These days, plastic doesn’t have the¬†most upscale reputation,¬†usually stemming from the idea of plastic as disposable. “Plastic furniture”¬†may conjure up images of lawn chairs and beach chairs sold at CVS or Target.¬†However, there’s a world of beautiful, stylish plastic furniture meant for indoor use. Plastic’s appeal in quality furniture isn’t disposability; plastic (and its¬†heavier cousin Lucite), is lightweight and durable, and presents a futuristic aesthetic with clean simple lines. Lucite and molded plastic can be clear, smoked or tinted, or a solid color.
Lucite, like Formica and Kleenex, is actually a brand name that became so ubiquitous it is¬†often used (as I will here) to describe all acrylic glass. The formula for acrylic glass was developed in 1928, and a variety of companies internationally brought it to market through the 1930s. The most prominent versions were Rohm & Haas’ “Plexiglas” and DuPont’s “Lucite.” The initial applications were utilitarian and coincided with World War II:¬†windshields for airplanes, periscopes for submarines, and gun turrets were all being made from Plexiglas/Lucite for both sides of the war.
Cosmetics titan (and first female Jewish magnate) Helena Rubinstein was an early acolyte of Lucite furniture, decking out her apartment¬†with custom-manufactured Rohm & Haas pieces in the 1930s. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the design world hit upon Lucite as the next big material for jewelry, art, and furniture. Through the 1960s and 1970s, Lucite was the medium of choice in evoking the futuristic and space-age for modernist and experimental furniture designers. Molded plastic was often employed in this aesthetic as a lighter-weight and less expensive¬†alternative to Lucite¬†that looked equally sleek and clean.
The Jetsons may have imagined some things that were out of reach, but the funky atomic-style shapes of the show’s backdrops were best¬†translated to the real world in Lucite and plastic. Lucite also became a key material in late Hollywood Regency designs of the 1970s and 1980s, since clear and tinted objects could match easily with gold, white, and even the loudest patterns. Clear furniture and decor, in particular, are strongly associated with the opulent styles of the 1980s.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
Molded plastic found a new design champion in the 1990s through Phillippe Starck’s Louis Ghost Chair for Kartell. Kartell, a Los Angeles-based company specializing in plastic furniture, had a hit on their hands with the Louis Ghost and subsequent similar styles like the Victoria Ghost. These chairs married traditional historic furniture shapes with bold modern materials and geometry for a stunning effect. The Ghost collection of furniture is still produced by Kartell, as well as many imitators offering versions at lower price points. We currently have in stock an assortment of imitation Louis Ghost and Victoria Ghost chairs, as seen below.
Though it has gone in and out of style since its creation, there’s no doubt that Lucite and plastic are here to stay in furniture.¬†As 3D printing becomes more widespread through all fields of design, it’s no surprise that¬†there’s a growing number of companies offering distinctive 3D-printed furniture. Here at Furnish Green, we’re always bringing in Lucite and plastic furniture in a range of styles, so keep an eye on our showroom or click here¬†for your next retro-futuristic treasure!
Denmark is considered the happiest country in the world. While the list of reasons is long¬†(dedication to workers’ rights, a rich history of art, Legos), we’d like to think their furniture is on that list. With the renewed popularity of mid century decor in recent years, you may find yourself wondering why so much furniture is marked “Danish” or “Danish Modern.”
The Danish Modern style of design began as early as the 1920s in Scandinavia, but it didn’t become visible on the global stage until after World War II. The style is typified by an emphasis on quality materials, sleek and novel shapes, and¬†finding beauty in the clean and simplistic. These made Danish Modern designs perfectly suited to postwar prosperity and practicality.
One of the largest factors in Danish Modern’s international popularity was its¬†role in the launch of the United Nations. In 1952, Danish designer Finn Juhl was chosen to decorate the Trusteeship Council Chamber in New York¬†City’s new United Nations building. This¬†important new international¬†organization for the mid century era became a sort of showroom for a style unlike any most Americans¬†had ever seen.
As Danish Modern swept the nation in the fifties, American companies started to produce their own versions of Danish Modern style furniture. While produced¬†at high standards of quality and design, these American-made pieces are less expensive today than their Danish counterparts because they often incorporated more plastic and Formica, and lacked the prestige of an attached designer name. We currently have Danish Modern furniture in our store made everywhere from Norway to Canada to Israel, demonstrating the international design community’s embrace of this style as one of the most significant of the 20th century.
The popularity of Danish Modern design peaked in 1963, and in 1966 it began to steeply decline in popularity. With the recent resurgence of Mid Century Modern, it’s no surprise that the style’s cool¬†European cousin is back as well. Here at Furnish Green, we have an ever-changing selection of Danish Modern furniture from a range of decades and countries of origin. Stop into our showroom or search “Danish Modern” on the website to stay¬†up-to-date¬†on this rich beloved style.
