Modernist design became extremely popular in the 1950s and has remained one of the most copied architectural styles to this day. Horizontal roofs, floor to ceiling windows and feature walls of wood and stone define the houses of this period. If this doesn’t sound like your current abode, fear not – you can still capture the essence of Modernist interior design with a few signature pieces that will convey this cool and classy look. The sleek lines and minimal décor make Modernist furniture and homewares an excellent choice for contemporary houses.
On the Straight and Narrow
Modernist furniture was designed with simplicity and functionality in mind, which just happens to be the perfect combination for today’s lifestyle. The key elements are straight lines and smooth curves - Modernist furniture can be identified through low-line couches and signature sofa chairs with curved arms and backs, or an angled structure, which gives them a streamlined appearance. Although the vintage Eames, Noguchi and Parker Knoll pieces are beyond most individuals’ budgets, the quality reproductions available today are a fabulous alternative at a fraction of the price.
When thinking of soft furnishings to complement your modernist furniture, bold and graphic sits perfectly alongside this style. Strong geometric patterns and abstract designs help to enhance the simplicity of the structured furniture whilst creating a visually exciting living area. A good dose of bright colours are a fabulous choice for rugs, cushions and throws. Or you could capture the geometric richness in muted tones, which also complement the natural walnut and teak woods often used in modernist interior design.
Accent on Art
Choosing art for display can be a time-consuming endeavour, but if you are into modernist interior design, chances are you will be drawn to more abstract pieces and sculptural vases and ornaments. Again, strong blocks of colour work brilliantly either in monochrome or bright hues. Even practical homewares get an artistic and sophisticated makeover - clean lines in decorative wall clocks, light fittings and lamps are essential.
Although a good portion of modernist furniture uses synthetic materials such as vinyl and rubber, there is a definite preference for woods and metals as well as wool and other natural fibres. Think of teak sideboards and steel-framed chairs, glass-topped tables and coloured glass vases alongside boldly coloured wool rugs and ottomans.
Get the look…
• Choose furniture with straight lines, smooth curves and angled legs to get this architectural, streamlined look. The range of reproduction furniture in a modernist style is a fraction of the price of original pieces.
• With soft furnishings, geometric patterns in bold colours or a more muted or monochromatic palette work brilliantly.
• Abstract art is a natural choice for this style. Functional homewares such as clocks and lamps also tend to have architectural and artistic merit with their clean lines and reflective natural materials and bright colours. Think bold for vases and other ornaments.
• With the exception of some synthetic materials, the emphasis is on natural wood and metal for furniture and wool and other natural fibres for soft furnishings and textiles.
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Katie Evans - Milan Direct