New Past Century

September 05, 2017 | Article from Katrin de Louw

The last century was enormously dynamic as far as society, the economy and technology was concerned. This resulted in unparalleled and very specific lifestyles and, ultimately, designs for architecture and furnishings.

T he early creators such as Gropius, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe are revered for their revolutionary ideas and the lasting value of their designs. To this day, we continue to search for precisely these enduring design languages. We want to make our homes timeless again, with old and new classics but without sacrificing the spirit of the modern world. We are particularly taken with the design language used in the middle of the last century, with its high-quality materials such as brass and lively structured walnut, and the accompanying soft shapes and rounded edges on slanted and delicate wooden feet.

Also important are the positive memories from this period, such as the good feelings associated with the economic upswing and the new beginnings of the 1950s. Wallpaper, textiles and carpets emphasize this cosy sense of well-being with new graphic motifs or traditional patterns such as stripes, checks and houndstooth. We have enquiring, open minds and choose colour schemes of classic dark blues and greys. In this approach to furnishings, décor comes back to the fore – in everything from hand-decorated ceramics and veneer inlays, to handles and embellishments. Forms and surfaces are demurely elegant rather than fashionable. That said, intelligent technology can absolutely have a place in this style of furniture. These modern and convenient functionalities preserve the furniture’s value by being subtly and, as far as possible, invisibly integrated into the design.

The later decades of the 20th century will also feature in the lifestyles of the coming years. However, they will not have the same significance as the mid-century modern described above, which is also popular among younger people. Black from the 1980s is the only thing that will experience a huge trend-driven boost. We’ll see it in a variety of shades on elements such as metal and handles, and in luminaire design.