Furniture as a commodity is dated back to 3100 BC, during the neolithic period where the stone was carved to accessorize a space and provide storage, seating, and sleeping spaces. The necessity arose from the need for comfort as man evolved.
Furniture is a broad spectrum categorized by various additions to space with a notion of providing comfort. It could be the racks to declutter a space, or maybe a chair to rest, or even just a plank of wood to hold something. These additions began to evolve from a perspective of the need to a perspective of want.
Therefore, functionality was clubbed with luxury. This distinct change in perspective was seen in traces during the Egyptian civilization. After which the concept traveled through Greek and Roman times and finally during the Renaissance, people developed a sense of ornamenting and embellishing these comfort accessories.
Up until now, the Italians and French are still known for their extravagant furniture. Speaking about the dynamics of furniture designs, the designers have experimented with materials while the form is pretty much constant, excluding the abstract art of furniture.
The following examples speak about various furniture designers, some emerging while some are timeless pieces designed by famous architects and artists during their time.
1. Fendi Casa, Italy
This chain of luxurious interiors began as a brainchild of Alberto Vignatelli in collaboration with Anna Fendi, owner of the Fendi fashion house. The conception was a mere thought of providing timeless pieces of furniture with a global mission.
The board is now headed by Raffaella, Olga Vignatelli, and Daniele Vignatelli to continue the legacy of their father to create charismatic furniture with a “made in Italy” suffix. The brand focuses on creating a close relation between fashion and interiors.
Various artists and designers collaborate to create season collections. They design classical pieces with an avant-garde tone. Few of their relics include the Fendi Casa Eros sofa of 2004 and another one is Cosima Dormeuse.
2. Lee Broom, London
A theatre student, who went on to win a fashion competition for Vivienne Westwood began his design career at a fashion label and then grew to become one of the most famous furniture designers of our time.
Lee Broom’s concepts of furniture design have evolved from the fashion concepts. He believes in creating a signature mix of classicism and modernity. By using the highest quality materials, combined with the latest technology Lee ponders and reinvents classical, contemporary styles with an unexpected edge.
He has won over 30 awards including the prestigious British Designer of the year award. He showcases his collection every year at the design weeks held in Milan, New York, London and is known to create surreal abstracts as installations bringing in an unexpected edgy tone.
He designs furniture and innovative lighting fixtures for offices, retail, and houses across the globe and also collaborates with fashion labels like Christian Louboutin, Mulberry, Bergdorf Goodman, and Wedgwood.
3. Le Corbusier Furniture
During the early 20th century Le Corbusier was one of the leading architects among others like Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Their prospects of design belonged to the modernist movement which received a lot of glory and criticism as it was a new approach in terms of architecture.
Le Corbusier who was a ‘rock star’ of his time also pondered into furniture design by collaborating with designer Charlotte Perriand and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. They started the label under ‘Le Corbusier’ in the year 1930 and the line has been expanding since. Their first design was the chrome-plated tubular steel-framed chairs for two of his projects.
One of their most iconic and timeless designs is the LC series. The LC4 became one of the most celebrated chairs along with the LC2 and LC3 comfort sofas. These were futuristic design approaches made by Le Corbusier 90 years ago and still seem to blend in perfectly with the present-day interior concepts.
4. Boca do Lobo, Portugal
They imbibe native craftsmanship to create timeless cosmopolitan concepts of furniture design which includes upholstery and lighting pieces as well. The company started in the year 2005 in Portugal and has been flourishing ever since. They have artisans from various places who bring in the traditional concepts while the use of the latest technology gives the modern twist.
They have collaborations with leading fashion labels like Fendi and Prada. Various hospitality chains across the US like Fairmont Hotel and The New York Palace Hotel have had a long relationship with Boca do Lobo.
5. Bram Wood Crafting Studio, Mysore, India
The studio was founded by Bram Rouws, a french artisan who was trained by the Compagnons Du Devoir community and later acquired professional experience by working in diverse environments of artisans. He later moved to Mysore, India to begin his practice.
The BWS studio offers furniture ranging from ornamental, contemporary to restoration of old relics. The fundamental aspect of the studio is to create sustainable concepts. This is ensured by minimizing wastage while maximizing recycled wood usage. They also adhere to FSC certification of wood.
6. The Purple Turtles, Bangalore, India
The studio was envisioned by Radheesh, a lighting designer along with Jenny, Gaurav, and Prasanth. It started as a lighting studio boutique and grew into a studio for one-stop solutions to revamp your space. It’s been over a decade since its inception.
Each of their products holds a story with a personal touch. A space becomes home with the culmination of these various minuscules evoking a sense of thought and emotion. Their collection ranges from high-end designs to innovative simple variants.
7. Studio wood, New Delhi, India
The studio was conceived on the notion of creating bespoke furniture for the young and restless. The founders, Vrinda Mathur, Navya Aggarwal, and Sahej Bhatia started the studio in the year 2014 and have been very successful since, winning a lot of national and international awards and recognitions.
The studio indulges in diverse materials and techniques to create quirky, edgy concepts but with a clean and functional motive. They showcased their works at international expos like Salone Satellite 2018, Salone del Mobile in Milan, and Wanted Design week 2020 in New York. The works have also been published in leading magazines like Architectural Digest, Archello, and ArchDaily.
It was founded by Guilio Castelli in 1949 with the motive of exemplifying the ‘made in Italy’ label like most Italians. The company marked its grand recognition when Claudio Luti, son-in-law of Guilio took over. Luti was a fashion designer who worked and gained exceptional knowledge in the Versace fashion house.
Luti started collaborations with designers and architects like Antonio Citterio, Ferruccio Laviani, Piero Lissoni which was a symbolic turnover for the brand. There were innovative approaches, fresh designs, and materials that Kartell pondered into.
In the year 1999, Kartell became the first company worldwide to use polycarbonate for furniture. La Marie was the end product which was a transparent chair of minimalist, modern design. Kartell later went on to produce their famous piece to date, the Louis Ghost. As the label progressed they branched out into lighting and other aspects.
A label under her name, Elissa is an artist and designer from France. She has two locations from where she practices, one from Burgundy in France and Montreal in Canada. She questions the boundaries of normative in her designs. The natural environment is the basis for her design while she is highly influenced by paleolithic materiality.
Most of her pieces are synthetic based where the convolution of overlap of natural and artificial is enigmatically captured. The tones and textures of the human body are melded into her designs. The lithic desk is one of her notable designs. It consists of an opaque oxidized copper surface contrasting the smooth, translucent silicone finish.
It is a family label run by Anna, Carlo, and Elena Turati. The Turati family has been in the furniture handicrafts for generations but on a smaller scale. In 1998 Anna along with her siblings and father came up with Casamilano which turned into a globally recognized business.
Casa Milano collaborates with renowned designers like Paola Navone, Roberto Lazzeroni to create seasonal decor for various projects. Their furniture range from Armchairs to mirrors of all sorts. The label embraces design elegance with a clear conscience of functionality. The uniqueness lies in the play of materials which corresponds to the efficacy of furniture.