair by Miles van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, Whom chose to incorporate a gently reclined seat and classic diamond tufting into its Sovereign accent chair. A nod to the greats.
Geometric. Having played a role from ancient art to post modernism, geometric shapes continue to take center stage in contemporary design, with ovals, triangles and squares finding their way into home decor for their pleasing aesthetic and functional simplicity. Whom’s triangular Futurist mirror is equal parts trendiness and historical legacy.
Transitional. Transitional style blends the best of contemporary and traditional design with clean lines, rich fabrics and a marriage of old and new, masculine and feminine. Sophisticated and elegant, this style is best for those who want a classy look, without the harsh or cold impression that some ultra-modern, sleek pieces of furniture can give with overly neutral new materials. Whom’s Activist sofa is a great example of the transitional style — a mix of plush, traditional comfort with a hint of edginess in its triangular accent arms. The low back gives it a more put-together look without sacrificing coziness.
Which pieces are your favorite? Is it pre-world war American furniture upholstery that catches your eye, or perhaps your style strays away from New York mid-century modern design and moves toward Italian renaissance furniture or French furniture with a lot of ornamentation that focuses on decorative arts? Wherever your tastes may take you around the globe, remember that inspiration from your favorite furniture designer is often closer than you think!