While many of us think “old world” when we think of Europe, in the area of furniture and design, Europeans seem to look more to the future than the past. So much of contemporary furniture has its origin in Europe. Why is it that Europeans seem to embrace this newness quicker than we do in America?
For the past several years, a few outdoor furniture manufacturers have begun to introduce styles that are more contemporary. Living in a region of the country like the South, where a new version of a ball and claw foot is news to tastemakers and home decorators alike, we were sure that this would never be successful.
It has taken time but we are seeing a gradual shift toward acceptance of more contemporary styles. Though consumers haven’t embraced “way-out” contemporary, they have chosen pieces which feature simplicity of line and honesty of materials.
This isn’t really surprising. Without ruffles and skirts to hide behind, contemporary furniture design has to be better. With no curlicues or scroll work to capture one’s attention, the integrity of the piece must stand naked for the customer to see.
Simple styling and the combining of materials allows us to pair contemporary pieces with furniture we may already have, allowing us to create an eclectic design.
Often these pieces are almost sculptural in design, allowing them to stand out—different, yes, but in a good way.
It’s refreshing to see a change coming in the world of outdoor furniture—both from the manufacturers who are willing to step out of the box and create new designs and from the consumers who are looking for something different which reflects their lifestyle.
Baby boomers are beginning to downsize and lighten up in terms of both how much they own and in the style of those things they add to their new homes. Gen Xers and Y’s are gravitating to in-town living and smaller spaces. They want to be close to the action and are more receptive of living in mixed-use areas, with shopping and dining near the place they call home. Sleek contemporary styles suit each of these generations well and are an Outdoorlicious! trend which I predict will continue to grow.