Combining the Classic with the Contemporary
Modern world furniture is changing with the times
Furniture in the modern world has become more versatile, functional and smart. Be it through edgy designs, transforming storage, or having outlets for various devices, contemporary furniture is changing with the times. Fashion and furniture industry also go handin-hand when it comes to being contemporary. Furniture trends especially for colours, textures and patterns follow the runways of New York, Milan and Paris. And as these change seasonally, so does the furniture industry. Domenic Zaffino, founder of Mobilia Furniture in Dubai feels that it’s the fabrics, leathers, metals, timbers and accessories used in furniture design that change their colours like a chameleon to set the tone for the trend.
“The term contemporary means the present, existing, what is popular or in vogue today. This does not mean that we see drastic changes in shapes and forms in furniture designs. I think, that these days the term contemporary does not have one particular style or look. It is made up of many trends which are contemporary all at the same time and can be amalgamated in the same space,” adds Zaffino. Modern furniture started to make a mainstream appearance in the 1950’s and many say the modernist art movement influenced it. Many classic pieces were designed in the 1920’s and are still in production today.
However, Zaffino has definitely seen a shift towards more contemporary furniture in the last decade. “There is still a market for traditional furniture but as the younger generation enter a stage of their lives where they will purchase furniture, they are leaning towards more modern styles.” Zaffino also feels that any one particular furniture design is hardly used in one room. “I see that most homes and interior decorators splash an accent piece of traditional furniture like a console or hall table in bold colours in a contemporary setting to break the norm. “The design style is getting blurred now. If the room, café or lobby looks good aesthetically then it really doesn’t matter if the furniture used is all contemporary, traditional or a mix of both.”
The current trend includes solid timber and timber veneer furniture in lighter species. Marble is making a comeback paired with wood and metal. Smart furniture with charging modules and connectivity is here and growing in popularity and vintage accent pieces are becoming prominent. Zaffino is seeing a shift in the market when it comes to sofas. “I am seeing larger cosy sofa sets in L shape configurations and U shapes to fill the large spaces and create a chill zone.”
“If 2017 was a colour it would be green, from light to emerald green, we are seeing accent walls, full sofas in fabric and leather, throw cushions, and floor rugs being dominated by these colours.” There are some trends that have stayed like the mid century modern furniture. “Mid century modern furniture has dominated over the past several years and shows no sign of slowing down. In addition to the mid century Scandinavian classics, I see many furniture pieces inspired by these retro designs which are very popular,” adds Zaffino Zaffino sees a lot of spaces in Dubai and the UAE using contemporary furniture.
“Dubai is a modern cosmopolitan city with brilliant architecturally designed buildings and therefore the spaces are organically filled with contemporary furniture. “With 200 nationalities in one city, we do see many varied tastes and ideas when it comes to interiors, but I believe that the foundation of most interiors here is modern contemporary and then accessorized with the individuals or companies’ core ethnicity which has exposed me to some amazing and sometimes intriguing ensembles.” He feels majority of his clients aim for modern interiors using furniture with clean lines, light interiors with splashes of bold colours. “It’s very rare now that clients are looking to live or work in a dark coloured, cluttered and overbearing environment.”
Even restaurants and hotels are looking at contemporary furniture to stand out from the crowd. “Like Las Vegas the hotels and restaurants in Dubai have to offer something different to set themselves apart from each other. I feel that using ‘edgy’ furniture is one way that they can perhaps attract attention and also create a beautiful interior. “While being cutting edge or modern in your furniture selection, the key fundamental is comfort and this should never be compromised to achieve a look. I have seen many stunning interiors but that first impression quickly fades once you sit in an uncomfortable dining chair, sofa or a table where functionality has been overlooked.” While there are no fast moving or must-have contemporary furniture pieces according to Zaffino, he feels it all depends on personal taste, current furniture and the space available.
“One can refresh and update the interiors quite easily and economically by changing or adding throw cushions on the sofa, putting in a new floor rug, adding some art, or a little bit of drama with a high hanging floor lamp, or an accent chair like a rotating arm chair or chaise lounge as a statement piece.”
Dubai is a modern cosmopolitan city with brilliant architecturally designed buildings and therefore the spaces are organically filled with contemporary furniture