Have you ever been to a furniture museum? If yes, you surely noticed how people’s perception of luxury have been changing over time. No wonder: fashion is changeable. What is seen as chic today will look old-fashioned tomorrow and ridiculous the day after tomorrow. Furniture stays in vogue a bit longer than clothes but sooner or later becomes out-of-date. But there are a couple of characteristics that all luxury furniture items of all periods have in common. The first one definitely is the top quality of materials and unsurpassed craftsmanship.
As for the second feature… If we take a close look on how styles of, say, Italian luxury furniture, changed through centuries, from Gothic Period, which dates back to the Middle Ages, up to Art Deco period, which belongs to XX century, we will notice what all this furniture has in common. It is perfect design – although this word wasn’t in use in this sense when those masterpieces were created. For general public it means that all these items look beautiful, in spite of the fact that they went out of fashion many decades or centuries ago.
Why it is so? Harmony and Integrity are the key words here. When we look at a piece of antique furniture of any style – be it Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical style, Late Neoclassicism, Ottocento style, or Moderne – we have some indefinable feeling of harmony. Having a look at a really luxury contemporary furniture evokes the same feeling.
Present-day Italian luxury furniture: Excellent Design, Quality Materials, Best Craftsmanship
Let’s browse some collection of contemporary Italian furniture that is considered really chic – for example, that from Bellavista Collection. The feeling of harmony remains the same as if we look at period furniture. At first sight it might even seem strange, because design of most modern furniture is modest, even minimalistic, especially if compared to, say, Baroque or Rococo furniture. The second thought suggests that abundance of décor has little to do with beauty and harmony. So, what makes modern tables, chairs, wardrobes, and beds look genuinely chic?
Of course, luxury furniture should be crafted with love and care. Even nowadays high-end furniture items are made by hand at least partly. Modern furniture-makers are lucky indeed, if we сompare them to their predecessors: contemporary masters can use powerful machines that free them from the most toilsome part of work. So, they focus on creative tasks, making the items look perfect.
Also, luxury furniture should be made only of top quality materials. Veneered fiberboard and chipboard, plywood, cheap woods like pine or poplar are suitable for mass production but not for luxury furniture. The very best items still are made of massive hardwood, i.e. the wood that comes from leaf-bearing trees. White and red oak, cherry, beech, teak, pear, alder, ash, walnut … furniture-makers have lots of species to choose from. Along with woods that come from European trees, producers of Italian luxury furniture use a number of woods that come from tropical trees – mahogany, ebony, rosewood, zebra wood, to name a few.
Nevertheless, good material and skilled execution of woodwork is not enough to make a furniture item look chic. For the most part, it is ingenious design that makes a piece of furniture special.
In the past it was either master himself or the client who ordered furniture for his dwelling who determined what each furniture item would look like. Nowadays, it’s prerogative of designers.
It is mostly a design they create that makes a particular furniture item look special. Where one can get outstanding design from? Well, it is logical to assume that great designs are created by great designers. So, what makes a furniture designer not just a mere executor, but a creator of masterpieces?
What Makes a Designer Great?
First of all, a great designer obviously must have sense of Harmony. Not everything can be taught in a college, and sense of harmony is among such things. A slight, subtle feeling that an item is “just the thing” or “good, but something is amiss” isn’t a thing that can be taught. A person either can or can’t experience it.
Having an Eye for beauty
In fact, a designer without artistic taste is like a blind artist or a deaf singer. An eye for beauty can’t be taught as well: an excellent designer, just like a talented artist, sees beauty in ordinary things. When a great designer looks at a design of a furniture item, he or she can tell at once whether it will be a masterpiece or a yet another ordinary article.
A great designer never forgets a very important thing: furniture, however chic it is, is intended to make people’s life more comfortable. No more, n less. A chair may look gorgeous, but if it’s not suitable for sitting on, it’s a bad chair. A great designer should be a practical, pragmatic person. Every piece of furniture is created for certain purpose, and every item should fit its purpose well. Otherwise, this piece of furniture is poor, however attractive it might look.
Also, a great designer always remembers that furniture is an inseparable part of the interior design. Each item should match all the rest in the home – not only other pieces of furniture, but also all decorations and furnishings present in the particular dwelling. Otherwise, furniture will stuck out like a sore thumb. Actually, furniture makers of all times did their best to make newly produced furniture combine perfectly with everything else in the home.
Present-day designers of furniture always are well-educated. They do realize that along with talent and intuition, they need solid knowledge. They study a lot, trying to learn and analyze the experience accumulated by thousands of talented craftsmen. Designers use this knowledge to create furniture items that will make people who are going to own these things happy.