Aesthetic and practical...a real combination?
A chair is a chair, a table is a table and a bed is a bed. The old Dutch saying "a truth like a cow" therefore stands firm as a statement. It is furniture, not directly made for our comfort but rather with a more practical purpose. My grandfather was a skipper on a barge and the living environment was a long ship with cargo space and a cabin and a forecastle for everyday life. You wouldn't find lazy armchairs here and the only decoration hung on the wall so it didn't get in the way. As additional decoration, at least in my memory, there was the ancient sanseveria or lady's tongue, a plant that somehow always seems to survive. The copper decorative pot is still with a niece of mine. We are now also talking about the years after the Second World War when cosy, beautiful or aesthetically pleasing interiors were not yet an issue for the "ordinary people" and more something for the "chic people". Although it was the time of the world famous Gerrit Rietveld with his design of the famous Red-Blue chair, the slatted chair with vive colors. My grandfather had nothing to do with that. He was busy sailing up and down the river and moored at loading and unloading quays and had to take care of his family
Times have changed, so have our lifestyles and especially our social and economic situation. After the war there was the boom: more work, a larger middle class, social changes, so more time for ourselves and there was money left over for more luxury and comfort. My parents in the growing years of the Netherlands bought furniture, wall cabinets, inspired by Gerrit Rietveld, modern and colorful. Metal and rattan were affordable and fashionable. The coconut mats were on the floor. In short, an interior that also radiated atmosphere was already looked at in the sixties. Now my parents were a bit more modern in spirit. Because at the same time my uncles and aunts had those heavy and somewhat cumbersome oak furniture. They still exist those big sofas with cushions and those huge oak wall cabinets. A while ago I was looking for an apartment to rent in the Canary Islands and there I saw that furniture again, now and then frantically, in those 50m2 small flats. Let me leave it up to you as far as taste is concerned. They will be considered comfortable and practical.
In the second half of the last century, shops with an emphasis on home furnishings were also opened and you know the result. These shops became shopping boulevards towards the end of the century or nowadays the English word "mall" is also used. The living books also came to be ordered by post. A novelty was the Swedish chain that is causing a furore in Europe by combining nice furniture with mass production based on the assemble-it-yourself principle. Incidentally, that was fodder for the comedians to tell about useful or not handy do-it-yourselfers. Over the past 20 years, the internet has evolved to such an extent that we now order complete home furnishings online without any problems, as witnessed by our site from Berlano.com.
It is therefore clear that the last decades, since roughly 1950, have seen a complete change in our way of life. What was practical was allowed to remain, but we have added a complete experience to it. It got nicer, nicer, nicer. We created sitting areas, dining areas, the youth sat in beanbags, the elderly on the sofa and the armchairs were given ottomans and could lean back, with or without an electrical cord, which was the beginning of home automation. Another proof that the practical and aesthetic could find their way together. Design has become important but without compromising comfort and it must also have its purpose. Not the painting or other decoration, but the side table, the coffee table or the footstool for the lazy feet. Of course, decorative art has always existed and there are wonderful museums of it. However, I am happy to live in this period, at least in terms of the living culture at home. What do you say, a Charles Eames "lounge chair" with matching footstool is timeless relaxation, isn't it? Timeless design, practical use and if the furniture is also original, it is also a nice and worthy investment.
There is also the other side: pure design without any concern for the practical. A good example is Salvador Dali. He designed a sofa to the full lips of Mae West, the so-called Mae West Lips Sofa. A fantastic design, although I can't help but feel that my bottom and lower back would last all night. Design yes, aesthetic yes, impressive yes, usable yes but practical...?
Fact: In this blog writing I have not yet gone back to the origin of our company Berlano, namely the word furniture.The first thing I found on Google is this: "Furniture are furnishing objects and are designed by furniture designers and made by furniture makers and furniture manufacturers. The word furniture , via the Old French 'mueble', comes from the Latin word 'mobilis' (movable, movable ), which is also where the word 'mobile' comes from"..