Furniture

Furniture

Overview
Furniture is the mass noun
Mass noun
In linguistics, a mass noun is a noun that refers to some entity as an undifferentiated unit rather than as something with discrete subsets. Non-count nouns are best identified by their syntactic properties, and especially in contrast with count nouns. The semantics of mass nouns are highly...

 for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things. Storage furniture such as a nightstand
Nightstand
A nightstand, alternatively night table or bedside table, is a small table or cabinet designed to stand beside a bed or elsewhere in a bedroom. It serves the role of a coffee table during nighttime hours, at a persons bedside....

 often makes use of door
Door
A door is a movable structure used to open and close off an entrance, typically consisting of a panel that swings on hinges or that slides or rotates inside of a space....

s, drawers, shelves and locks to contain, organize or secure smaller objects such as clothes, tools, books, and household goods.
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Encyclopedia
Furniture is the mass noun
Mass noun
In linguistics, a mass noun is a noun that refers to some entity as an undifferentiated unit rather than as something with discrete subsets. Non-count nouns are best identified by their syntactic properties, and especially in contrast with count nouns. The semantics of mass nouns are highly...

 for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things. Storage furniture such as a nightstand
Nightstand
A nightstand, alternatively night table or bedside table, is a small table or cabinet designed to stand beside a bed or elsewhere in a bedroom. It serves the role of a coffee table during nighttime hours, at a persons bedside....

 often makes use of door
Door
A door is a movable structure used to open and close off an entrance, typically consisting of a panel that swings on hinges or that slides or rotates inside of a space....

s, drawers, shelves and locks to contain, organize or secure smaller objects such as clothes, tools, books, and household goods. (See List of furniture types.)

Furniture can be a product of design and is considered a form of decorative art
Decorative art
The decorative arts is traditionally a term for the design and manufacture of functional objects. It includes interior design, but not usually architecture. The decorative arts are often categorized in opposition to the "fine arts", namely, painting, drawing, photography, and large-scale...

. In addition to furniture's functional role, it can serve a symbolic or religious purpose. Domestic furniture works to create, in conjunction with furnishings such as clock
Clock
A clock is an instrument used to indicate, keep, and co-ordinate time. The word clock is derived ultimately from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". A silent instrument missing such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece...

s and lighting
Lighting
Lighting or illumination is the deliberate application of light to achieve some practical or aesthetic effect. Lighting includes the use of both artificial light sources such as lamps and light fixtures, as well as natural illumination by capturing daylight...

, comfortable and convenient interior spaces. Furniture can be made from many materials, including metal, plastic, and wood. Furniture can be made using a variety of woodworking joints
Woodworking joints
Joinery is a part of woodworking that involves joining together pieces of wood, to create furniture, structures, toys, and other items. Some wood joints employ fasteners, bindings, or adhesives, while others use only wood elements. The characteristics of wooden joints - strength, flexibility,...

 which often reflect the local culture.

History


Furniture in fashion has been a part of the human experience since the development of non-nomadic cultures. Evidence of furniture survives from the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 Period and later in antiquity
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

 in the form of paintings, such as the wall Mural
Mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

s discovered at Pompeii
Pompeii
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Along with Herculaneum, Pompeii was destroyed and completely buried during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning...

; sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, and examples have been excavated in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and found in tombs in Ghiordes, in modern day Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

.

Neolithic Period



A range of unique stone furniture has been excavated in Skara Brae
Skara Brae
Skara Brae is a large stone-built Neolithic settlement, located on the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It consists of ten clustered houses, and was occupied from roughly 3180 BCE–2500 BCE...

