When I thought about defining the differences between "What is Contemporary?" verses "What is Modern?" I could not give a clear answer. Maybe the term contemporary and modern are loosely used however they are one in the same? Which wouldn't make sense because why have two different words if they are truly not two different styles. So I began searching with my preconceived ideas trying to define the differences for myself. Is contemporary a style, a certain style with defined products or manufacturers? Is it about color only bright colors need to apply? Is it the combination of products made in bright colors? Then furniture came to mind and I questioned myself with 'what about the clean look, smooth surfaces with neat corners?' Maybe its the raw material used like glass, plastic, metal.
A wonderful example of contemporary design is shown from the Belsize Architects. They do many projects however this particular one created to allow in natural light in the relatively small area accomplishes much. The square footage of the place I deem as an apartment or loft lets one enter and immediately feel the expanse of the room. Instead of feeling confined into a long rectangular main floor where width is challenged, they capitalized from the feelings of enclosure using height. Opening up the main level by use of steel beams gives a clear vision above. Two bedrooms sit up top with a slight curvature designed into the wall material. Glass panels are used for division and safety around the stairwell. This main floor entry offers a kitchen to your left a sitting room to the right. You may choose to go up into the bedrooms or down into the lower level.
Using slats for an exterior construction product has become increasingly popular in architecture.
This example using wooden slats here are fixed in place but allow natural light in without disturbing the existing brick.
Does the use of materials (concrete, glass, fabric, metal, wood, or plastic) make it contemporary? I'd say 'No', because all these products are used in other styles of homes.
When furniture came to mind and I questioned myself with 'what about the clean look, smooth surfaces with neat corners?' And 'Yes' furniture can be designed in a contemporary manner. They do have a clean smooth look about them. Notice this lounge above (Park Square Mews) with the hyde design material on a sleek metal base. Below the interior shows a red upholstered chair unusual in shape with a chunky bottom and thinner back.
|Glass ceiling skylights/Glass floor Bent wood furniture sculpture|
Is contemporary a style, a certain style with defined products or manufacturers? A certain style 'YES' but not because of certain materials.
To answer all my questions of what makes for a contemporary design. I would sum it up by saying; Contemporary design is the unusual placement and/or use of objects that are not common to the products use or area in which it's used. Hope that helped you I know I have a much clearer understanding now.