Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Ubiquitous LCW

It seems like you can't be a capital-M Modernist these days unless you've got at least one LCW or DCW chair in your house placed very deliberately against a wall or in a corner as though it were a work of art.

And of course, in some very real sense, it is a work of art, but that's not really the point.

The point is, I'm seeing these things everywhere these days -- not in real life, but in books and magazines and even a series of TV commercials aimed at baby-boomers. It's getting to be really annoying.

The thing is, I've always thought the LCW and DCW were sort of ugly. Yeah, I know that a statement like that is considered heresy among those who practice Modernism as a religion, but if I were going to decorate my house with chairs of that era, I'd get a few LCM chairs instead.

But that's a decision I'll never have to make, because I'm also against the idea of using furniture as art. I think it should be used as furniture, which by the way, is an attitude more in keeping with the Modernist ethos. It should be beautiful to look at, of course, but first and foremost, it should be functional.

In any case, I think the LCMs and DCMs are sleek and beautiful, while the LCWs and DCWs are relatively ugly and clunky-looking. Of course, you may say it's just matter of taste, and you may even be right, but my taste in this matter is unerring, which is just another way of saying I'm right.

As far as I'm concerned, the LCW screams "1940s" but the LCM gently whispers "timeless beauty." And that may be the reason for their popularity. Maybe the idea is to have a piece of furniture that can't be mistaken for anything other than an icon of the Modernist era. The LCM is just as iconic, of course, but they were also so popular that if you saw one today and didn't know what you were looking at, you might not even pay any attention to it. The LCM has a delicate unobtrusive beauty. The LCW on the other hand, begs for attention, which I guess is the point of self-conscious interior design.

So that's my opinion, and it is the correct one, but in the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that I'm not a capital-M Modernist. I'm a small-m modernist, which means that I prefer a certain type of design, but a piece of furniture doesn't have to be an authentic design from the Modernist era for me to like it. It could have been designed yesterday, I don't care. If it has the understated beauty and timeless elegance of what we now refer to as Mid-Century Modern design, I'll buy it and put it in my house.

Well, not literally of course. A lot of it is out of my price range, and besides, my house already has enough furniture, so I don't really have room for anything more.