What would furniture be without architecture? That might seem like either an abstract, complicated question or a simple why bother asking question, depending on your knowledge of architecture – how buildings are designed, planned, and constructed. The furniture we have in our homes is primarily dependent on what our homes look like – think the size of the rooms. Some neighborhoods look the same, others different. Some buildings look the same, others different. Some houses look the same, others different. I suppose what we are saying is that the places we call home will always influence the kind of furniture we like to have.
Nowadays it seems that the more unique the home/building looks, the better received it is. Just look at some of the buildings that are in the new Hunger Games movie – colossal concrete buildings that look to be plucked from some future dimension. In a way, they have been plucked from a different dimension, but not anything in the future. They come from France and sit just beyond Paris.
Photographed (and brought back into the limelight) by Laurent Kronental and more than 60 years old, Laura Mallonee of Wired writes, “These modernist buildings, known as grands ensembles, were France’s response to a severe post-war housing shortage. Between 1954 and 1973, the country erected public housing in the suburbs surrounding the City of Light. These towering structures, which included some six million units, embodied the prevailing idea that modernist architecture could help foster a utopian state by improving people’s lives.”
Okay, so these buildings were concocted as a way to make people’s lives better. Sounds like a nice enough idea, a sort of jumping off point to where we are now in which we like to surround ourselves with items and furniture that lift up our spirits, makes us feel connected to the world at large, and makes us see the bigger picture a little more clearly. Upholstery, for example, is more than just a fashion statement; it is a way of protecting ourselves against oldness, against the decay of time or, as Laurent Kronental said, “They were praised as places where men could blossom away from the agitation of big cities.”
The most important word there is “blossom” and that has a lot of meaning, literally and figuratively, meaning that the buildings we call home should make us feel refreshed and constantly growing. At Howard’s Upholstery, we like to view upholstery as blossoming up your prized pieces of furniture and, by extension, yourself. Kronental’s love of grands ensembles reminds us of our love of upholstery, how architecture and furniture are connected more intimately than you might think! If you are in Brooklyn and the surrounding boroughs, contact us today so we can all blossom.