When we think of the three piece suite, we tend to think of it as quite a modern invention in line with semi detached suburban living, certainly post WWII. However, this iconic set of British furniture has been in existence since the beginning of the 18th century, although it really came into its own during the Art Deco period of the 1930s. The popularity of the three piece suite was very much an indication of growing working and middle class affluence where people generally wanted comfortable upholstered sets of furniture that would not take up too much room. Mass production had also ensured that furniture generally became affordable to almost everybody not just the wealthy elite. Synthetic upholstery materials too such as rexine were being used which again were much cheaper than leather and velvets, plus the use of plywood in manufacture which also kept costs down. Using these cheaper materials could cut the cost of production by as much as 75%.
The 1930s was also a period of avant garde-styling where modern rather than revival was popular and leading designers such as Gropius and Le Corbusier were using tubular steel to create a very different look. These modernist stylistic flourishes were used by furniture manufacturers to cater for a mass market. Often the Art Deco influence was to be seen more in the geometric patterns of the upholstery rather than the general overall design. However, as time went on, designs for the three piece suite became increasingly plain and innovations such as the bed settee became popular for apartment living. Again something we consider to be a much more recent phenomenon.
Art Deco styling remains popular and much new furniture copies its modernist styling today. When buying 20th century antique dining chairs , Lancashire dealers can advise on quality and style.
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