Modern Lacquer

Modern Furniture Design

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw sweeping social change and major scientific advances—both of which contributed to a new aesthetic: Modernism. Rejecting the rigidity of Victorian artistic conventions, Modernists sought a new means of expression. References to the natural world and ornate classical embellishments gave way to the sleek simplicity of the Machine Age. Architect Philip Johnson characterized the hallmarks of modernism as “machine-like simplicity, smoothness or surface [and] avoidance of ornament.”


     Early practitioners of modernist design include the De Stijl (“The Style”) group, founded in the Netherlands in 1917, and the Bauhaus School, founded two years later in Germany. Followers of both groups produced sleek, spare designs—many of which became icons of daily life in the 20th century. The Modernists rejected both natural and historical references and relied primarily on industrial materials such as metal, glass, plywood, and, later, plastics. While Bauhaus principles Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe created furniture from mass-produced, chrome-plated steel, American visionaries like Charles and Ray Eames worked in materials as novel as molded plywood and fiberglass. Today, Breuer’s Wassily chair, Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair, and the Eames’s Lounge chair are emblems of progressive design and vintage originals are prized cornerstones of collections.


     It’s difficult to overstate the influence that Modernism continues to wield over designers and architects—and equally difficult to overstate how revolutionary it was when it first appeared a century ago. But because modernist designs are so simple, they can blend in seamlessly with just about any type of décor. Don’t overlook them.

Cream Cloud Two-Panel Lacquer Screen
Cream Cloud Two-Panel Lacquer Screen
Robert Kuo
21st Century and Contemporary Chinese Modern Screens and Room Dividers
Lacquer
Hand-Carved Cloud Design Cream Lacquer Wood Base White Bronze Feet Lacquer is a technique that dates back to the Shang dynasty, circa 1600-1100 B.C. The pieces are made with a...
Robert Kuo Cream Lacquer Six-Panel Screen
Robert Kuo Cream Lacquer Six-Panel Screen
Robert Kuo
Early 2000s Chinese Modern Paintings and Screens
Lacquer
Chinese lacquer is a highly regarded art form and the earliest example dates back to the Shang dynasty, circa 1600-1100 B.C. The term lacquer refers to the name of the substance and ...
Leaf Design Small Cabinet, Cream Lacquer
Leaf Design Small Cabinet, Cream Lacquer
Robert Kuo
Early 2000s Chinese Modern Cabinets
Wood, Lacquer
Lacquer is a laborious and time-consuming process. After it is tapped from the trees, lacquer needs to be boiled and strained to rid of impurities and prepare it as a coating. The la...
Scroll Stand, Cream Lacquer, Hand-Carved, Limited Edition
Scroll Stand, Cream Lacquer, Hand-Carved, Limit...
Robert Kuo
21st Century and Contemporary Modern More Desk Accessories
Wood, Lacquer
Scroll stand. Cream lacquer. Hand-carved. Wood-base. Limited edition decorative object. Lacquer is a technique that dates back to the Shang dynasty, circa 1600-1100 BC. The pi...
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