All about the furniture
Known as an itinerant object for domestic use, furniture has existed since the beginning of human history, even if at the time it consisted only of a rock or a tree trunk. It has evolved over time, as have its design principles and techniques. Nevertheless, the objective is unique, it is to have furniture more practical, aesthetic and original. From the prehistoric era to the contemporary era, the history of furniture styles is marked by stages where technology has taken a major part to go ever further in the creation of furniture. Discover in this section the evolutions of the styles of furniture and materials used as well as the striking parameters of each era.
Dedicated constantly to offering comfort to their users, furniture comes in different forms. In Neolithic times, they were made of stone, due to the shortage of wood in Orkney, whose remains were discovered in an archaeological site dating from 3100 - 2500 BC in the heart of the town of Skara Brae in Scotland. There are leftovers of chests of drawers, beds, buffets, shelves or even chest.
Types of furnishings of Antiquity
In ancient times, furniture was very varied. They are characterized by their Cartesian and slightly angular aspects. Egyptians already specialize in turning and bending to create different objects. As such, chairs and stools have animal-shaped legs, beds, buffets or tables can be ornamented or painted.
Among the furniture styles of antiquity, there is the ancient Greek design, which appeared in the 2nd millennium BC, including the famous chair of Klismos. It is characterized by the structure made of wood such as maple, yew, willow, oak, metal or stone and metal. The wooden parts are assembled with tenons, mortises and dowels. They are dressed in ivory, tortoise shell, gold, glass or other precious materials to have rich and elegant objects. Very influenced by the designs of ancient Egypt, this style is defined at first by its rectangular and unorganic forms. But evolution in the 4th and 5th centuries gave rise to less square and more curved gaits, marking the ancient Greek style itself.
The Roman furniture (dated from -600 to 450 approximately) adopt, moreover, the Greek designs as for their aspects and Etruscan for the integration of bronze technology.
Medieval furniture is the most allegorical in history. They appear at a time when there are many changes in all points of view (art, architecture, politics...). Different styles became known throughout the period.
Furniture of the Middle Ages
The most classic types of furniture of the Middle Ages are buffets, tables and chairs. They represent a very particular style, both rustic and austere, reflecting the medieval period. These furniture are characterized by its solid wood structures, carved for chairs, and canopy beds. Generally, they show square or rectangular shapes with very few lines of curves or circles.
The style of Romanesque art furniture
The Romanesque period is an interesting period in terms of furniture style. At these times, furniture is rarely made of exposed wood, but most of it has taken up the basic codes. In the beginning, Roman columns, vaults and capitals were the main works of art. Their decoration is limited only to the sheathing in leather and painted canvas.
To reinforce furniture, curvilinear hinges made of wrought iron, tenons and mortises come into play and gradually become their important decorative elements.
Moreover, Romanesque furniture favours aesthetics over domestic comfort.
The style of Gothic art
Gothic art succeeded Romanesque art and made notable improvements in furnishings. Furniture at that time was still massive, solid and austere. They are generally rectilinear, the curves are only dedicated to certain types of seats. In terms of decoration, these pieces of furniture are dressed by fine sculptures, which give them more elegance, which makes them inaccessible to everyone. They are reserved for the master of the house or distinguished guests.
Renaissance style furniture
The Renaissance period did mark a revolution in the arts, sciences and other fields. Furniture design has also been affected by this change since the Italian Renaissance of the 14th and 15th centuries. Very different from what we saw in the Middle Ages, the styles of this period borrow certain codes of ancient architecture such as the pediment, the entablature, the column, the pilaster, the arcade,... Characterized by opulence, the ornamental motifs are very varied, often gilded by taking again the abundance of floral and vegetable decoration. In the 14th century, marquetry burst in. As for the upholstery, the hard natural wood surfaces of the seats are padded with felt, covered with leather, fine fabric or tapestry, then stretched with straps. These types of furniture are mainly intended to enhance the know-how and skills of craftsmen and cabinetmakers working in this field.
Common Renaissance furniture includes chests, tables, clocks, dresser and cabinet. But there is also the chair with high back, the armchair, the sedia dantesca or armchair in X, the sedia savonarola or armchair in pliers...
The Jacobin era was a stage of the English Renaissance. In terms of furnishings, some changes have appeared including the creation of a style less ornamented and less noisy. Furniture profiles are made tighter and more rectangular. The spiral shapes of the table legs have become straighter and narrower, but they often end in a ball. Most of the works are in solid oak, and the most luxurious of the style are decorated with mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell and bone.
Colonial style furniture
As its name suggests, it is a style of furniture invented during the colonial period. The first furniture of the period dates back to the 17th century, incorporating exotic woods (mahogany, bamboo, courbaril, mahogany, rosewood, teak). They were created by the first immigrants to the United States. These pieces are generally solid and well filled with engravings and sculptures. They favour above all the functional and comfortable side. Colonial furniture models include column beds, planter chairs, safari chairs, rocking chairs and colonial buffets. But the oldest is a chest made by Nicholas Disbrowe in the 1660s.
This is the style that corresponds to the Louis XIV kingdom. The absolute empire of Louis XIV (1661 - 1715) also affected the field of furniture, where the king deposited his signature. Inspired by antiquity, the classic style is one of its characteristics. It marks the beginning of the French furniture style. Classic, Louis XIV style furniture is created with oak, solid wood or perfect as a support for inlaid decorations. Some simpler models adopt natural wood or blackened wood. Marquetry can be presented as veneer, but there is also Boulle marquetry, tortoiseshell and brass. In order to enhance the design of the furniture, they are dressed in gilded and carved bronzes.
