Modern Secretaires

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 The Modernists rejected both natural and historical references and relied primarily on industrial materials such as metal, glass, plywood, and, later, plastics.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.

Shelving System with Integrated Bar or Secretaire by Osvaldo Borsani
Shelving System with Integrated Bar or Secretai...
Osvaldo Borsani
Vintage 1950s Italian Modern Dry Bars
Brass, Glass, Walnut
Shelving system with integrated drop-front bar or secretaire by Osvaldo Borsani, with inset reverse-painted glass panel attributed to Lucio Fontana, manufactured by Arredamento Bors...
Amuneal's Loft 4 Post Work Suite
Amuneal's Loft 4 Post Work Suite
Amuneal, Amuneal
2010s American Modern Desks and Writing Tables
Aluminum, Brass, Steel, Oak
The loft work suite is a modular office system based on Amuneal’s loft shelving system. Posts in blackened steel are coupled with solid brass machined fittings in a champagne finish....
Secretaire by StyleArte, Italy, 1970s
Secretaire by StyleArte, Italy, 1970s
Vintage 1970s Italian Modern Secretaires
Lacquer
Unusual secretaire, lacquered in blue with rhomboid and leaves decor. The top has a foldable writing surface and several drawers and compartments. The large drawer underneath has the...
CO2, Console-Desk by Benjamin Faure for Le Point D, Contemporary Furniture
CO2, Console-Desk by Benjamin Faure for Le Poin...
Le point D, Benjamin Faure
2010s French Modern Secretaires
Steel, Wood
When closed, CO2 has simple thin lines with slightly wider legs to make it modern and easy to fit. If you open the lid, CO2 reveals a surprising treasure. They are four hidden stora...
Unique Cabinetmakers Console Secretary Desk in Swiss Pearwood
Unique Cabinetmakers Console Secretary Desk in ...
Unknown
Vintage 1980s Swiss Modern Desks and Writing Tables
Very heavy quality and outstanding cabinetmakers made to order piece. Very heavy and well made. Even the four legs are invisible high adjustable. An unique addition to every modern h...
Modernist Willem Penaat Secretary Cabinet for Metz & Co, Netherlands, 1930
Modernist Willem Penaat Secretary Cabinet for M...
Metz & Co., Willem Penaat
Vintage 1930s Dutch Modern Cabinets
Chrome, Nickel, Wood
This rare secretary cabinet was designed by Willem Penaat (1875-1957) and manufactured by Metz & Co in Amsterdam in 1930. Penaat worked as a furniture and interior designer for the ...
Rare Louis Vuitton File Folder Case
Rare Louis Vuitton File Folder Case
Louis Vuitton
Early 20th Century French Modern Secretaires
Leather
A very rare and unusual Louis Vuitton case, most likely a special order made in early 20th century. Exterior of the case is made of calf's leather, interior dyed leather. A deep blue...
Rare Lajos Kozma Bar Cabinet or Secretary
Rare Lajos Kozma Bar Cabinet or Secretary
Lajos Kozma
Vintage 1930s Hungarian Modern Secretaires
Rosewood, Walnut
Stunning and rare 1930s marquetry starburst front bar cabinet or secretary by Hungarian architect Lajos Kozma. The cabinet is in wonderful original condition with very few signs of age.
Rare Sesamo Secretary by Frattini for Bernini
Rare Sesamo Secretary by Frattini for Bernini
Gianfranco Frattini
Late 20th Century Italian Modern Secretaires
Designed by Gianfranco Frattini in 1981 and made by Bernini. Signed and in good condition.
Gilbert Rohde Secretary in Cerused Oak
Gilbert Rohde, Kroehler Mfg. Co.
Vintage 1930s American Modern Secretaires
Oak
Gilbert Rohde secretary for Kroehler Furniture's Smartset line. Pull down drawer front reveals a slide out desk with gallery of cubbies and drawer. This sits atop storage cabinet fla...
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