Colonial – refers to furniture that specifically shows elements of British, French, Dutch and Portuguese influences in India. This style is predominantly represented in the hill stations and tea estates of the Indian subcontinent, in the churches of Goa, and in Pondicherry and Cochin. Identifiable by the use of dark woods such as ebony, rosewood, teak and mahogany with elements of woven cane, this style was adapted to suit the tropical Indian climate. Signature pieces include the Plantation Chair – a permanent fixture in Gymkhanas - peg tables with Queen Anne legs, rosewood armoires and chests of drawers with wrought iron details.
European – refers to popular Western classical styles, such as Italian Renaissance, Victorian Louis XV and XVI, Baroque, Gothic, Neo-Classical, Art Deco and Nouveau, when furniture was expertly crafted from solid woods such as mahogany and walnut, metals such as bronze and brass, and ornamented with intricate carvings and gilded details. In comparison to the Colonial and Rustic styles, European furniture was lavishly adorned while paying close attention to delicacy in form and proportion. Using this style of furniture in space creates a very formal and aristocratic environment due to the intricate details, as well as the ergonomics of the furniture pieces.
Rustic – refers to Classic Vintage, French Country, Shabby-Chic, American Classic furniture which are derivatives of European and Colonial furniture, but simpler in form and detail. This style is best represented by distressed and deliberately worn-out finishes, with very little to no ornamentation, in order to create a more natural, casual and comfortable ambience in interior spaces.
Indian – Walnut–wood carved furniture from Kashmir, Meenakari jhoolas, silver and mango wood dowry chests from Rajasthan and keepsakes detailed with bidri inlay work from Karnataka are some examples of Indian furniture and crafts. These styles flourished in the Princely states of pre-Independence India: a time when royal dynasties were patrons of Indian crafts, thus also having a significant influence on furniture forms and decoration.
Asian – Traditional furniture crafted during flourishing dynasties of the Far East (Ming, Qing), and design forms native to the Far-Eastern countries of Japan, Indonesia, Korea, China and so on help define what Asian furniture is. Chinese lacquer work, ornate Jade embellishments, Tibetan Thangka murals and Japanese bamboo weaving are typical Asian elements applied on furniture and design. Tranquility and balance, as well as Yin & Yang play important roles in defining the form and function of Asian furniture.
Middle Eastern – Indigenous furniture influenced by Islamic cultures from Turkey and North Africa, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, to Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, come together to define the basis of the Middle Eastern aesthetic and décor style. Afghani and Turkish kilims depicting local myths and legends, silk Persian Isfahan carpets, furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl and Moroccan lamps with filigree designs are some popular examples of Middle Eastern décor. While tables and chairs were not popular furniture elements in most cultures of the Middle East, ornate arabesques carved on wooden screens, lamps inspired by local architecture, and hand-painted wall murals are typical representations of this style.
Mid - Century – By Mid-century design, we refer to the Cubist, Minimalist, Bauhaus & Brutalist movements and schools of thought that were predominant between the nineteen forties and nineteen seventies. The armchair and ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames, Le Corbusier’s chaise - lounge, and the Barcelona chair by Mies Van der Rohe are icons of this movement. They made use of innovations such as tubular stainless steel, PVC and bent and moulded plywood, giving a certain visual lightness to the furniture. Interestingly, due to advances in space travel, a lot of these design themes of that time revolved around the space age.
Scandinavian – This style can be best seen in furniture designs originating from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands, which focus on simple, functional and minimal lines. The Alvar Aalto chair sold at Ikea uses bent plywood and birch and is a great example of Scandinavian design. Popular materials include the use of light-coloured woods such as pine and birch, plastics, anodize
Contemporary – This style refers to furniture designs created in the 20th & 21st centuries, particularly getting their influences of line and form from the Mid-century and Scandinavian schools of thought. It is also referred to as Modern Contemporary as it was influenced by the modernist movement. The Contemporary style, however, is ever-evolving: as a reflection of the conditions of contemporary living, it became necessary for furniture to have a simplistic design approach, keeping in mind function as the basis for form. Materials such as glass, high gloss polish lacquers, copper, brass and electro-plating techniques all encourage the final look of contemporary pieces: crisp lines, pronounced edges and smooth textures, which distinguish the clutter-free approach of this style.
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