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What Design era are we in?

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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 08-18-2015 01:19 PM 1133 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CharlesA

3022 posts in 1262 days


08-18-2015 01:19 PM

Here’s my impression: furniture has gone through many design trends, everything from Federal to Shaker to Arts and Crafts. Not all the furniture made during any era was done in these styles, but the styles made a significant impact. My impression is that the last great design phase was mid-century modern, oddly enough enjoying a renaissance now. What i see now is kind of a designer’s choice period: folks make every style out there, and sometimes mix them up, but there is no cutting-edge dominant style out there.

Architecture seems in a similar place. New buildings at universities, for instance, combine features of old and new, but seem mostly marked by this combination of features than any particular design scheme.

Am I missing something? What do you see as the most interesting design trends going on?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson


29 replies so far

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JayT

4783 posts in 1676 days


#1 posted 08-18-2015 01:32 PM

Interesting question. Most often, it is much easier to identify and label those eras and design styles after the trend has passed to another phase.

The idea I see right now that is interesting to me is a focus on natural beauty. The current designs utilizing live edges and more free flowing design inspired by nature is different than most of what has gone on before. In a lot of cases, it requires designing around the material instead of making the material fit the design. In other iterations, it involves taking man made materials and using them to replicate a natural look.

Will it last long enough and make enough impact to ever truly be considered a trend? Only time will tell.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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CharlesA

3022 posts in 1262 days


#2 posted 08-18-2015 01:37 PM

On that theme, Jay, the use of sapwood is characteristic of our time, but i often see sapwood used in designs that are pretty similar to those in the past.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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JayT

4783 posts in 1676 days


#3 posted 08-18-2015 01:43 PM

Good point. I hadn’t thought of that, but it does fit with the natural theme. Allowing the beauty of the various aspects of the wood to shine through instead of cutting out the part that’s different to ensure a uniform color that makes the man-made part of the design be the focus.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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Richard H

489 posts in 1145 days


#4 posted 08-18-2015 01:48 PM

Around here the designer name furniture stores are still very much focused on “modern” pieces with sleek lines and lots of curves. As for what is sold predominately I would say it’s break down furniture that is designed to work fine until the first time you want to move it as long as you don’t stress it to much or get it wet.

I wonder if it has always been like this however? Will history remember the “style” of the day being what the wealthy “trend setters” had in their homes or what everyone else had? My bet would be for the former.

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mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#5 posted 08-18-2015 01:56 PM

I have a few designer followers on google+ and it is obvious to me that there is a significant variation in taste based on the regions in the country. The east coast seem to be more into “modern colonial” with more synthetic material used than natural. West and South tend to me more traditional with a touch of modern using natural more than synthetic. The next trend, whatever it maybe has to be introduced and determined by the younger generation to whom keeping up trends is important. Reclaimed, rescued, renewed, pallet, rotted, live edge, ant infested, and words like that are a part of the trend going on right now. I am not sure how long that is going to last.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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helluvawreck

23175 posts in 2331 days


#6 posted 08-18-2015 01:57 PM

I’m kind of thinking that anything goes right now. There are lot’s of new materials and tools that were not available 15 or 20 years ago. There seems to be a lot of experimenting going on. I surely don’t study this sort of thing nor even do I pay much attention to it. However, the fact that anything goes right now is sort of my two cents worth. Who knows what the period will be called when everybody looks back on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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CharlesA

3022 posts in 1262 days


#7 posted 08-18-2015 02:02 PM

So, would you agree that mid-century modern is the last distinctive style we’ve had in furniture, and that we’re in a kind of eclectic period were there is more variation in materials and in mixing previous styles?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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helluvawreck

23175 posts in 2331 days


#8 posted 08-18-2015 02:20 PM

Charles, I’m an engineering type not artist type. I don’t think that I’m qualified to give a reliable answer. I’m not without some artistic talent. However, I have a good many books on woodworking, have thumbed through quite a few woodworking magazines, and have certainly done my share of surfing on woodworking sites and so what I said is a quick gut answer or comment on your post. After having read my comment again I’m just going to stick with it. Sometimes a quick gut answer is the best answer you can give at certain times. That’s why they are called ‘my two cents worth’.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1178 days


#9 posted 08-18-2015 02:35 PM

Interesting question!

