Unique is definitely a word used to describe the eclectic mix of artworks, furniture and décor items that congregate at 21 on Montagu.
The most prominent being the simple lines of the elegant statement pieces imported from Beijing, China, and its outlying surrounding regions. The furniture, representative of the age old Asian style, has transgressed the centuries, and captures a modern simplicity that works in most interior styles! The furniture is characterised by fluid lines, undecorated woods, balanced proportions and concealed joints.
Sleek, simple and effective – the handcrafted pieces create a statement in many a room. Dressed up or simply placed in a corner, the style and finish of each piece creates a story. Generally created from undecorated or highly polished woods, various styles of lacquer have been created and used to cover all exposed areas in more expensive furniture although today the exposed wax-polished wood is in demand!
The first piece of Chinese furniture created was the floor mat. This is what people sat on. The more wealthy and important people sat on platforms. And even though, over the years the Chinese have created the most beautiful and functional horseshoe back shaped chairs, amongst others, the “floor mat” concept has never been abandoned.
Altar tables (narrow tables) were created to display special items like musical instruments and items of wealth and beauty such as jade and porcelain (Eastern Zhou Period 770B.C – 221 B.C.). Today an altar table strategically placed behind a couch can be a unique room divider. Normally with intricately carved sides, the altar table brings a simple detail to the interior of the room.
Each Dynasty and period brought a new and different influence to the art of furniture design and making. During the Tang Dynasty (618 -907 AD) furniture height began to rise along with the power of the elite. The Northern & Southern Song Dynasty (960 -1279) is widely regarded as the period when Classical Chinese furniture began to appear. New forms of furniture such as bookcases, towel rails, cabinets, stools and tables were crafted. During the Ming (1368 -1644) and the Qing (1644 to 1911) Dynasties, the ban on imports was done away with which improved the supply and variety of woods available to the craftsmen resulting in finer workmanship and more elaborate styles of joinery. Ming Dynasty pieces embrace grace and elegance.
Chinese furniture is predominantly created for the function of the piece, the beauty is secondary, although in most instances it does become the focal point of the item.
Owning a piece of Chinese furniture is like owning your own treasure!
21 on Montagu 2018 ©