There is an amusing idea here in the UK that after spending some time together, pets and their owners begin to resemble one another. In my mind, the same saying can be used when talking about people personalities and their home decor. There are so many wonderfully diverse styles of furniture, and just like us human beings, styles can be trendy or old-fashioned, spiritual or derisive, ceremonial or informal, stylish or shabby.
As with painters or sculptors, handmade furniture makers, carpenters, and wood carvers are artists who incorporate their personality in their creations. When we buy an item of furniture, we often lean towards a design or style because something in what the creator wanted to impart, speaks to us too.
Here we`ll look at some furniture styles – see if you see yourself in your preferred type!
Baroque and Rococo
The Baroque style of art, furniture, and architecture arrived in Europe in the 17th century and was synonymous with excess. An abundance of gold, glitter, and ornamentation including curves, mouldings and overstated swoops and entwined Greek-style columns were used to inspire awe. Baroque is a very masculine style but later tended to lean towards more feminine designs in the18th-century adaptation known as Rococo.
Baroque demands attention. Its character is too extreme to be truly delightful, but due to its excess it at first appears important. Baroque is loud, must be the centre of attention at gatherings, and will never look comfortably dressed. Due to outrageousness, Baroque and even his more graceful and tranquil partner Rococo will often get talked about behind their backs and may not be overly popular.
Henri Van de Velde (1863-1957) and Louis Marjorelle (1859-1926) were perhaps the most notable artists of the Art Nouveau décor trend. Art Nouveau pieces replicate the fluid and effortless lines of nature. Some Art Nouveau furnishings are so flowing they almost appear to be alive. Graceful long curves, elegant tendrils, and sinuous lines are characteristics of this graceful style.
Art Nouveau is a poetic and loves to daydream. This type of person enjoys the beautiful things in life, and always sees beauty in others. Art Nouveau is never argumentative or unkind but prefers to enjoy life as it is and be enjoyed.
Image credit: http://asfancy.com/art-nouveau-furniture
There is a lot of Gothic style furniture in antique stores across the UK which is mostly from the Gothic revival period of the early 1800s. It is reminiscent of the Gothic designs found in ancient Roman times. The style was resurrected in France, around the 12th century. It has its basis in religion, and was exhibited in furniture design, building structure, art, jewellery and even everyday items such as kitchen ware.
Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was an English architect who reintroduced Gothic style buildings in the UK in the 1800s. His crowning glory was the redesign of the interior of the Palace of Westminster and the Elizabeth Tower, more commonly known as the iconic Big Ben. Mr. Pugin passionately believed that Gothic style was the only style permissible to use to display Christianity in architecture. As the gothic style grew in popularity, Pugin introduced gothic furnishings for homes and workplaces.
Gothic style is tough and robust, opinionated, but at the same time regal. It’s stubborn, strong and ages extremely well. At times, Gothic can be a little overwhelming and even scary.
Image credit: http://www.antiq.com/search/9-gothic-furniture
Art Deco (Modern) Style
This famous (or infamous) architecture and furniture style was the hippy movement of its time. Style, as opposed to substance, was the key component of the Modern movement. Mass production of furniture by churned out by factories became wildly popular in the 1920s and 1930s. The trademark of Art Deco furniture is geometric angles. As it developed between two World Wars, at the time it was an innovative and fresh style and is still appreciated and used today.
Art Deco furniture is fun and a free minded spirit, albeit in a somewhat old-fashioned kind of way. Art Deco likes to take on tradition and for things to be done his way. Art Deco likes to surprise, and even shock, but does not intend to cause harm.
Deconstructionism furniture design is just as it sounds – a deconstruction of traditional designs, that always demands a second look. In furniture design, form is generally expected to follow function, but not with Deconstructionism. A chair may not look anything like a chair, you must work out it’s intended use.
Deconstructionism is bold, experimental and changeable. Not always appearing as it really is, Deconstructionism wants to shake up the way the conformist world thinks, but underneath is steady and robust. place. Like the older Art Deco, at heart, Deconstructionism just wants to play and have a bit of fun.
Image credit: http://libreinkdesign.blogspot.com
Have you recognised yourself? If you are under a certain age, probably not, as with the exception of Deconstructionism, these are older styles that do not usually appeal to the young. In a future post, we’ll look at some of the more modern trends – I am sure you’ll find your personality somewhere!