Very few weekdays pass when we don’t get a new piece of industrial furniture in our¬†showroom. The popularity of these pieces seems to grow by the second as furniture lovers have begun mixing more into their spaces.
When choosing furniture for government buildings, buyers needed two simple elements: function and durability. Furnishings in a work or public space were expected to be used often, and thus required the durability to withstand decades of use. The style organically born of these two needs was Industrial.
Industrial Furniture in the Modern Home:
Industrial furniture pieces can be some of the most difficult pieces to identify because most were never named to begin with. This mystery gives industrial furniture its timeless appeal. Most people have seen hundreds of industrial pieces in public or work spaces throughout their lives. So to see the style mixed into the modern living space gives a sense of nostalgia.
Check out our ever growing collection of industrial furniture and accent pieces¬†while they’re still¬†available!
Listen, I Like Industrial Style But I Also Like Wood:
Consider Arts & Crafts/Mission furniture with its similar clean lines and unpretentious designs. Hey, that rhymes!
We are always trying to discover new fun facts about the pieces that come into our¬†showroom. This week we are digging a little deeper into our Stanley Furniture collection.
In 1924, after quitting his job as an executive at Basset Furniture Company, Thomas¬†Bahnson Stanley decided to start his own furniture business. At the young age of 33, he bought a plot of land in Virginia and turned it into Stanleytown. A factory was built, streets were laid, and homes were constructed for his workers to live in. His factory became one of the leading furniture manufacturers in the country, producing quality furniture that impressed the markets in Grand Rapids, Chicago and New York. Even through The Great Depression, they remained a strong business because Stanley took such pride in keeping his workers and his customers happy.
Stanley has remained a high-end name in furniture throughout the decades. In the late mid-century, they produced a fun line of bedroom furniture called the Ol√© Collection. It came in several colors with red and yellow being the most popular. It was probably the most colorful furniture at that time and was featured in several magazines with the slogan “We made Ol√© because¬†little girls never¬†stay little”. It was a dream come true for many girls around the nation.
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We just got a nearly complete set of the Ol√© Yellow Collection in our Manhattan showroom. It includes a twin-sized bed, a desk with a matching chair, and a tall bookcase cabinet. The best thing about this collection is that you don’t have to be a little girl¬†to enjoy it. This energetic, retro furniture was designed to be appealing to both children and adults. It features a bright green trim and orange flowers around the hardware. It has a very whimsical vibe and is perfect for any space¬†in need of some color!
You can check it all out here.
After recently receiving¬†some beautiful new Heywood Wakefield Modern pieces in our Manhattan showroom, we found ourselves fondly looking back at how this series of early American modern furniture came to be.
When the five Heywood brothers started crafting furniture in their family‚Äôs barn, they probably never guessed that their pieces would lead to a turning point in American furniture.
Following the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the Heywood-Wakefield brand stood strong, but on the merit of the furniture designs crafted before the turn of the century. In other words, the furniture they made looked dated.
Heywood Wakefield took note, and in (the mid-1930s) released the Heywood-Wakefield Modern series. The Modern series popped with it‚Äôs bright, solid Northern Yellow Birch. Pieces forwent ornamentation for smooth, rounded edges; steaming and bending the wood achieved this look. Modern industrial designers, including Gilbert Rohde, Russel Wright, W. Joseph Carr, among others, were brought in to help streamline production of the modern series throughout the 40s and 50s.¬†
Check out our current Heywood Wakefield selection¬†here, or stop by our Manhattan showroom at 1261 Broadway, Suite 309!
Have you ever wondered where your furniture comes from? It can have a huge effect on the price and quality of your piece. One of the places to look out for is Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Michigan has a rich history of furniture manufacturing. Grand Rapids alone is home to over 60 furniture manufacturing¬†companies including American Seating, Grand Rapids Chair Company, Haworth, Herman Miller, Leland International, Steelcase, and Vanerum Stelter, to name a few. It is often referred to as “Furniture City”.
If your furniture is marked with a ‚Äúmade in Grand Rapids‚ÄĚ¬†sticker then it is sure to be a quality crafted piece of furniture. It took a few lawsuits and a lot of money for the Grand Rapids Furniture Association to claim the name as a trademark, but it prevented other inferior furniture companies from putting the name Grand Rapids on their products and selling it for a higher price. Obtaining the trademark has helped Grand Rapids furniture establish its high-quality reputation that it maintains today.
Back in 1876, when Berkey & Gay Co. sold its furniture to the Eastern merchants in New York, Grand Rapids officially became a nationwide furniture provider. Since then, Grand Rapids has become the ‚ÄúFurniture Capital of the World‚ÄĚ, selling their one-of-a kind, high-quality furniture all over the country.
So when you are mulling over your next furniture purchase, take a minute to see where it came from. You might be surprised at what you discover.
