Defining the Contemporary Style in Interior Design

   |   In Contemporary Design Techniques, Designer Spotlight   |   19 September 2013, 06.00   |   comments: 0

At Lawrance, we like to call ourselves a “contemporary” furniture store. Just what, exactly, does that mean? Is “modern” the same as contemporary? It may seem as if the difference is purely semantic, but there is actually a distinct modern style as opposed to contemporary. Here’s our take on what the term “contemporary style” means.

Modern or Mid-Century Modern?

Most styles are defined by not only the era in which they became popular, but by the iconic designers of the period.

There really is no new modern today because it is defined by designs of past eras and considered retro. Modern furniture really refers to pieces designed in not-so-modern times, anywhere from the 1920s to the 1970s (depending on who you ask!). Although many people use the term “modern” to refer to contemporary furnishings, it denotes pieces of mid-century modern design. Mid-century modern describes furnishings, architecture and accessories created primarily post WWII, although Bauhaus emerged in the 1920s.

This design style is characterized by clean lines, curves and geometric shapes. Much of the inspiration for iconic designers such as the Eames, Eero Saarinen and Herman Miller came from natural, organic shapes with an emphasis on utility, multi-functionality and minimalism.

Contemporary Design

Contemporary design, on the other hand, is still evolving. It’s the opposite of traditional and stresses functionally good design presented in a sleek, often free-form, less-is-more profile. Line and form are important in contemporary design, which encompasses a very broad category of furnishings. Straight lines, severe angles and juxtaposed planes are at home with sensuous curves via spheres and circles. Ornate embellishments and busy prints, however, are out of place.

Often modern and contemporary design are confused because they share many of the same characteristics. In fact, since Mad Men debuted to rave reviews on TV, there has been a resurgent interest in mid-century modern and many contemporary designers have mimicked this style in recent years. Today’s most famous contemporary designers include Giorgio Cattelan, Milo Baughman (who died in 2003 but passed on his brilliant design philosophy to the Thayer Coggin company) and Rick Lee.

What You Will Find at Lawrance Furniture

Because we are an independent retailer, we aren’t constrained by any specific type of furniture design. Our approach to finding the furnishings offered in our showrooms is based on owner Howard Haimsohn’s personal taste; fortunately he has great taste and a wonderful sense of style! We like to kid him about being hung up on the smallest details and a perfectionist when it comes to offering only furnishings of the best design but that’s the perfect formula for offering pieces you will be excited to add to your own home or office.

At Lawrance, our contemporary furnishings are not selected based on price or salability. We know you can find mass-produced pieces at a reasonable price at places like Ikea. Our specialty is finding brilliant design trends that stand the test of time and custom pieces that are exactly right for your home or office décor. We have customers who tell us things like, “Remember that sofa we bought here 15 years ago? We still love it! It’s held up so well.”

That’s the type of contemporary furnishings you’ll find here – a rather eclectic mix of great design, high quality and distinctive style. If that sounds good to you, then we invite you to stop by either one of our showrooms and find the furniture you’ll love to live with for years to come.

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