In the busy world of today, it is not often that we have the time to stop and think about the little details that surround us.
We tend to rush past historic sites without even noticing them, rely on technology without ever stopping to think about how it works and how much it has changed our world.
There are things so common in our lives that it is hard to imagine that they have their own history, a collection of stories.
Furniture is an integral part of our everyday lives, in the workplace, cafés and restaurants and in our homes. The common forms, shapes and materials hint at the existence of some shared traits of contemporary furniture which often goes unnoticed.
But what is the story behind them? What shaped the furniture we all know and love today?
The Early History of Furniture
Many archaeologists and historians have argued that the practice of using suitable natural objects as rudimentary furniture pieces is probably as old as the human civilization, but there is concrete archaeological evidence proving that people were producing simple chairs, stools and tables as early as third millennium BC.
After the Renaissance
The early Middle Ages are marked by a somewhat unexpected lack of evidence of furniture usage, in a striking contrast to antiquity.
Despite this, there are certain historical documents which seem to show that the core design ideas remained the same as in the previous era, with elaborated pieces, simple and rudimentary by modern standards, being reserved for the nobility and clergy, and simpler ones, such as stools, for common folk.
From Bauhaus to Modernism
After the Baroque age, Europe rushed through different artistic and stylistic movements such as Rococo, Neoclassicism and Art Nouveau which all left its mark on the history of furniture design in one way or another.
However, it was the Bauhaus movement that originated in Germany during the first decade of the 20th century that played the most crucial role. Its unparalleled influence stemmed from the idea of creating “a total work of art” and bringing all the art forms together into one.
This line of thought allowed Bauhaus to affect a vast variety of different creative domains, including applied arts, architecture and furniture design.