Good Questions: What is the Difference?

Good Questions: What is the Difference?

Maxwell Ryan
Oct 14, 2004

Dear AT,
What really is the difference between modern and contemporary design? Thanks, Jeremy

This is not a dumb question. As we have been creating categories in our Stores Guide for furniture styles, we have realized that the lines are very loosely drawn around all the terms that we use to refer to furniture.

"Contemporary" is particularly vague, and we would like to hear what others say. We see it as everything current that isn't any other style. It veers between traditional whimsy and modern cleanliness without fear of being called spineless.

Modern is more specific (but large), and refers to the design movement that came out of the Bauhaus Movement (Germany) just before WWII. It was inspired by new, machine based ways of manufacturing, and was meant to be affordable and democratic, sleek and clean, with no decoration. It is based on straight lines and minimal curves. It has had a number of incarnations, including Mid-Century Modern, and now European Modern ie. Philip Starck et al. At the risk of being boring, I'll stop. Anyone else? MGR

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