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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

classic design: Biedermeier Revisited

In a world in which, vintage is sought after and "reuse" is the key word of the day. Timeless design is a phrase that is reinterpreted for our time. Simplicity and elegance seem to be on the rebound. A turn to the traditional, like comfort food. it seems to be on the rise. Making quality choices in design instead of the trendy is a more frugal way to spend your money on interior design.

Biedermeier with its simple lines and honest construction was a reaction in it time against the heavily ornate furniture of it day. It's use of beech wood and veneered woods made it affordable. Timeless in it's appeal. it is a style of furniture that can be translated into the clean lines homes of today. For those of you that seek a link to the past but looking toward the future. Beidermier might hold the key to the perfect timeless for your home. With many antiques they can be expensive. However The are fine reproduction furniture companies which build these exquisite pieces such as They have been building furniture for over 50 years. Many of the original pieces are in the personal collection of the owner of the company.

Biedermeier was an influential style of furniture design from Germany during the years 1815-1848, based on utilitarian principles. The period extended later in Scandinavia as disruptions due to numerous states that made up the German nation were not unified by rule from Berlin until 1871. These post-Biedermeier struggles influenced by historicism created their own styles. Throughout the period emphasis was kept on clean lines and minimal ornamentality; as the period progressed, however, the style moved from the early rebellion against Romantic-era fussiness to increasingly flourished commissions by a rising middle class eager to show their newfound wealth. The idea of clean lines and utilitarian postures would resurface in the twentieth century, continuing to the present day. Middle- to late-Biedermeier work in furniture design represents the a heralding towards historicism and revival eras long sought for. Social forces originating in France would change the artisan-patron system that achieved this period of design, first in the Germanic states and then into Scandinavia. Of course the middle class growth originated in the English industrial revolution and many Biedermeier designs owe their simplicity to Georgian lines of the 1800s, as the proliferation of design publications reached the loose Germanic states and the Austro-Hungarian empire.
The Biedermeier style was a simplified interpretation of the influential French Empire Style of Napoleon I. He introduced the romance of ancient Roman Empire styles, adapting these to modern early 19th century households. Biedermeier furniture grew out of the French Empire Period, but used locally available materials such as cherry, ash and oak woods rather than the expensive timbers such as fully imported mahogany. Whilst this timber was available near trading ports such as Antwerp, Hamburg and Stockholm, it was taxed heavily every time it passed through another principality. This made mahogany very expensive to use and much local cherry and pearwood was stained to imitate the more expensive timbers. Stylistically, the furniture was simple and elegant. Its construction utilised the ideal of truth through material, something that later influenced the Bauhaus and Art Deco periods.

take care,


1 comment:

Edward said...

Very interesting post. I was considering only this morning about writing a post on Biedermeier furniture. It's a fascinating period both historically and design-wise.