The term “classic furnishings” means different things to different shoppers. For some, Marcel Breuer’s Wassily chair, created in 1925, is a classic. For others, its tubular steel and black leather are too severe or abstract for their tastes. These people might be happier with an overstuffed retro armchair, which is also considered a classic.
Classic Furnishings Span Many Eras and Styles
Art deco, Victorian, Queen Anne, Colonial … almost any style can be deemed classic furnishings as long as the pieces are superior in design and construction. In recent years, however, the term has begun to narrow, and often today when someone speaks of classic furnishings they mean furniture from the modernist era, from the mid-1920s to the early ’60s.
Such designers as Ray and Charles Eames, Eileen Gray, and Isamu Noguchi created works that stand the test of time. These works have recently gained widely in popularity, replacing the “shabby chic” of overstuffed, slipcovered furniture. Their spare, sleek aesthetic is the polar opposite of shabby chic and offers a fresh new look for any room.
When these classic modernist pieces first came out, they were wildly popular. This led to knock-offs and watered down designs that quickly devolved into kitsch. Browse the Web for modernist furniture, and it will soon become obvious that a Noguchi table bears small relation to an orange Formica boomerang table. With the large number of quality reproductions available today, it is easy to put together a room that looks contemporary, classic and elegant.