People tend to use the word Modern and Contemporary interchangeably. It shouldn't drive me crazy, but there is actually a distinct difference.
Farnsworth Home 1952 renovated in 2018: Designed by Kelley Bishop's architecture firm, STUDIO.BNA
Modern is a particular time period which occurred during the early to mid-20th century. Mid-Century Modern took shape from the 1940's to the 1960's, the middle of the century.
As an architectural style, modernism is characterized by clean lines stemming from the Bauhaus and Danish Modernist movements of functionality and geometric aesthetics.
The real-estate developer Joseph Eichler largely influenced the popularization of the modern architectural style in the U.S. He and his company built over 10,000 open-concept homes in California throughout the 1950s and early '60s with the first homes selling at $10,000.
In between modern and contemporary styles there was post-modernism - where many of 'the rules' were thrown away. Straight, simple, and clean made way for curvy, funky, and out of the ordinary.
Since then, some designers have come back to using some of these modernist rules... but have adapted and expanded them for greater design possibilities in contemporary times.
Wapiti Valley Residence: Architect, Brett Nave, principal of STUDIO.BNA [photograph: Matthew Millman]
Contemporary is a word used to describe the current style, which is ever-evolving. It often times references modern sensibilities, but is not necessarily bound to the constraints of strict modernism. In fact, it is easier to talk about the possible overlapping features of the two styles rather than the differences because contemporary can go in many different design directions.
Both modern and contemporary styles tend to have clean and simple architectural lines, open space, and a connection to the outdoors - keeping sustainability in mind. A big similarity is the use of metals and woods in design... something we are very passionate about at STEEL + PLANK (can you tell by our name?).
So what exactly are STEEL + PLANK furnishings? We focus our style on minimal, contemporary design. These furnishings fit quite nicely in a contemporary home or will update a Mid-Century Modern home with a fresh look and feel.
Wait...they're minimal? Well what's the difference between minimal, contemporary and modern, you ask? That'll take another whole blog post! :)