Two chairs with similar styling are as different as black and white, one is modern and one is contemporary. Modern and contemporary are often used interchangeably to describe sleek new furniture, products and interiors. While the overall look may be similar, modern and contemporary designs are very different things.
Modernism in architecture and design developed during the industrial revolution. By the 1920’s, modern design philosophies were well on their way to becoming accepted internationally with the new look of buildings, products and machines by forward thinking architects and industrial designers. Fine arts and fashion also influenced the way we viewed art and ourselves in the new and modern world. Modernism is a period of time from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. The black chair designed by Architect Eero Saarinen transformed seating into a fluid, sculptural form with his groundbreaking 1957collection for modern furniture manufacturer Knoll. His designs soon became classics that are still produced and coveted as either vintage or new for interior design projects today.
Contemporary design is of the moment, what are trending, what is new and now. If the design is strong enough to develop a following, contemporary architecture, products and machines become our new classic designs. Good contemporary design can change the way that we look at things. The outstanding forward looking designs and easy to use “Apple” products have set high standards for product design that others soon follow. The “Tom Vac” chair (in white) is by German furniture manufacturer VITRA. The 1999 design is a product by industrial designer Ron Arad. The elegant and comfortable plastic seat shell offers comfort both indoors and out. Special additives to the plastic and a powder coated base make the chair suitable for a patio or garden, it can also be stacked for storage. Ron Arad’s work is represented in the permanent collections of many museums around the world.
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