A Modern Find From Floor-Model

I’ve noticed that the terms “modern” and “contemporary” sometimes get thrown around with a certain cavalier disregard for precision in this gargantuan and protean venue we call the World Wide Web. And I must admit that—immersed in my writerly quest for the variation of the synonym, the alliterative assonance of the rare turn of phrase—I too am guilty of this lack of specificity. Looking at L.A.-based Floor-Model’s Mid-Century offering—Five Door Rosewood Credenza with Contrasting Grain on Half Moon Metal Legs—it occurs to me that I ought to approach the terms with a heightened degree of rigor.

Five Door Rosewood Credenza with Contrasting Grain on Half Moon Metal Legs. Available at Floor-Model.

Because the difference is rather crucial. Floor-Model seems to know whereof I speak. An importer of “mid-century modern furniture from Denmark and Sweden,” Floor-Model packs their 5,000 sq. ft. North Hollywood warehouse to the rafters with painstakingly-restored vintage credenzas, dining sets, and lounge seating from the 50s, 60s, and 70s (though some pieces do arrive in mint condition). While they often stock pieces by renowned designers like Hans Wegner and Tove & Edvard Kindt-Larsen, the bulk of their inventory are “vintage mid century pieces that are unique, uncommon and that have great design elements.” This is all part of Floor-Model’s aim to create a nifty illusion: that—on entering the warehouse—the client might feel as is she were in Copenhagen circa 1959, or Amsterdam at the dawn of the 70s. But the Floor-Model website says this best: “we want to make an aesthetic accessible.”


So back to the Modern v. Contemporary conundrum. Perhaps the easiest way to think of it is as a continuum. The founders of the push toward Modern Design, best characterized as “courageously simple in a world of Baroque ornament” (via Modern Furniture Classics), were invested in new, mass-producible materials like plywood and steel, as well as the simplicity of exotic/far East design. So “Modernism” in design paved the way for the “Contemporary,” which evinces this blending of cultural influence. Dima Loginoff’s revivalist Vassili, which is characterized by a certain exoticism, as well as an interchange between the historical and the immediate present, is a decent example.

So what makes the Floor-Model Five Door Credenza quintessentially modern? Its sleek, streamlined, uncluttered appearance; its preponderance of lean, lovely lines; its artful integration of heavy-grained wood and metal; and, perhaps most crucially, its overt investment in a particular time and place. We can all thank Floor-Model for taking us back to this propitious moment in the development of design.

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