Couch of Ages: Marvelous Modernism


Back to Basics

Modernism was a wide-ranging philosophical movement that gained steam amidst the collective state of shock and horror of the post-WWI landscape. Adherents believed that the works (and institutions) of old had grown too big and bloated for their britches. For the art and design world, those elaborate pre-war designs had to go.

Out were the fancy angel carvings and gilded frames. Simplicity and symmetry were in. Pieces that went out of their way to scream “Look at me! I’m art!” were replaced by works that focused on stark realism or sought to deconstruct or defy the very idea of art.

Naturally, this movement changed the way people designed and thought about couches. Instead of forcing beauty through carvings and paintings, the modernist couch let the individual elements speak for themselves. That meant monochromatic colors and simple shapes.

Visual appeal was revered as just another part of the whole. The invention of newer and better materials like laminated plywood, plastics, and fiberglass encouraged this mindset, allowing modernist designers to make their ideas a reality. People came to realize that a couch didn’t have to look like the Sistine Chapel ceiling to be a crowd pleaser. Form and function alone were enough.

A plain couch was just fine if it was comfortable to sit on and complimented the rest of the room. The Davenport, sectional couch, and the divan all came from this philosophy. So, when you see a comfy couch that looks great without begging to be noticed, thank the modernists. And take a load off.


Sometimes you’ve just got to relax and have a bit of fun. Stay tuned for more from the Couch of Ages blog series and please, feel free to email us if there’s something you’d like to see covered in this space. Have a great day and try to find a bit of time to relax.  

For more about CouchDB visit or follow us on Twitter at @couchdb

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