In every category there are true classics that will not be defeated by time, changing, trends, or fads. In a very design oriented market such as home furnishings, only the truly great designs will make the cut generation after generation. If you were to ask someone currently shopping for furniture who is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe or Charles Eames they would probably have little or no idea. Only after having seen their timeless creations would it be obvious that these great visionaries combined excellent quality with superb design.
The 1920’s spawned a multitude of designers, whose work is still much sought after including the Barcelona chair, the Le Corbusier chaise lounge and Eero Saarinen’s collection of tables. I love the look of a classic modern piece in just about any environment, and most of the styles are simplistic enough to be a perfect compliment without dominating the theme of the room. One of my personal favorites is Isamu Noguchi’s rounded triangle coffee table. Designed in the 1940’s it looks great with even the latest modern sofa designs.
As with anything, you get what you pay for. The originals as well as the current productions by the licensed manufacturers will cost you. It is important to realize that long after your other furniture has worn out or become outdated, the true classics will not only be around, but still in style. I talk with consumers all the time that brag about the Eames chair they have had for 40 years, or the Marcel Breuer black and chrome club chair that looks as good today as it did in 1925. Do be careful when shopping for these timeless beauties as there are a lot of knock offs and cheaper reproductions. The price is often enough to entice the consumer but know you are not getting the real deal and often the materials as well as the construction have been compromised. I have visited some resale stores specializing in the old classics and they do hold their value, but this may be an alternative to buying new if the cost is prohibitive. One company specializing in a complete collection of the classics is Alivar Museum. They consider the entire line to be a true “part of the history of furniture design” and “everlasting”. I have seen some of their items in person and can vouch for the quality. No matter which way you go, enjoy your furniture and make the design an extension of your personality!