FURNITURE refers to movable objects intended to support various human
activities such as seating (e.g., chairs , stools , and sofas ),
eating (tables ), and sleeping (e.g., beds ).
People have been using natural objects, such as tree stumps, rocks
and moss, as furniture since the beginning of human civilisation.
Archaeological research shows that from around 30,000 years ago,
people began constructing and carving their own furniture, using wood,
stone, and animal bones. Early furniture from this period is known
from artwork such as a
Venus figurine found in
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistoric furniture
* 3 Types of furniture
* 4 Types of wood to make furniture * 5 Standards for design, functionality and safety * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 External links
The English word furniture is derived from the French word fourniture, the noun form of fournir, which means to supply or provide. Thus fourniture in French means supplies or provisions. The English usage, referring specifically to household objects, is specific to that language; French and other Latin languages use variants of the word meubles, which derives from Latin mobilia, meaning "moveable goods".
Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük
The practice of using natural objects as rudimentary pieces of
furniture likely dates to the beginning of human civilisation. Early
humans are likely to have used tree stumps as seats, rocks as
rudimentary tables, and mossy areas for sleeping. During the late
palaeolithic or early neolithic period, from around 30,000 years ago,
people began constructing and carving their own furniture, using wood,
stone, and animal bones. The earliest evidence for the existence of
constructed furniture is a
Venus figurine found at the
A range of unique stone furniture has been excavated in
Skara Brae ,
Ancient furniture has been excavated from the 8th-century BC Phrygian
tumulus , the Midas Mound, in Gordion ,
Civilisation in ancient Egypt began with the clearance and irrigation of land along the banks of the River Nile , which began in about 6000 BC. By that time, society in the Nile Valley was already engaged in organized agriculture and the construction of large buildings. At this period, Egyptians in the southwestern corner of Egypt were herding cattle and also constructing large buildings. Mortar was in use by around 4000 BC. The inhabitants of the Nile Valley and delta were self-sufficient and were raising barley and emmer (an early variety of wheat) and stored it in pits lined with reed mats. They raised cattle, goats and pigs and they wove linens and baskets. Evidence of furniture from the predynastic period is scarce, but samples from First Dynasty tombs indicate an already advanced use of furnishings in the houses of the age.
During the dynastic period , which began in around 3200 BC, Egyptian
art developed significantly, and this included furniture design.
Egyptian furniture was primarily constructed using wood, but other
materials were sometimes used, such as leather , and pieces were
often adorned with gold, silver, ivory and ebony, for decoration.
Wood found in Egypt was not suitable for furniture construction, so
had to be imported into the country from other places, particularly
The earliest used seating furniture in the dynastic period was the stool , which was used throughout Egyptian society, from the royal family down to ordinary citizens. Various different designs were used, including stools with four vertical legs, and others with crossed splayed legs; almost all had rectangular seats, however. Examples include the workman's stool, a simple three legged structure with a concave seat, designed for comfort during labour, and the much more ornate folding stool, with crossed folding legs, which were decorated with carved duck heads and ivory, and had hinges made of bronze . Full chairs were much rarer in early Egypt, being limited to only wealthy and high ranking people, and seen as a status symbol; they did not reach ordinary households until the eighteenth dynasty . Early examples were formed by adding a straight back to a stool, while later chairs had an inclined back. Other furniture types in ancient Egypt include tables, which are heavily represented in art, but almost nonexistent as preserved items - perhaps because they were placed outside tombs rather than within, as well as beds and storage chests.
Historical knowledge of Greek furniture is derived from various sources, including literature , terracotta , sculptures, statuettes, and painted vases. Some pieces survive to this day, primarily those constructed from metals, including bronze, or marble. Wood was an important material in Greek furniture, both domestic and imported. A common technique was to construct the main sections of the furniture with cheap solid wood, then apply a veneer using an expensive wood, such as maple or ebony. Greek furniture construction also made use of dowels and tenons for joining the wooden parts of a piece together. Wood was shaped by carving, steam treatment, and the lathe, and furniture is known to have been decorated with ivory, tortoise shell, glass, gold or other precious materials. Block IV from the east frieze of the Parthenon, with images of seated gods, ca. 447–433 BCE.
The modern word “throne ” is derived from the ancient Greek
thronos (Greek singular: θρόνος), which was a seat designated
for deities or individuals of high status or honor. The colossal
chryselephantine statue of
In general, Greek tables were low and often appear in depictions alongside klinai. The most common type of Greek table had a rectangular top supported on three legs, although numerous configurations exist, including trapezoid and circular. Tables in ancient Greece were used mostly for dining purposes – in depictions of banquets, it appears as though each participant would have utilized a single table, rather than a collective use of a larger piece. Tables also figured prominently in religious contexts, as indicated in vase paintings, for example the wine vessel associated with Dionysus, dating to around 450 BC and now housed at the Art Institute of Chicago . Chests were used for storage of clothes and personal items, and were usually rectangular with hinged lids. Chests depicted in terracotta show elaborate patterns and design, including the Greek fret .
