Style and use of furniture can vary quite a bit depending on where you live. I came to realize this when I moved from the US to China. Furniture in the normal lives of local Chinese people are not deemed necessary. If you have a place to sit with your whole extended family and friends when eating, that is all that matters. The grandiose, heavy, redwood furniture often seen in Chinese homes are mainly to show wealth and status, not necessarily for daily usefulness.
Japan is another good example. As seen in Samurai movies, a Japanese home has traditionally been the originator of “minimalist” philosophy. Less is more is easily seen in traditional tatami floored homes, and it may well be because tatami does not support heavy objects very well, resulting in clean, simple, minimal object style of furniture and interior design.
I have always been a great admirer of Scandinavian furniture. The clean simple lines with the philosophy of “form follows function” makes for designs that makes you think, and be impressed. There should be a purpose for each item and part, not just decorative. The long cold winters may have made it necessary for Northern Europeans to focus on the interior more than others, so the time and experience have led to clean, useful designs which I admire so much.
Recently, I came across some information on The Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh. The Nationality Rooms are located on the first and third floors of the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. The rooms were designed to represent the culture of various ethnic groups that settled in Allegheny County and are supported by these cultural groups and governments. If you have a chance, please do visit The Nationality Rooms representing about 30 nationalities, and have plans to add more very soon. These rooms are welcome to visitors and tours, and are also used as actual classrooms for University students. If you have a chance, visit The Nationality Rooms and think about the cultural influence on design of furniture!
- Yumi Zaic
Unicultural team and trainers, sharing our views and experiences on everything cultural.