Since the dawn of man, we have exhibited an inherent need to shape our surroundings both for decorative purposes and to augment our way of life. The “Design” in Designer Furniture comes from the latin “Designo” (to mark out, trace out, to describe, designate, define).
From as early as Neolithic times (around 10’000 years ago), when humans started departing from their nomadic traditions and settle in one place, a variety of tools have been unearthed, which catered for giving form to simple furniture intended to enhance the lifestyles of the age. Often made from rock, these were simple compositions, but throughout the millennia, with tools and techniques evolving, more advanced creations started appearing; including cabinets, shelving, chairs, tables, and beds, with more prevalence of various timber types. By around 700 Before Common Era, most of the furniture we see today, including sofas and tables, had been produced in various forms. In the diverse high cultures of the world that had evolved separate from one another, furniture was strikingly similar; to which archeological finds from Mediterranean Europe, Egypt and the Middle East, China and East Asia, along with Central America testify.
Immediately after the dawn of civilisation, furniture design progressed to influence our close surroundings and to fill empty spaces in private dwellings. Various trends have replaced one another with respect to styles, materials, and function. In Medieval Europe, furniture tended to service only the most basic of functions. Design was primarily quadratic or rectangular, in dark wood types, and, for the wealthier class, often dense oak and heavily ornamented. During this period, China and East Asia, developed a more decorative style with more extravagant and creative utilities, but this stagnated with the infamous introspective and isolationist period China underwent in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Between the 15th and 17th century, when Europe was heavily influenced by Renaissance ideals, furniture design had a breakthrough and evolved significantly. Derived out of Northern Italy, this tradition of craftsmanship quickly spread into the rest of Europe. The style of the period was radically different from the Medieval style and was heavily influenced by Greco-roman tradition, distinguished through rich, gilded ornamentation, often with a plethora of arms, animal, and floral motifs. The purpose was to illustrate the skill of the craftsmen that has made them. The Renaissance period was succeeded by the Baroque, which utilised even more extravagant ornamentation. In northern Europe, parallel to the Baroque period, the Jacobean style engendered more robust and sturdy furniture, with a simpler variant, prevalent in colonial territories, aptly named “Colonial” style.
In the 18th century, Rococo (or Late Baroque) appeared and was brought to prominence primarily by skilled and innovative German carpenters and artisans who served at the French court of Louis XV and Luis XVI, such as Johann Franz Oeben, Johann Heinrich Riesener and David Roentgen. They designed extravagant and lavish mechanical furniture with many surprising functions, that became exceedingly popular and were replicated primarily for the European aristocracy. After the French Revolution and the fall of the French monarchy, Great Britain partly assumed some of the ‘raison d’être' in terms of pioneering furniture design. One of the main reasons for this was quite simply Britain's maritime dominance of the era and its need for portable, compact and variable furniture to serve their colonial expansion around the world. It would not be out of line to state that the British pioneered knock-down (foldable) and multifunction furniture.
With the emergence of Industrialisation in the 19th century, many disused designs of previous centuries were brought back for assembly line production. Since furniture production was now easier and more cost effective, the 19th century saw more complex design with intricate ornamentation and wood carving. Interior design was dominated by stuccos, dark colour tones, and heavy fabrics and textiles.
Art Nouveau, or Jugend as it became known in Northern Europe, first appeared in Paris around 1890 and was an artistic style that incorporated lines and curves with graphic ornamentation and elements of hard woods and iron. As manufacturing became cheaper and the supply of materials broader, more styles came to the fore within what became known as Modernism; Art Deco, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Wiener Werkstatte And Viennese. The graceful and light Art Deco style appeared in Paris in the 1920’s and encompassed elegance, luxury, function and modernity. The Swedish variant of Art Deco became known as Swedish Grace. At around this period, the Bauhaus school was founded in Germany (then Weimar Republic), and engendered a more spartan, or bare bones, approach to design, which along with Art Deco became functionalism.
Functionalism had its breakthrough in the 1930’s and rejected traditional architectural and design dogmas, focusing instead on functionality with smooth surfaces and geometric accuracy. This new modern, and simplistic style gained further momentum in the post war period, aided by new materials such as laminated plywood, plastic and fiberglass. With this rekindled interest in new materials and innovation, came a notion of radicalism and optimism. World renowned artists such as Bruno Mathsson (Sweden), Arne Jacobsen (Denmark), Alvar Aalto (Finland) and Ingmar Relling (Norway), further solidified the concept of Scandinavian Design. Functionalism remained prevalent well into the 60’s and many traits are still apparent in contemporary design.
Plus Function has elected to focus and specialise on Designer Furniture with multiple functions and unique form, yielding flexible home solutions suitable for a modern lifestyle. We offer products that can appeal equally to those who desire something out of the ordinary that stands out, creates flexibility and simplifies everyday life, as well as those who need to optimise space and require creative solutions. Combining functions is, to our mind, a progressive expression of minimalism, and we perceive a shortfall of interior design products that can embody all of function, quality and elegance. We endeavour to innovate in terms of new ideas, but also to improve and upgrade old classics, intending to deliver products that respond to the requirements for flexibility and change that are inherent to modern lifestyles. In short; products that provide function and value for money.
A home that is easily adjusted to new needs arising, and products that can fill more than one function are both entertaining and practical. There is so much more to an individual piece of furniture than what can be perceived with the naked eye. Our straightforward approach, and our focus on functionality, along with design and durability strives to depart from the wastefulness of contemporary disposable trends. We create timeless Scandinavian furniture to suit the discerning and modern consumer of today; minimalistic design that stand the tests of time.