When it comes to “modern design” there are plenty of people. Who like the thought of clean lines and bold shapes. But can’t get over the images in their heads of ’60s era “mods” and their uncomfortable looking furniture. The Austin Powers films, in successfully skewering many facets of the “swinging” 1960s, did so in a more subtle way with the groovy furnishings of the time (the spinning bed on Powers’ custom, shagadelic 747, anyone?)
Modern design has taken Leaps
Fortunately, modern design has taken many large leaps, both in accessibility and comfort, since then. Molded fiberglass chairs have been exchanged for comfortable seating that happens to have a distinctly modern look.
From Ikea to Target to Crate amp; Barrel, modern design has moved to the fore as part of the appeal of even the most discounted furnishings and decorative items.
What’s even better is that many of the designers of these new “modern” furnishings. Have taken significant hints from what people actually like to have in their homes. No longer (or at least not as much) are we subjected to something that’s stunning to look at but will leave you with cramps in your back.
Ergonomics are in. Just look at the Herman Miller Aeron desk chair. It combines ultra-modern design with comfort to woo the most vehement disbelievers. At $699 a pop, if you think the boss is the guy with the big leather chair, you’re wrong. It’s the guy sitting in an Aeron.
Ergonomics to Style
Patterns and luxurious materials have come improved, as well. Crate amp; Barrel is trumpeting its botanicals collection for this year, which includes a variety of leaf and floral patterns in dishware, furnishings, linens, and accessories. Modern design was notorious for ignoring the aspects (and shapes) of nearly everything found in nature, so including a plant motif is a step in a much softer direction.
Natural fibers are also a big part of the modern furniture, using primarily cotton weaves where early modern furniture insisted on “miracle” fabrics like itchy polyester or nylon.
You’re also less likely to find plastic as part of larger pieces. More than you did in the early days of modern. Now, designers realize that the warmth of wood and wood tones carries an appeal that transcends styles of décor. What we’re getting, as a result, is uniquely designed end and occasional tables. That take the groundbreaking shapes of modern and cast them in woods that make them not only more beautiful but more accessible to everyone.