Originality and unique design describe the baroque furniture in a few words. They are made of solid wood with an ornamentation of ostentatious sculptures. Originally from Rome, but which developed in the 16th century, this idiom particularly touches sculpture, painting, music, architecture and also furniture. It marks a certain religious tension of the time, which explains the presence of this style in several religious buildings and royal palaces. Baroque furniture is often richly decorated with gold and sculptures.
Various pieces of furniture mark the Baroque style. They are made of oak, walnut, chestnut and ebony. Some types, such as cabinets and chests, are decorated with inlaid wood panels. Baroque furniture is easily recognizable by its slightly curved legs and feet. They have voluptuous appearances, large volumes, and colossal sculptures to make dramatic effects. The armchairs and seats are upholstered with natural materials and foams, then covered with fabric or leather, always revealing the wood. Thanks to their rich and massive details, baroque furniture offers luxury and elegance.
Regence, Rococo and Rocaille style furniture
Over time, other furniture styles have appeared, including the Regency, Rococo and Rococo styles.
The Regency style is the transition period between the Louis XIV and Louis XV styles, from 1715 to 1730, when the aristocrats close to the court were seeking intimacy and refinement. Regency furniture is mainly made from solid and precious woods such as beech, oak, walnut, fir, poplar, blackened pearwood; exotic, African and Asian woods imported by the Indian company. As ornamentation, they include marquetry, veneer, leaf gilding and gilded bronzes. The decorative motifs are composed of backgrounds, human, animal, plant and exotic motifs as well as Boulle marquetry geometric motifs.
The rococo furniture style in Germany
Developed from 1715 to 1780, the rococo is a European artistic movement of the eighteenth century, which concerns various fields including music, architecture, decorative arts, sculpture and painting. Adopted by German Catholics, he enthusiastically settled in religious and important buildings, including churches, manors and palaces. Furniture of this style was used at the time as a symbol of the owner's fortune. They are characterized by the use of painted wood with a golden finish, light shades, lines of curvature and asymmetrical reminiscent of scrolls of shells or foliage, patterns of flowers or leaves.
The Louis XV or Rocaille style
Towards the middle of the 18th century, the Louis XV or Rocaille style appeared. It is a characteristic model of seats, which subsequently influenced all the arts of its time. Described as Dionysian, this style marks an important stage in the evolution of seat manufacturing technique and a real work of cabinetmakers. It consists in the perfect control of the wood assembly and resistance processes, which offers the possibility of eliminating the spacers which seem very heavy to change them with lighter structures. The abundance of curves and patterns (shell, foliage or garlands), this style draws some of its inspiration from nature.stands out, as do the curved feet. Rococo furniture is made with solid woods such as oak, beech, walnut, cherry, and mahogany. Today, models of this style can still be found in the Palace of Versailles. In our shop you can find a cheap Louis XV style chest of drawers from our large collection of bedroom furniture.
This style appeared with the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 1748, which provoked a new classical wave. It is defined by the desire to return to the sources of art. He prints several decorative styles from the late eighteenth century. There is the style of transition between rococo and neoclassical or Louis XVI style (1774 to 1785), which is more sober than Louis XV style and minimizes gilding. Among the emblematic Louis XVI chairs are those with a straight backrest, a medallion backrest or a hot-air balloon backrest, all with fluted legs. There is also the famous shepherdess, tables, pedestal tables, cupboards and chests of drawers... These pieces of furniture are characterized by their straight and geometric lines.
Next come the Adam style, the Etruscan style and the Directoire style. The Etruscan style is inspired by the eponymous art, which emphasizes fine colors, and marks the beginning of the use of bronzes. As for the Directory style, it is defined by the shape of its furniture, with ornamental elements inspired by ancient Egypt.
From 1804 to 1815, the Empire style was very fashionable and developed under the reign of Napoleon I. It is characterized by a more warlike aesthetic thanks to the patterns, and more simplified gaits until abstraction. The materials used are bronze and wood.
The Eclecticism Style
The eclectic style combines different inspired decorative motifs with furniture of different styles. It appeared in the West around 1850, of which the most recognized models are the Napoleon III or the Second Empire.
Under Napoleon III, fashionable furniture was buffet, shop window, pedestal table, office furniture (secretary)... This style was a great success with the French bourgeoisie between 1860 and 1880. Designed with a taste for luxury and elegance, it privileges opulence and polychromy. The abundance of decorative elements is quite remarkable, often even in relief and very refined.
At the end of the Second World War, the modern style made its entrance. It is easily recognized by the types of materials used, such as plastic, laminated plywood and fiberglass. On the furniture side, the various ornamentations of the ancient period are gradually disappearing, such as gilding, wood carvings and patterned fabrics. They give way to new and simpler decorative elements, particularly in metal.
Born at the end of the 19th century in Paris, the Art Nouveau style is based above all on the beauty of its curved lines. Strongly impacted by the lithographs of the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, the furniture in this style uses lines and curves as graphic ornamentation. To benefit from the solid and thin structures, iron and wood are part of the materials involved. This style has revived craftsmanship by highlighting the works of artists and using certain traditional techniques.
The Bauhaus style
From the 20th century onwards, furniture styles became more and more diversified. This may be due to the presence of a wider range of materials and the evolution of manufacturing techniques. In the first three quarters of the 20th century alone there were the styles Art Deco, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Wiener Werkstatte and Vienna. The Bauhaus style is a modernist design from the Bauhaus School, founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar (Germany) in 1919.
Art Deco design
Born in Paris in the years 1920, the Art Deco style has brought elegance, glamour, functionality and above all modernity to furniture. Unlike the art nouveau, it puts in vogue more the symmetry and the lines of the style art deco. However, he did not keep his reputation for long.