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Modern Tradition: Design with artisanal charm

The combination of modern design with artisanal flair is playing an increasing role in interior design. Contemporary designs as well as classics are assigned to the new trend: Modern furniture design combined with natural colours and carefully crafted shapes, preferably made of wood.

Oct 06 2021

Table 1140 by Thonet (Design: Werner Aisslinger) 

Archetype of a table: with Thonet 1140, designer Werner Aisslinger has developed an all-round table made of oak that is both solid and light. Its hallmarks are the table legs, which round outwards in a quarter circle, and the discreetly visible fitting made of die-cast aluminium for connecting the tabletop and legs.

The connecting element makes it possible to create an extremely stable table with a very reduced use of materials. As a versatile and resilient piece of furniture, the Thonet 1140 is intended for furnishing private rooms as well as for the contract sector.


Find out more about the trend of modern traditional style and find inspiration in the magazine by imm cologne


Thonet 1140, Design: Werner Aisslinger © Thonet

Simple Hi bed by Zeitraum (Design: Formstelle) 

Geometric form meets lively grain: the purist design of the Simple Hi bed focuses on the aesthetics of the solid wood, which is emphasised by a surface treatment with natural oils. The feet are located on the inner edge of the frame, so that the strictly geometric shape seems to float. Simple Hi is available with a striking headboard in two different heights. The wood types available are ash, oak, American cherry and American or European walnut.

Simple Hi bed, design: Formstelle © Zeitraum

Stuttgart Chair by e15 (Design: Richard Herre) 

High craftsmanship: with Stuttgart, the manufacturer e15 continues its research into the roots of modernity. The finely detailed wooden chair was created in 1926 by the architect, interior designer and typographer Richard Herre and is now going into series production for the first time. Characteristic of the timelessly elegant seating furniture is its curved backrest, which is now milled from solid wood.

The chair is available in waxed European oak or waxed walnut. Interchangeable seat upholstery - optionally in leather, Viennese wicker or the latest fabrics - gives the chair a special expression, from the more traditional to the contemporary. Stuttgart cuts just as good a figure at the dining table as it does as a visitor's chair.

Stuttgart chair, design: Richard Herre 1926 © e15

The Farns Sideboard by Walter Knoll (Design: Eoos) 

Convertible storage space: The Farns is modelled on Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's light-flooded Farnsworth House. The sideboard system made of a veneered MDF corpus with slightly reflecting glass modules and handleless wooden veneer doors evokes memories of forms from the 1950s to the 1960s.

The wood types available are white pigmented or flamed oak and walnut with sapwood. The base is available in matt powder-coated black or bronze steel. Handleless drawers and optional glass doors complete the system.

The Ferns sideboard, design: Eoos © Walter Knoll

Chair 69 by Artek (Design: Alvar Aalto) 

Universal talent among chairs: The Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto created his minimalist Chair 69 from laminated birch wood with a seat made of birch veneer. At first glance, it corresponds to the image of a classic kitchen chair as early as 1935. On closer inspection, it is its specific details that have kept it looking modern over the decades.

The L-shaped front legs, for example, are directly connected to the seat, as is typical of Aalto. The visible screwed connecting element of the back legs and backrest is characteristic. The wide seat as well as the curved backrest ensure a comfortable sitting feeling. Today, it is available in a variety of colours and finishes that fit stylistically into every conceivable room.

Chair 69, design: Alvar Aalto 1935 © Artek

Spanish Chair by Fredericia (Design: Børge Mogensen) 

An armchair that is allowed to develop patina: on a trip through Andalusia, the Dane Børge Mogensen was inspired by traditional Spanish handicraft forms. As a result, he created his Spanish Chair in 1958, combining solid oak with natural or vegetable-dyed saddle leather.

The seat and backrest of the chair can be tightened by large brass buckles, just like a belt. The frame is based on geometric shapes and merges into wide armrests on which drinks or small objects can be placed. The materials used are durable and develop a patina with use, which further emphasises their value.

Spanish Chair, design: Børge Mogensen 1958 © Fredericia

Eames Lounge Chair by Vitra (Design: Charles and Ray Eames) 

Status symbol and style icon: the designer couple Charles and Ray Eames designed the lounge chair named after them in 1956 as a contemporary interpretation of the English club chair. Together with the matching ottoman, this modern piece of relaxing furniture stands for the ultimate in luxury and comfort.

In its original version, the classic is made of American cherry veneer for the seat and back shell, a polished aluminium base and black leather. Today, Vitra also produces versions with white, grey and brown leather as well as other types of wood such as walnut or ash. Today's versions even take into account changes in body size.  

The term Modern Tradition is understood to mean furniture design that uses handcrafted production and materials that are allowed to mature as they age. It is not uncommon for wood to lend them a warm and homely aura. This furnishing style is becoming increasingly popular with consumers. Designers and manufacturers are reacting with new designs and adapting historical models to today's expectations. 

Author: Heike Edelmann

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