Roman furniture was based heavily on Greek furniture, in style and construction. In the last few centuries Rome gradually superseded Greece as the foremost culture of Europe, leading eventually to Greece becoming a province of Rome in 146 BC. Rome thus took over production and distribution of Greek furniture, and the boundary between the two is blurred. The Romans did have some limited innovation outside of Greek influence, and styles distinctly their own.
Roman furniture was constructed principally using wood, metal and stone, with marble and limestone used for outside furniture. Very little wooden furniture survives intact, but there is evidence that a variety of woods were used, including maple, citron, beech, oak, and holly. Some imported wood such as satinwood was used for decoration. The most commonly used metal was bronze, of which numerous examples have survived, for example headrests for couches and metal stools. Similar to the Greeks, Romans used tenons, dowels, nails, and glue to join wooden pieces together, and also practised veneering.
Florentine cassone from the 15th century
In contrast to the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome,
we have comparatively little evidence of furniture from the 5th to the
15th century. Very few extant pieces survive, and evidence in
literature is also scarce. It is likely that the style of furniture
prevalent in late antiquity persisted throughout the middle ages .
For example, a throne similar to that of
The furniture of the
During the eighteenth century the fashion was set in England by the French art. In the beginning of the century Boulle An encoignure by royal cabinetmaker Jean-Pierre Latz circa 1750 is richly ornamented with marquetry and ormolu .
cabinets were at the peak of their popularity and Louis XIV was
reigning in France. In this era most of the furniture had metal and
enamelled decorations in it and some of the furniture was covered in
inlays of marbles lapis lazuli, and porphyry and other stones. By
The furniture maker by Ludwig Deutsch
The nineteenth century is usually defined by concurrent revival
styles , including Gothic , Neoclassicism, Rococo, and the EastHaven
Movement . The design reforms of the late century introduced the
Aesthetic movement and the
Arts and Crafts movement
EARLY NORTH AMERICAN
This design was in many ways rooted in necessity and emphasizes both form and materials. Early American chairs and tables are often constructed with turned spindles and chair backs often constructed with steaming to bend the wood. Wood choices tend to be deciduous hardwoods with a particular emphasis on the wood of edible or fruit bearing trees such as cherry or walnut.
The first three-quarters of the twentieth century are often seen as
the march towards
Great efforts from individuals, governments, and companies has led to the manufacturing of products with higher sustainability known as Ecodesign . This new line of furniture is based on environmentally friendly design. Its use and popularity are increasing each year.
One unique outgrowth of post-modern furniture design is Live edge , heralding a return to natural shapes and textures within the home.
Sendai-dansu for kimono, zelkova wood, note the elaborate ironwork, handles on side for transportation, and lockable compartment
Asian furniture has a quite distinct history. The traditions out of
The use of uncarved wood and bamboo and the use of heavy lacquers are well known Chinese styles. It is worth noting that Chinese furniture varies dramatically from one dynasty to the next.
Traditional Japanese furniture is well known for its minimalist style, extensive use of wood, high-quality craftsmanship and reliance on wood grain instead of painting or thick lacquer. Japanese chests are known as Tansu , known for elaborate decorative iron work, and are some of the most sought-after of Japanese antiques. The antiques available generally date back to the Tokugawa era and Meiji era .
TYPES OF FURNITURE
Main article: List of furniture types
FURNITURE FOR SITTING
Seating is amongst the oldest known furniture types, and authors
The simplest form of seat is the chair , which is a piece of furniture designed to allow a single person to sit down, which has a back and legs, as well as a platform for sitting. Chairs often feature cushions made from various fabrics.
TYPES OF WOOD TO MAKE FURNITURE
Main article: List of woods
All different types of woods have unique signature marks that can help in easy identification of the type. There are hardwoods and softwoods . Both are used in furniture manufacturing, and each have their own specific uses. Most commonly, quality furniture is made out of hardwood which is made from oak, maple, mahogany, teak, walnut, cherry and birch. High quality wood will have been air dried to rid it of its moisture.
STANDARDS FOR DESIGN, FUNCTIONALITY AND SAFETY
Installment by L. Gargantini for the Bolzano fair, 1957. Photo
* EN 527 Office furniture - Work tables and desks
* EN 1335 Office furniture - Office work chair
* ANSI/BIFMA X 5.1 Office Seating
* DIN 4551 Office furniture; revolving office chair with adjustable
back with or without arm rests, adjustable in height
* EN 581 Outdoor furniture - Seating and tables for camping,
domestic and contract use
* EN 1728:2014
* Design portal
* Casters which make some furniture moveable * Furniture designer
* ^ A B Gray, Channing. "Haute and cool: Fine Furnishings show
branches out in 10th year with a bigger spread of classic and
cutting-edge pieces". The Providence Journal.
* ^ A B C
* Blakemore, Robbie G. (2006). History of interior design &
furniture: from ancient Egypt to nineteenth-century Europe. J. Wiley &
Sons. ISBN 0471464333 .