, a Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 village located in Orkney. The site dates from 3100–2500 BC and due to a shortage of wood in Orkney, the people of Skara Brae were forced to build with stone, a readily available material that could be worked easily and turned into items for use within the household. Each house
House
A house is a building or structure that has the ability to be occupied for dwelling by human beings or other creatures. The term house includes many kinds of different dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes to free standing individual structures...

 shows a high degree of sophistication and was equipped with an extensive assortment of stone furniture, ranging from cupboards, dressers and beds to shelves, stone seats, and limpet
Limpet
Limpet is a common name for a number of different kinds of saltwater and freshwater snails ; it is applied to those snails that have a simple shell which is more or less conical in shape, and either is not spirally coiled, or appears not to be coiled in the adult snails.The name limpet is most...

 tanks. The stone dresser was regarded as the most important as it symbolically faces the entrance in each house and is therefore the first item seen when entering, perhaps displaying symbolic objects, including decorative artwork such as several Neolithic Carved Stone Balls
Carved Stone Balls
Carved Stone Balls are petrospheres, usually round and rarely oval. They have from 3 to 160 protruding knobs on the surface. Their size is fairly uniform, they date from the late Neolithic to possibly the Iron Age and are mainly found in Scotland...

 also found at the site.

The Classical World


Early furniture has been excavated from the 8th-century BC Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

n tumulus
Tumulus
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

, the Midas Mound, in Gordion, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. Pieces found here include table
Table (furniture)
A table is a form of furniture with a flat and satisfactory horizontal upper surface used to support objects of interest, for storage, show, and/or manipulation...

s and inlaid serving stands. There are also surviving works from the 9th-8th-century BC Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n palace of Nimrud
Nimrud
Nimrud is an ancient Assyrian city located south of Nineveh on the river Tigris in modern Ninawa Governorate Iraq. In ancient times the city was called Kalḫu. The Arabs called the city Nimrud after the Biblical Nimrod, a legendary hunting hero .The city covered an area of around . Ruins of the city...

. The earliest surviving carpet, the Pazyryk
Pazyryk
The Pazyryk burials are a number of Iron Age tombs found in the Pazyryk Valley of the Ukok plateau in the Altai Mountains, Siberia, south of the modern city of Novosibirsk, Russia; the site is close to the borders with China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.The tombs are Scythian kurgans, that is...

 Carpet was discovered in a frozen tomb in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 and has been dated between the 6th and 3rd century BC. Recovered Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ian furniture includes 3rd millennium BC beds discovered at Tarkhan
Tarkhan
Tarkhan is an ancient Central Asian title used by various Indo-European Tarkhan (Old Turkic Tarqan; Mongolian: Darkhan; ; ; ; alternative spellings Tarkan, Tarkhaan, Tarqan, Tarchan, Tarxan, Tarcan or Targan) is an ancient Central Asian title used by various Indo-European Tarkhan (Old Turkic...

 as place for the deceased, a c. 2550 BC gilded bed and to chairs from the tomb of Queen Hetepheres, and many examples (boxes, beds, chairs) from c. 1550 to 1200 BC from Thebes. Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 furniture design beginning in the 2nd millennium BC, including beds and the klismos chair, is preserved not only by extant works, but by images on Greek vases. The 1738 and 1748 excavations of Herculaneum
Herculaneum
Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows in AD 79, located in the territory of the current commune of Ercolano, in the Italian region of Campania in the shadow of Mt...

 and Pompeii
Pompeii
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Along with Herculaneum, Pompeii was destroyed and completely buried during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning...

 revealed Roman furniture, preserved in the ashes of the 79 A.D. eruption of Vesuvius, to the eighteenth century.