When shopping with Furnish Green, we make sure to note how special or unique a piece is.¬†This is simply to inform and graciously prepare you with some wonderful talking points for your next get-together! It can be anything from a turn-of-the-century piece¬†with hand-cut dovetail joints to a creative use of material, a luscious color or perhaps a unique modular feature.
Currently, there is a great assortment of¬†vintage and antique pieces with splayed legs.
You may be asking yourself, what are splayed legs? That is a wonderful question. Kudos to you sharp Furnish Greeners, always willing to learn!
Splayed legs (or saber legs) flare out in a concave shape. At times, they can be round or squared and often¬†gradually tapered.¬†These are usually found on a chair, stool, table or sofa.¬†Fine splayed legs date back to the early 19th century¬†with designers such as Thomas Sheraton and thrived in Empire, Regency and Federal furniture styles.
So now, it is time for us to stop teasing and show a little Mid Century, Atomic and Danish Modern leg.
To see these and other splay-leg pieces in stock, check out our current¬†selection!
The busy life of a New Yorker means making lots¬†of decisions prior to even stepping out your front door. The decision of what to wear carries obvious importance, and therefore, choosing the right dresser as the proper home for our clothing deserves some serious consideration.
We recently¬†got in this mighty fine 5-drawer dresser designed by Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller; it¬†features brass drawer pulls, flared legs and a two-tone body with a light wood front. The drawers pull out smoothly and the top drawer contains a center divider; a¬†big plus for the meticulous organizer.
(To read more about wear and condition, please¬†refer to the product page)
Founded in 1905, Herman Miller, an American-based furniture production company, soared to fame in the 1940s with collaborations involving many talented designers such as Isamu Noguchi, George Nelson, and Ray¬†and Charles Eames.¬†The company produced pieces that would later become definitive examples of industrial design. By the middle of the 20th century, Herman Miller was synonymous with “Modern” furniture.
In 1931, Gilbert Rohde, considered a vivacious modernist himself, attracted the interest of Herman Miller and he soon began designing for the company.¬†His designs combine the¬†form and ornamentation reminiscent of the Art Deco style with the rationalism from Bauhaus¬†design, while still maintaining a sense of simplicity.
While Rohde designed for several other furniture manufacturers like Heywood Wakefield, Widdicomb Company, and the Troy Sunshade Company, his work for Herman Miller remains his best work and is considered some of the best work of the period.
If you’re like us, chances are you love a good barrel chair! This classic accent chair is sure to offer some real charm and comfort.¬†The true start of the barrel chair remains hazy, as various sources site its location of origin to be in¬†places including¬†the United Kingdom, the Virgin Islands, Italy, and France. One thing that remains certain is that the well-constructed design was in use around the world by the mid to late 19th century and enjoyed a great deal of popularity in the United States during the middle of the 20th century.
The barrel chair is a style of seating that is traditionally upholstered with arms and back forming a continuous line. If you haven’t guessed it yet, it is constructed to resemble the shape of, and is often repurposed from, an old-fashioned whiskey barrel! One side of the round construction is cut out to¬†make room for the seat and back padding that forms a comfortable nook, surrounded with a high contoured back and a swiveling base. These chairs make an efficient use of space with their relatively small footprint¬†that is contrasted by their big personality.
FAMILY ROOM FURNITURE that’s really designed for FAMILY FUN! With so many things going on outside the home these days, keeping the family together for work, and play, is harder than ever. You do need to give special attention to your home so see that it is really designed for family living. Formal and fussy furnishing are fine for company . . . but for the kids and dad to really relax . . . well, you need something like this family room suite from BROTHERS of Kentucky. Built for fun, built for comfort, built to last! Don’t wonder where the kids are … they’ll be having fun at home. – The Daily News from Port Angeles, Washington. Page 30. April 20, 1975.
In the showroom, we’ve got some¬†unique barrel chairs of our own for sale. These ones, in particular, were manufactured in the 1970s by Brothers Furniture and Corp. and were¬†constructed from¬†Kentucky whiskey keg barrels! Fun and punchy, they feature colorful patchwork vinyl upholstery. Whether solo or as a set, they’ll add some rustic charm to any living space or bar.
From their first collaborations as husband and wife in the middle 1950s until the present day, no other designers have spoken as completely and as articulately in single furniture offerings. Each piece, whether their Biagio table lamp for Flos, their Bastiano seating range for Knoll or their Centenary vases for L’eclaireur, simultaneously addresses history, industrial production, form, function, materials and contemporary cultures. – Matthew Sullivan of Core77
Their design work ranged from full scale architectural projects¬†such as factories, shops and offices created¬†for Benetton to everyday household items including art, glass, clothing and furniture.
Tobia and Afra were innovators¬†of their time because of their consciousness to produce functional pieces with a poetic, amalgamative¬†and polished design.¬†While they used modern materials and procedures¬†to create their products, their designs were more classical than the ones being produced by their peers during that time. This influenced the way people furnished their homes as residents wanted furniture that stood in perfect harmony with modern and traditional interiors alike.