Seeing your own time from the outside has allways been difficult.
Here some trends that i have noted (more as a photographer than furnituremaker):

- In furniture and architecture there is a tendency to look a lot at how things look and perhaps overlook function a little. The whole, external shape gets a lot more attention than details. For items sold in webshops this is even more true and hence finish can be rather poor on othervice nice products.
- In architecture it is clear that what sells a building is the digitally rendered images made by the architect. But there is newer so much life/green/flowing water/brids/skaters and couples with happy children around in real life.
- In architecture these same renderings often dont show the neighbouring buildings making architecture “single statements” in sted of “a nice, thought throug place”
- In furniture the computer allso has a lot of influence. A lot of furniture obviously “looked great in CAD” and has a lot of strict geometric shapes that are easy to make in CAD.
- The use of CNC routers have expanded the use of complicated joints and what was traditionaly considered impractical or unsound joinery,
- CNC has allso brought options for free form and shapes not previously possible or practical. This, i think, is going to expand.

And the last, in my opinion most important sign of our times:
- The internet have obviously promoted a “international style” with all styles and all methods and all materials beeing options for producers at all places in the world eweryone influences each other and tend to make products that are more similar.

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1178 days


#10 posted 08-18-2015 02:43 PM

So, would you agree that mid-century modern is the last distinctive style we ve had in furniture, and that we re in a kind of eclectic period were there is more variation in materials and in mixing previous styles?

Well stricly there was Memphis in the 80ies that we now, in hindsight, try to forget..

But the last GREAT design tend sure is mcm!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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Daruc

459 posts in 597 days


#11 posted 08-18-2015 02:47 PM

West Coast, I’m seeing a lot of Contemporary Style.
I see a little more Shaker style going on than I have for a while, and as said above, with the new materials that are out I’m seeing a lot of modern looks.
The twist I have seen, is using the modern materials, on contemporary styles. Sideways grain and such.
I’m also seeing a mix of metals and wood with glass for modern effects, but not so much as anything to bring on an era of design.

Can’t say we’re in an eclectic era, although eclectic I think, is a fad that we’re going through.

-- -

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jmartel

6572 posts in 1615 days


#12 posted 08-18-2015 02:50 PM

I see mostly “Reclaimed” and “rustic” stuff. Not a fan. But I’m part of that younger generation that MrJinx is talking about.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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JoeinGa

7482 posts in 1472 days


#13 posted 08-18-2015 03:04 PM

“STYLE” is all according to the taste of the buyer now. I see people building Shaker furniture, some folks still doing that “industrial Era” stuff, and others using Chrome legs for big, slab type tables. I’m not too sure you could actually put a title on what’s happening now. Maybe “Eclectic” works? Because there’s things all over the map.

Remember when homes in the 50s were built, wood floors we all the rage. It was cheap and durable. Then the late 60s / early 70s came along and everyone just had to have that God-awful brown and gold SHAG CARPETING ! And here in the past few years folks are tearing out whatever carpeting they have and either refinishing what’s there or putting in new wood floors.

When I worked at the big orange box I had a guy come in one day and show me pictures of the custom wood floor he was putting in his daughters bedroom. He was cutting cheap 2X4s into 3” pieces and standing it on the endgrain. He came in to rent a floor sander. I tried to tell him that the pine was NOT going to last under that sander but he was determined to try. So I rented him the big, square flat sander, which is the least abrasive and he was happy with the outcome. I wonder how that pine is holding up, now 3 years later???

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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helluvawreck

23175 posts in 2331 days


#14 posted 08-18-2015 03:27 PM

I ran into an article the other day in a Fine Woodworking Magazine about casting all sorts of different kinds of materials. Somebody had done it for the hardware. I think it was for a box. Now that article really fascinated me and I went to the site about casting things for different purposes – not just woodworking. Now that could lead to all kinds of new looks and I’m determined to learn some more about it. However, that’s the whole point. People everywhere are doing so much experimenting with new materials and new techniques and processes that there’s no telling what we’re going to end up with coming out of small shops. 15 years ago who would have ever saw 3d printers coming along as quick as they are? What will those be used for in a few years? And what will the cost of them drop to in a few more years?

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#15 posted 08-18-2015 03:55 PM

A lady came to my studio and couldn’t decide between this:

And this:

She finally chose the first one for $80 less than the table. It blew my mind as I had told my wife, “no one will pay that kind of money for that”. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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