Modernism For The Modern Home

Modernism For The Modern HomeThis is a guest post contributed by Fraser Wood of Swivel

In the early 20th century a creative movement swept the western world as innovations in art, design, and conceptual thought erupted as explosively creative reactions to industrialisation and WWI.

This movement was called Modernism and it has shaped the designs of some of the most iconic furniture in history. Whilst art and design have moved on and interior design is now flooded with post-modernist creations, the stylish elegance of modernist pieces is still pervasive in the top showrooms nevertheless.

We have created a list of 8 exquisite examples, both original and modern inspired tributes, to give you a flavour of Modernism and illustrate its continued relevance in the modern home. 

Vertical Sideboard, George Nelson

1. Vertical Sideboard, George Nelson

Internationally recognised, George Nelson had a long and successful career in which he produced an extensive portfolio of work. His pieces are a unique blend of beautiful aesthetics with strong functionality and the Vertical Sideboard is no exception. This piece is visually stunning, made from high quality materials whilst also being a practical and stylish storage solution which doesn’t take up much room – perfect if you are short on space.

Directional Coffee Table, Ilan Dei

2. Directional Coffee Table, Ilan Dei

Ilan Dei designed the Directional Coffee Table as a notable tribute to European modernism as an eye-catching statement piece which really provides a sense of elegance without succumbing to the typical stainless steel and glass of so many post-modernist pieces. Coffee and ivory in colour, these tables set the tone of a room beautifully and can wonderfully offset even the plainest of carpets.

Bar Stool, Florence Knoll

3. Bar Stool, Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll was a visionary designer who produced a number of unique pieces during her prolific career. Her piece Bar Stool is polished, stylish and would be a welcomed addition to any modern kitchen bar. Made from highly polished stainless steel with a luxurious and comfortable leather seat, this piece has been repeatedly reproduced since it was first created due to its perennial allure.

Bar Stool, Florence Knoll

4. Caterpiller Chair, Vladimir Kagan

At first glance, this asymmetrical seat gives the impression of a large tone stone carving and this pseudo-organic interpretation of modernism give Kagan’s design a wonderful freshness whilst still remaining true to the core Modernist principles of pragmatism and challenging false harmony.

S Chair, Verner Panton

5. S Chair, Verner Panton

Verner Panton’s S Chair is a feat of 20th century furniture design. This was the first ever piece made from one single form. Panton made it using injection-moulded plastic and then went on to experiment with other materials, producing another chair with the same design but this time using fibreglass. This piece is durable, stackable as well as being modern and stylish – a win win in the design stakes.

Alice Chair, Giorgio Cattelan

6. Alice Chair, Giorgio Cattelan

With a strong meditteranean influence, this new piece by Cattelan combines ergonic elements of modernism (famously espoused by Charles Eames) in its soft curved seat with the bold lines of Philippe Starck in the backrest. The Alice Chair is an accomplished tribute to Modernism’s experimentation with materials and bold colour choices.

Arco Lamp, Achille Castiglioni

7. Arco Lamp, Achille Castiglioni

This lamp’s design is inspired by the street lamp. The long overarching arm means this piece is great for creating soft, atmospheric lighting whilst also focusing on certain areas of a room. Made from highly durable, sturdy materials including a strong marble base and stainless steel lamp, this lamp has achieved iconic status in the furniture world. Last year the Arco Lamp reached it’s 50th birthday and is still being faithfully reproduced to this day.

Oslo Barstool, Tonin Casa

8. Oslo Barstool, Tonin Casa

In this fantastic modern piece, Tonin Casa shows influences from Charles Eames, Harry Bertoia, and most notably Eero Saarinsen’s Tulip Chair. The single piece of high density plastic used for the seat, harks back to these Modernist designers who first experimented with what was then a brand new material. The Oslo Barstool’s smooth curved lines elegantly pour into the aluminium base and add an elegant complement to any breakfast bar or garden decking.

For More Information Or To Buy These Products

Vertical Sideboard, George Nelson (Available at Swivel)

Directional Coffee Table, Ilan Dei (Available at Contemporary Furniture)

Bar Stool, Florence Knoll (Available at Swivel)

Caterpiller Chair, Vladimir Kagan (Available at Contemporary Furniture)

S Chair, Verner Panton (Available at Swivel)

Alice Chair, Giorgio Cattelan (Available at Contemporary Furniture)

Arco Lamp, Achille Castiglioni (Available at Swivel)

Oslo Barstool, Tonin Casa (Available at Contemporary Furniture)

About John Kenyon

is the National Sales Manager at Advance Furniture located in Western New York, the largest retailer of Modern and Scandinavian furniture in the region. He welcomes visitors from across the country who travel to purchase from his exclusive selection of contemporary furniture and enjoy the services of experienced sales staff and interior designers. You can visit his online storefront at