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What Is German Furniture?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2016
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German furniture is any furniture of German design, which can be quite different depending on the time period and designer. There have been many movements within German furniture design, with many modern designs focusing on ergonomics, while antique furniture may be highly ornate and made of wood. Germany has traditionally had an abundance of wood, so many furniture items are made from this versatile substance, although it is used in different ways. There are very few unifying features of German furniture except for place of origin, but looking at all the different types of German-style furniture can reveal unique and interesting styles one may not have known existed.

Commonly, German furniture is similar to other European furniture of the same era. At times, when streamlined looks are popular across Europe, for example, German designs usually adhere to the aesthetic of the rest of the continent. Furniture design in Germany has been affected by historical events, and designs may represent aesthetic considerations of specific periods unique to German history. In modern times, German furniture is influenced by the same popular movements that unify many western furniture designers.

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A large portion of modern German furniture made by designers is experimental, sometimes involving very unique feats of engineering or other technical marvels. It is common for German designers who make furniture to also design buildings, and many of the same styles present in furniture from this company show up in architecture as well. German designers are not limited by their nationality, although the ideas they attempt to convey in their designer furniture often relate to their upbringing and life experience.

Antique German furniture is often most interesting in areas with strong craft and folk art traditions, and may involve painting, carving, and other uniquely German designs. Bears and other natural subjects may be carved into furniture items to yield beautiful decorative chairs and tables, or the art may be subtler and focus primarily on the structure of the item. Black Forest and other areas with abundant supplies of wood are naturally inclined towards crafts that involve wood, and furniture from this area often makes use of a long history of craftsmanship.

Of course, there is also German furniture that is neither designer furniture nor antiques. This furniture is often very similar to furniture other western countries, and may feature generic chairs, plain tables, and other basic furniture items. Some patterns and designs may be more common in Germany than other places, but European furniture is somewhat standard in its current state. Many people believe that furniture made in Germany is of better quality than items made elsewhere, but the veracity of this belief is up for debate.

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