Early Modern Europe


The furniture of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 was usually heavy, oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

, and ornamented with carved designs. Along with the other arts, the Italian Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 of the fourteenth and fifteenth century marked a rebirth in design, often inspired by the Greco-Roman tradition. A similar explosion of design, and renaissance of culture in general, occurred in Northern Europe, starting in the fifteenth century. The seventeenth century, in both Southern and Northern Europe, was characterized by opulent, often gilded Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 designs that frequently incorporated a profusion of vegetal and scrolling ornament. Starting in the eighteenth century, furniture designs began to develop more rapidly. Although there were some styles that belonged primarily to one nation, such as Palladianism in Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 or Louis Quinze
Louis Quinze
The Louis XV style or Louis Quinze was a French Rococo style in the decorative arts, and, to a lesser degree, architecture.Datable to the personal reign of Louis XV , the style was characterised by supreme craftsmanship and the integration of the arts of cabinetmaking, painting, and...

 in French furniture
French furniture
French furniture comprises both the most sophisticated furniture made in Paris for king and court, aristocrats and rich upper bourgeoisie, on the one hand, and French provincial furniture made in the provincial cities and towns many of which, like Lyon and Liège, retained cultural identities...

, others, such as the Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 and Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 were perpetuated throughout Western Europe.

There is in Italy a geographical area named Brianza .
Its economy included and includes production of furniture, furnishing from 1748.
The most important towns for this economy are in zones near Cantù with Arosio, Cabiate, Inverigo, Mariano Comense and Lissone with Barlassina, Bovisio Masciago, Briosco, Cesano Maderno, Desio, Giussano, Lentate sul Seveso, Limbiate, Macherio, Seregno, Seveso, Verano Brianza; to remember also zone near Renate.

19th Century


The nineteenth century is usually defined by concurrent revival styles, including Gothic
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

, Neoclassicism, Rococo, and the EastHaven Movement. The design reform
Reform
Reform means to put or change into an improved form or condition; to amend or improve by change of color or removal of faults or abuses, beneficial change, more specifically, reversion to a pure original state, to repair, restore or to correct....

s of the late century introduced the Aesthetic movement and the Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

. Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 was influenced by both of these movements.

Early North American


This design was in many ways rooted in necessity and emphasizes both form and materials. Early American chairs and tables are often constructed with turned spindles and chair backs often constructed with steaming to bend the wood. Wood choices tend to be deciduous hardwoods with a particular emphasis on the wood of edible or fruit bearing trees such as Cherry or Walnut.

Modernism


The first three-quarters of the twentieth century are often seen as the march towards Modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

. Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

, De Stijl
De Stijl
De Stijl , propagating the group's theories. Next to van Doesburg, the group's principal members were the painters Piet Mondrian , Vilmos Huszár , and Bart van der Leck , and the architects Gerrit Rietveld , Robert van 't Hoff , and J.J.P. Oud...

, Bauhaus
Bauhaus
', commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term stood for "School of Building".The Bauhaus school was founded by...

, Wiener Werkstätte
Wiener Werkstätte Style
With the foundation of the Wiener Werkstätte in 1903, a new artistic style was born that came to be known as the Wiener-Werkstätte-Stil . Beginning with the 14th Exhibition of the Vienna Sezession in 1902, the radical distinctiveness of certain Viennese artists began to emerge, setting a foundation...

, and Vienna Secession
Vienna Secession
The Vienna Secession was formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian artists who had resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists, housed in the Vienna Künstlerhaus. This movement included painters, sculptors, and architects...

 designers all worked to some degree within the Modernist idiom. Born from the Bauhaus
Bauhaus
', commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term stood for "School of Building".The Bauhaus school was founded by...

 and Art Deco/Streamline styles came the post WWII "Mid-Century Modern
Mid-century modern
Mid-Century modern is an architectural, interior and product design form that generally describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture, and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965...

" style using materials developed during the war including lamenated plywood, plastics and fiberglass. Prime examples include furniture designed by George Nelson Associates, Charles and Ray Eames, Paul McCobb
Paul McCobb
Paul McCobb was a modern furniture and industrial designer. McCobb was born in Medford, Massachusetts to Raymond and Winifred McCobb. Both his father and mother were born in Massachusetts although neither family originated there. His father's family being from Maine and his mother's family from...

, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Eero Saarinen, Harvey Probber, Vladamir Kagan and Danish modern
Danish modern
Danish modern, frequently capitalized as Danish Modern, is a vintage style of minimalist wood furniture from Denmark associated with the Danish design movement...

 designers including Finn Juhl
Finn Juhl
Finn Juhl was a Danish architect, interior and industrial designer, most known for his furniture design. He was one of the leading figures in the creation of "Danish design" in the 1940s and he was the designer who introduced Danish Modern to America.-Early life and education:Finn Juhl was born on...

 and Arne Jacobsen
Arne Jacobsen
Arne Emil Jacobsen, usually known as Arne Jacobsen, was a Danish architect and designer. He is remembered for contributing so much to architectural Functionalism as well as for the worldwide success he enjoyed with simple but effective chair designs.-Early life and education:Arne Jacobsen was born...

. Postmodern
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 design, intersecting the Pop art
Pop art
Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art challenged tradition by asserting that an artist's use of the mass-produced visual commodities of popular culture is contiguous with the perspective of fine art...

 movement, gained steam in the 1960s and 70s, promoted in the 80s by groups such as the Italy-based Memphis movement.  Transitional furniture is intended to fill a place between Traditional and Modern tastes.

Ecodesign


With the great efforts from people, governments and companies, in order to manufacture products with more sustainability, there is a new line of furniture design that is based on environmentally friendly design, that is called Ecodesign
Ecodesign
Ecodesign is an approach to design of a product with special consideration for the environmental impacts of the product during its whole lifecycle. In a life cycle assessment the life cycle of a product is usually divided into procurement, manufacture, use and disposal.Ecodesign is a growing...

 and its use is increasing year after year.

Contemporary


One unique outgrowth of post-modern furniture design is Live edge
Live edge
Live edge or natural edge is a style of furniture where the carpenter incorporates the natural edge of the wood into the design of the piece. Live edge furniture often incorporates gnarly wood, such as Alligator Juniper, and salvaged wood that could not be used in conventional woodworking...

, heralding a return to natural shapes and textures within the home.

Asian history


Asian furniture
Asian furniture
The term Asian furniture or sometimes referred to Oriental furniture is a type of furniture that originated from the continent of Asia. Sometimes people also think of Asian furniture as a style of furniture that has Asian accents...

 has a quite distinct history. The traditions out of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Indonesia (Bali and Java) and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 are some of the best known, but places such as Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, and the countries of South East Asia have unique facets of their own.

The use of uncarved wood and bamboo and the use of heavy lacquers are well known Chinese styles. It is worth noting that China has an incredibly rich and diverse history, and architecture, religion, furniture and culture in general can vary incredibly from one dynasty to the next.

Traditional Japanese furniture is well known for its minimalist
Minimalism
Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts...

 style, extensive use of wood, high-quality craftsmanship and reliance on wood grain instead of painting or thick lacquer. Japanese chests are known as Tansu
Tansu
Tansu is the word for chest, chest of drawers or cupboard in Japanese. It is often used in the West to refer to traditional Japanese chests, handcrafted and made of fine woods, such as Hinoki , Keyaki , Kuri , Sugi and Kiri .Many collectors focus on finding antique Tansu...

, known for elaborate decorative iron work, and are some of the most sought-after of Japanese antiques. The antiques available generally date back to the Tokugawa era and Meiji era.

Types of wood to make furniture


All different type of woods have unique signature marks, that can help in easy identification of the type. Following are some characteristics that define the common type of wood used to make furniture
Ash (white ash)
Basswood
Beech
Birch (yellow birch)
Butternut
Cedar (Eastern red cedar)
Cherry (black cherry)
Gum (sweetgum, red gum)
Hickory (shagbark hickory)
Lauan (red lauan, white lauan)
Mahogany (New World mahogany, African mahogany)
Maple (sugar maple)
Oak (red oak, white oak)
Pine (white pine)
Redwood
Rosewood (Brazilian, Indian, or Ceylonese rosewood)
Sycamore
Teak
Walnut (black walnut, European walnut)

External links