A SUMMARY OF 20TH CENTURY FURNITURE STYLE DEVELOPMENT Wiener Secession and Werstatte Greatly influenced by the British Arts and Crafts movement the Vienna Secession was founded in 1897 by Josef Hoffmann [1870-1956], Koloman Moser [1868-1918] and Josef Olbrich  with the artist Gustav Klimt to challenge conservative Viennese taste, designing furniture in part influenced by Charles Rennie Mackintosh which combined simple forms, sometimes with rich surface decoration, with ideals of craftsmanship, nevertheless prepared to embrace the potential of mechanical production. Deutscher Werstatte, the Bauhaus In Germany similar movements toward reform were stimulating the creation of Werstätte under the influential figures of Richard Riemerschmid [1868-1957], Henry van de Velde [1863-1957], Peter Behrens [1868-1940] – architect and designer for the industrial enterprise AEG - and Karl Schmidt, combining continued integrity of craftsmanship with standardising ‘Typenmobel’ ergonomic design. The Deutcher Werkbund founded in 1907 under Hermann Muthesius sought to fuse the efforts of artists and craftsmen to raise the standard of German design. Increasingly within the Werkbund those who promoted a ‘standardising’ rational approach to design were pitted against those ‘individualists’ who still asserted the centrality of personal creativity. Appointed director of the Weimar Bauhaus in 1919 Walter Gropius , initially of the ‘individualist’ persuasion and notwithstanding the important participation of artists such as Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky and Laslo Maholy-Nagy, shifted to a theory of rational design based on a full understanding of function, form and the manufacturing process. Marcel Breuer [1902-1981] and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe [1886-1969] made important innovations in furniture design with the introduction of cantilevered forms in tubular steel. de Stijl and UAM In Holland another progressive movement under the banner of Theo van Doesburg’s de Stijl movement (from 1917) incorporated art more self consciously into the design process, especially the spatial exercises of Piet Mondrian, expressed by Gerrit Rietveld [1888-1964] in simple geometric forms which still embraced machine technology. In France Le Corbusier [1887-1965] and Rene Herbst [1891-1983] were prominent amongst progressive designers gathered in the Union des Artistes Modernes, founded in Paris in 1930, creating furniture in the rational Modernist mould but with expressive tendencies, with significant contributions also by Eileen Gray [1878-1976] and Jean Prouve [1901-84]. Art Deco The first quarter of the century also saw decorative furniture created by French artists EmileJacques Ruhlmann, Paul Follot, Andre Groult, Leleu, Sue et Mare and others in the classical tradition; simple forms with rich surface decoration. Pierre Legrain also drew on African tribal inspiration; Eileen Gray and Jean Dunand working in traditional lacquer, and Paul Iribe were amongst those providing luxury furniture for an exclusive clientel, such as the couturier Jacques Doucet. A fusion of Art Deco with elements of Modernism was expressed in the 1930’s United States Streamlined Moderne. Scandinavian and British Modernism Scandinavian design in the 1930’s manifested a traditional respect for the values of wood and craftsmanship, making innovative use of wood laminations combined with an exploration of simple undecorated forms, exemplified by the designs of Alvar Aalto [1989-1976], Kaare Klint [1888-1954] and Hans Wegner [b1914]. Significant in British design in the 1930’s was Gordon Russell, initially influenced by the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement, but increasingly embracing rational design and machine technology. He played an important part in the design of Utility Furniture during the war, and after the conflict in the creation of the Design and Craft’s councils. Organic Modernism Charles Eames [1907-1978] and Eero Saarinen [1910-1961] developed new ‘organic’ designs compositions of interdependent and integrated parts - in the 1940’s, based on the use of three-dimension laminates and steel supports, progressing on to the use of early moulded plastics. Storage furniture followed the ‘equipment’ ideas of Le Corbusier for standard units with interchangeable functions. Also significant were Warren Platner [b.1919], George Nelson [1908-86] and Harry Bertoia [1915-78] in the U.S., and Robin Day [1915-2010] and Ernest Race [1913-64] in Britain creating the Contemporary style. In post war Italy design in the hands of Vico Magistretti [b.1920], Ettore Sottsass [b.1917], Marco Zanuso [b.1916], Carlo Mollino [1905-73] et al. embraced modern industry and materials, creating designs with organic shapes. Arne Jacobsen (1902-71) created innovative designs in laminated ply and fibreglass shell chair forms. In the 1960’s Italy and Europe took the lead with moulded plastic furniture with designs by Joe Colombo [1930-71] and Verner Panton [1926-98], as well as Magistretti and Zanuso. Rounded forms of seating in foam were created by Gaetano Pesce [b.1939] and Olivier Morgue [b.1939]. Pop Culture The 1950’s and 60’s saw a growth consumerism backed by the mass media. After the era of Modernist standardisation, art and design looked to popular culture for inspiration, rich with emotional values. Youth culture and eclectic individual tastes replaced dogmatic design theories, giving rise to ephemeral values. Cheap and disposable furniture with bright ‘pop’ motifs were a mark of the times. The eclectic mix was epitomised by Terence Conran’s Habitat shops. The ‘Hippy’ culture introduced environmental values and a renewed appreciation of individual creativity. The 1970’s also saw a revival of craftsman built furniture in Britain (especially John Makepeace, Fred Baier and Alan Peters), America (Wendell Castle), and Scandinavia. Post Modernism, Memphis and late 20th century ‘plural’ styling Post Modernism based on ideas proposed by Robert Venturi in 1966, reintroducing the ironic use historical motifs shown in the designs of Charles Jencks. In Italy the Memphis group under the leadership of Ettore Sottsass (with Nathalie du Pasquier, Michele de Lucchi, George Sowden, Aiata Isozaki, Michael Graves et al.) made use of the full spectrum of materials and forms to create bright and surprising juxtapositions. The 1980’s and 90’s manifested a plurality of styles. ‘High Tech’ transferred utilitarian furniture from workplace to home. ‘Bricolage’ saw an assembly of detritus from the urban wasteland recreated into works of art by Tom Dixon [b.1959], Ron Arad [b.1951], André Dubreuil et al. The ‘Ethnic’ style sought to identify with the simplicity and integrity of tribal cultures, the ‘Naturalistic’ with the threatened environment. ‘New Baroque’, expressed by Phillipe Starck [b.1949], Borek Sipek [b.1949] and Dubreuil was a rediscovery of self indulgent-display, and the most commercial style. 21st century: New Modernism, Vintage and Art Design In the 21st century a new historicism has emerged in the form of so-called ‘vintage’ furniture, celebrating the iconic furniture of 20th century Modernism. Contemporary ‘New Modernist’ designs show a respect for the principles of Modernism; focus on function with simple ergonomic forms, and materials ranging from the self-consciously natural to the innovative synthetic. As well as reference back to organic modern forms, ‘art’ has found an expression in ‘Art Design’ expounded by such contemporary architect-designers as Zaha Hadid (b. 1950) employing modern materials to re-explore fluid moulded organic forms, and ‘art’ is also expressed in the naturalistic patterning of surfaces. Concerns with environmental impact are combined with a re-orientation towards a domestic environment which is becoming increasingly technological; furniture is either highly utilitarian and minimal or sculptural, employed in an ambience-defining capacity.