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A Greek Revival in Furniture?

Of all the civilizations that have come and gone in world history, none has been as influential on our modern day life as Ancient Greece. Their influence on American culture has been especially profound.

In everything from philosophy to politics and from athletics to art, you and I experience the influence of Greece every day. Our democratic way of government in the U.S. was inspired by Greece, which had the first known Democracy. Greek philosophy from the likes of Socrates, Aristotle and Plato permeates the Western mindset. It has been said that the Western world “thinks Greek.” As host of the first Olympics, Greece also influenced our competitive, sports-minded culture. Not to mention Greek theater, literature and Greek food.

The hardware on this Odyssey Cabinet is in the shape of a Greek key

Greece has also greatly influenced our art, architecture and design. Ancient Greek sculpture and architecture was serene and symmetrical  in nature,  and spawned the genre called “classical art”. That was a forerunner of the widely popular movement of Neoclassicism.

While the Greek influence on design is always there in a subtle manner, the recent international Spring 2011 High Point Furniture Market suggests that Greek influence may be moving to front and center stage.  Trend spotters and design experts observed a resurgence in Greek key motifs, iron work and classical columns in home furnishings ranging from upholstery and pillow fabrics to lamps to living room tables to cabinets and chests and consoles.

According the 2011 Spring Fashion Report by the High Point Market Authority, “Greek key motifs signal a return to Neoclassic forms, but updated for a fresher look.”

At Hooker Furniture, we introduced several pieces of living room accent furniture with touches of Greek style. Perhaps most noteworthy is the Odyssey Cabinet  pictured here that uses a Greek key motif on the door hardware. At Hooker, we tried to use Greek motifs in unexpected ways out of the usual context for a fresh approach.

Design is often an expression of a culture’s values, philosophy and mood at any particular point in time. What do you think it means that we are seeing a Greek revival? Does this mean a yearning for the classic? A return to idealism?  A move from the superficial to more in-depth thinking? Let us know what you think with your comments!

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Mark Harman June 20, 2011, 3:04 pm

    A lot of furniture design today,(not all), seems frivilous, meaningless and trend orientated. To return to, and possibly use as reference the furniture forms and designs of antiquity serves as a bench mark we should all refer to. We must not forget that Greek furniture forms and their proportions evolved into objects of true beauty over hundreds of years as did their architecture ,to their zenith in the 4th and 5th centuries, and were not the product of makers simply attempting to be different from the rest. If there is a Greek revival it would be interesting to see designers concentrate on the proportions and form of ancient Greek furniture, and not only on the random use of estranged ornamentation.

    • Kim Shaver June 23, 2011, 9:13 pm

      Very well said! Certainly Greek design enlarges our view of “classic” well beyond our typical 18th or 19th century or early 20th century point of reference. We agee it would be nice to see the forms and shapes take on Greek influence….Hooker Furniture…

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