Modern Furniture to Contemporary Furniture

Posted on: July 30, 2015, by :

We are often asked how to describe our hand crafted furniture. While the obvious answer is that we make Dapwood furniture, that does not really help others understand our style or our drive to make the best American made eco friendly furniture. Unfortunately, like most things there is no simple answer so we often are left to use terms like:

Modern Furniture
Contemporary Furniture
Amish Furniture
Arts and Crafts Furniture
Craftsman Furniture
Prairie Style Furniture
Stickley Furniture
Scandinavian Furniture
Danish Furniture
Urban Furniture
Reclaimed Furniture

So we thought we would do some research and try and answer this question for others as well as ourselves. We will start with Modern Furniture with a dusting of Contemporary Furniture and move on to the others in time.

We must note that as with all things labeled, there are always exceptions or disagreements with how to categorize “things”. We will do our best to give an overview and include individuals that are typically considered to be a part of the movement.

Modern Furniture

Modern Furniture grew out of the Modernism movement with popularity gaining in the early 20th Century. It was a response from architects and designers to the much more highly decorated styles such as Art Nouveau, Victorian and Neoclassical. Much of the Modernism movement aimed to distill down an object or building to its most basic components and cut out the rest. Designs were simplified, especially post World War II, when much of the war efforts’ assembly line manufacturing methods was applied to consumer goods. Furniture was no exception to this new business practice and products were made with increased efficiency and streamlined production. Products were marketed for the growing middle class and their expanding families in ever increasing numbers. Clean lines and simplicity and repeatability were major goals.

Notable influences:

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Walter Gropius
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (Le Corbusier)
Frank Lloyd Wright
Louis Sullivan
Charles and Ray Eames
George Nakashima
Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene (Greene and Greene)

Postmodern Furniture

Postmodernism started to gain popularity in the mid 20th century and was a rejection of modernism ideals that all things had one ideal form for a particular place. Postmodern furniture is more playful and colorful allowing personality and individuality to blossom- instead of adherence to the system. Building are often criticized for having functionless forms which waste space.

Notable influences:

Frank Gehry
Antoine Predock


Neomodern architecture and design is a rejection of Postmodern complexity and look back to the Modernism movement of simplicity and functionalism. Monolithic skyscrapers built today are good examples of this idea.

Notable influences:

Renzo Piano


Partnering cutting edge technology with new materials to create forms and function that was not previously possible. Eco sustainability ideals run deep.

Notable influences:

Buckminster Fuller
Eero Saarinen
Santiago Calatrava

Contemporary Furniture

Contemporary history refers to people, places and things captured in living memory. For some it may mean the postwar years to today. For others it may be the release of iPads through present day. Thus from a furniture design standpoint, we can think of it encompassing all styles of the 20th and 21st century. It isn’t a particular style but a period of time.


In our quest to define ourselves, we found out that we really do have our own style that draws on many different periods. We revel the simplicity of a bed frame with no headboard as well as the organic beauty of a gnarly wood slab mounted to adjustable techie legs for use as a treadmill desk. Since we can’t be all things to all people, we will continue to work hard to offer the best eco friendly furniture with style(s).