Sunday, June 19

To own or not to own-- VENEERED mid-century furniture.

I hate it, I don't hate it. I can deal with it, but I can't buy it. I can buy it, but do I like it?

Below is an example of a typical good-quality maker (Mersman) end table. The top is veneered in a Formica walnut pattern.



I'm STARTING to well, respect it anyway-- and offering veneered furniture to my customers. Here's why...

Modernism has many conceptual roots. One of its most egalitarian was the attempt to remove class distinctions from furniture design. It was part of the move to flatten the tiered-class system after the crashes of the Great Depression. If ornate furniture not only implied wealth as well as excess, that visual marker and therefore the class identification of it, could be removed by removing the detail. Additionally, the move toward industrial design and the war-learned lessons of material conservation fostered a true less-is-more and form follows function mentality, a hallmark of modernism. One of the obvious upshots was the creative use of wood veneers to lesson expensive exotic wood costs. Eventually those veneers became plastic, further lowering the cost of mass-produced furniture, again making modern design more accessible to middle-class buyers.

That's a good philosophy, yes? To me, it IS good. Design is a function of human cultural expression. Cultural expression is a means to fashion society. I am nothing if not a human interested in good civil society and THAT means expressing my concerns for good civil society through all available means. Green responsible business, DIY, et al-- I know you get it.

So although I have not yet made up my mind on veneer absolutely, as I have for example on vintage teak (always a great choice) I am committed to giving veneer-- in good condition-- of all types, a real try. Besides, it is fairly UNPOPULAR and that means the pieces are still WILDLY affordable. For the new family or student decorator that is a VERY GOOD thing!

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