Friday , 12 October 2018

Mission style furniture: The influence of mission architecture in the design of furniture

Mission style furniture: The influence of mission architecture in the design of furniture

The making of the missionary style furniture began in the latter part of the 19th century. The origin of this style of furniture making can be attributed to a chair which was made by A.J. Forbes for a church in the city of San Francisco in the year 1894.The mission type of chair was first brought to the notice of the public in the later part of the 19th century by a manufacturer of furniture in New York who copied the designs made by Forbes. The name of this kind of furniture is entirely misleading as the design of the furniture had nothing to do with the furniture pieces that were used in the different kinds of missionary institutions such as the church.

The word mission was added to the missionary style furniture in order to increase its popularity among the people. The Spanish missions which were taking place throughout California at that time can be attributed to the use of the word mission during the building of these furniture items. The mission type of carvings and sculpting on the furniture was considered to be a really important part of the American art and craft movement. This particular style of furniture making became even more popular after the Pan American Expo took place in a place called Buffalo in the year 1901.

The missionary style furniture making is really simple in nature. The designs of these furniture pieces make use of very plain and simple lines which run both horizontally as well as vertically. Also flat panels are placed on the furniture which highlights the grain of the wood being used to make the furniture especially of the oak tree. The missionary type of furniture gained very quick as well as large scale popularity during that time, as people were literally tired of the classical Victorian furniture and also the industrial revolution was taking place as a result of which furniture which could be made really quickly and easily on a big scale were required.

Both machines as well as handicraft techniques could be used for the production of the missionary style furniture. The furniture produced was quite plain but really solid and largely made of oak. The furniture looked as if they were entirely crafted by the hand but with the improvement in the machines brought about by the industrial revolution, the production of this furniture in the factories was also quite possible.

Different designers and makers have played important roles in the making as well as development of the missionary style furniture. The modern day missionary type furniture owes a lot especially in designing to the pioneering makers of the furniture who were American in origin.

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