Webster defines modern as of, relating to or typical of the present or recent times as well as of or relating to advanced style, technique, or technology. The definition of contemporary, according to Webster is modern, current, or belonging to the same time period. No wonder that people use these terms interchangeably in terms of design styles.
Modern" design is really short for Modernism. To explain Modernism, I have to
take you on a brief historical tour, because this style goes back about 60 years:World War II limited design activity throughout the world, particularly in Europe. The War ended and our soldiers came home in 1945.
Housing developments, usually the work of speculative builders, occupied increasing areas of land in the suburbs fed by networks of highways. While residential design remained a bit stagnant, and attached to “traditional” style, changes were occurring to change that.
|Eero Saarinen Tulip Table|
|Vinyl Floor- whew!|
|Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair|
Plaster gave way to factory- produced boards known as “sheet-rock” or “dry-wall,” for ceilings and walls. Lighting and air circulation grilles could be integrated into ceiling design.
Modernism was truly an international movement, with famous designers and architects from Italy, Scandinavian countries, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Britain joining with the United States. Check out my blog written July 10, 2012 entitled, I Love Modern Interiors for some of those designs and names.
Characteristics of Modernism include the use of natural materials such as wood, leather, cotton and linen. Polished metal, molded plywood and plastic are also important to the mix, however. Floors were occasionally adorned with area rugs of synthetic & natural blends, but hardwood was more the norm with vinyl being used in kitchens and eating areas. Furniture, even the upholstered variety uses straight, clean lines and narrow legs raising it off the floor. Walls are generally white, and the overall look is one of neutrals, with pops of color used only on accessories such as throw pillows.
|Canadian House Magazine|
Contemporary Style is a term that means that you are utilizing the most up-to-date materials, techniques, and concepts. To an extent, it’s also what is popular at this moment in time. It can include the user’s preferences when it comes to interior design, so just about any style (or a combination of styles) can be considered Contemporary. Examples for today’s home designs include:
1. We can “afford” to have larger windows that ever before because we’ve learned so much about effective insulation. These windows aren’t always rectilinear in form either: curves can be placed in window design. We’ve also advanced in the engineering of these shapes to support more weight with less framework.
|Univ. of Cincinnati building skylight|
2. Spaces tend to have an open concept design, providing areas within a home, rather than individual rooms.
|Green Tea Design|
3. Lighting is making such amazing strides forward that one can control every light in a home with a control panel, or with an electric eye that communicates with a system so that lights come on and/or go off depending on the amount of sunlight available, or your schedule, or any number of possible options.
4. Climate within a home, including temperature and humidity can be controlled efficiently and effectively just as lighting is controlled.
5. Security systems have improved immensely for the home owner. Forgot to turn off the tea pot on the range? No worries- you can control that!
6. Sound (music) or silence can also be controlled room by room or area by area.
|Source: Avenue Calgary Magazine|
7. Window coverings can also control light and privacy with a control panel or a remote.
|Hunter Douglas Window Coverings|
8. Finishes on homes tend to utilize natural elements such as stone and wood, and there’s attention given to details such as moldings and millwork.
Contemporary design, above all supports the umbrella of sustainability in all materials, techniques, and concepts. As we move forward, Contemporary Design will change as we adapt to our environment and find new means of achieving energy efficiency. Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s next! How about you?Questions?
Need help in deciding what works best in your interiors? Write back and we’ll “talk” online, or give me a call and we’ll discuss your challenges as well as your design needs and desires. Check out my website, www.TransformationsforInteriors.com or check out my Pinterest collections http://pinterest.com/shelleynordlund/ for more inspiration.