In reference to furniture style, this comprises the period from 1650 to 1770 where symmetry, grandeur and strict regulations dominated. During the 18th century, the furniture art reached its peak in terms of stylistic refinement and perfect artisanship, and different forms of the Baroque emerged. Many claim that after this epoch, nobody ever created furniture of such perfection and preciousness again. Exceptionally skilled artists invented a new type of furniture, "the commode" or dresser, and created writing desks of unsurpassed beauty.
Regence: ca. 1715 - 1723, the period between Louis XIV and Louis XV. The stringent interior design under Louis XIV changed into a more casual style.
CA. 1730 - 1770
The rather jocular and playful style is determined in Germany by the French King Louis XV. Rococo artists used a florid and graceful approach achieving a style that was ornate. Showing curves, asymmetrical designs, and gold, Rococo art had witty and playful themes, unlike the political Baroque. The decoration of Rococo rooms was a complete work of art with ornate and elegant furniture, small sculptures, and ornamental mirrors. The dominant Ornament Rococo was called “Rocaille”. The word Rococo is regarded as a combination of the French rocaille (stone) and coquilles (shell), since these objects were predominantly used as decorative motifs.
- Louis XV: ca. 1723 - 1760, refers to the French characteristics of Rococo under Louis XV.
- Transition: ca. 1760 - 1774, is the transition from graceful Louis XV to the stricter Louis XVI. Forms and structures become straight, losing their asymmetric buoyancy.
CA. 1770 - 1820
Follows the Baroque and Rococo epochs and actually also includes the Empire (ca. 1800 – 1815) and the beginnings of the Biedermeier. The Classicism was influenced by the simplicity of the ancient Greek and Roman patterns, and again straight lines were used in architecture. Curved lines actually disappeared as early as in 1768, and so did the curved legs of the chairs, tables and cabinets, as well as the curved frame of these pieces of furniture.
CA. 1805 - 1848
Today, Empire and Biedermeier furniture are among the most popular antiques because these simple, exquisitely crafted, low-key, yet in no way purist pieces of furniture, fit almost perfectly into our modern apartments and houses. They are also an extension of the neoclassical style. The boundaries between the furniture style of the Empire and Biedermeier are not strictly set. They therefore have as straight and tapered features, or saber-shaped chair and table legs as well as straight edges and right angles.
Furniture in the early Biedermeier style until 1815 showed very strict and austere designs, often without any decorations or embellishments. During the 1830s, the influence of the neo-baroque shape perception in design became obvious: the edges rounded off, and the backs of the typical Biedermeier sofas were given their characteristic verve.
CA. 1850 - 1900
In the context of art history, this epoch called for recourse to earlier styles, and so it is sometimes called "Neo-Rococo". The first phase of historicism known in France under the "citizen king" Louis Philippe, influenced all of Europe.
In England, this epoch was called the after the young queen "Victorian", whereas in Germany and Austria, they used the terms "Second Rococo" or "Viennese Baroque".
This epoch manifested itself in more animated forms of furniture, in richer ornamentation, including the use of flowers and rococo curlicues.
CA. 1890 - 1910
A French term meaning “new art”. Whether called Art Nouveau in Paris, Secession in Austria, Jugendstil in Germany, Modern Style in England, or Stile Liberty in Italy: They all wanted to create something new, something special and original. This epoch was inspired by natural structures, such as plants and flowers, everyone tried to recreate organic forms of growth.
Architecture and furniture designs showed two-dimensional, decorative, wide-swinging lines, as well as subdued, but sometimes also dazzling, bold colors. This so-called total art style embraced architecture, interior design and the decorative arts including lighting, jewelry, and furniture, featuring elegance with a dash of decadence.
CA. 1915 - 1933
Art Deco is the style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I and connects to the late Art Nouveau. It influenced the design of furniture, buildings, jewellery, fashion, cars, cinemas, trains, ocean liners, and even everyday objects like vacuum cleaners or for example radios. At its birth in the early 20th century between 1910 and 1915, Art Deco was an explosion of colours, featuring bright and often clashing hues, frequently in floral designs, presented in furniture, upholstery, carpets, screens, wallpaper and fabrics. The name itself - short for Arts Décoratifs - came from the “Exposition Internationale des Art Decoratifs et Industriels” - the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris in 1925. Art Deco combined modern styles with fantastic craftsmanship and exquisite materials. During its heyday, it represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress. Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism and the famous Vienna Secession. The Empire State Building, the American Radiator Building, the Chrysler Building and other skyscrapers that were built in NYC during the 1920s and 1930s are exceptional monuments to this timeless style.
CA. 1940 - 1970
Broadly described it is a design movement in interior, product, graphic design, architecture, and urban development that was popular from the 1940s to the 1960s. The term was used descriptively as early as the mid-1950s and was defined as a design movement by Cara Greenberg in her 1984 book “Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s”. It is now recognized by scholars and museums worldwide as a significant design movement. This renown design aesthetic is modern in style and construction, aligned with the Modernist movement of the period. Characterizing for this period are the simple, clean lines and honest use of materials like nutwood, teak, rosewood or mahogany and generally doesn´t include any decorative ornamentations.
Some important furniture designs were born in this period, for example the renown "Barcelona Chair" by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, or the world famous design icon „Eames Lounge Chair", which is still going to be produced until today. Mid Century design has a big revival and popularity nowadays and can be found in many interior magazines around the globe. Especially "northern" designs from Denmark, Finland, Sweden are in high demand.