“… the primary function of furniture and objects here is to personify human relationships, to fill the space that they share between them, and to be inhabited by a soul.” —Jean Baudrillard
The wave of modern furniture that we are stepping down from sheds the symbolism of furniture for tact. Modern furnitures are mobile, flexible, stripped down functional expedients. Though very rational, there is a certain impoverishment to them; an absence of style, and an absence of meaning. It is no surprise then that in many current furniture trends we can see everything that modern is not—Colorful, over the top things: lumpy, stylized, narrative, highly textured, unclean, even unusable.
Furniture has a unique capacity to be intensely personal, in a way not well-afforded for by the modern aesthetic. My nightstand at home is one from Amazon, originally intended for my youngest brother, but so unparticular in its character, so flexible, stripped down, and functional, that it was easily passed over unassembled to me, when I moved to Philadelphia. It is such the epitome of unremarkable—a dull gray rectangular box of particleboard, with one drawer, that came flat in a box—that the contents housed within it feel almost disgustingly personal. A nightstand is actually a repository for the really intimate stuff of life. I’d like not to name what’s in my nightstand, but well, as Brian so aptly put it, “If you could you could put your whole life out on the table, you wouldn’t have a drawer in your nightstand.”