Met Home, March 2009, Interior Design by Larry Laslo, Photography by Grey Crawford
The word Biedermeier comes from the titles of two German poems, and refers to an era of literature, music, architecture and furniture.
The style was strong between 1815 and 1848 (the Vienna Congress to the end of the Napoleonic Wars). Biedermeier corresponds to the English Regency style, French Empire, and the American Federal style. It also extended into Scandinavia.
Urbanization, a new middle class, and growing political oppression all influenced the style. Beidermeier writers were mostly middle class.
Biedermeier is simple and elegant in it's lines, and without ornamentation, making it a treat for true modernists who believe in truth in materials, and lack of ornament. Some say it later influenced the Bauhaus and Art Deco periods. It was a rebellion against Romantic fussiness, and was commissioned by the middle class, eager to show their new found wealth.
Even know the style grew out of the French Empire period, local materials such as cherry and pearwood were stained to imitate the more expensive timbers.
There was a revival of the Biedermeier style after the Vienna Arts Museum Expo made it a focus in 1896, that lasted up until the fascination with Art Deco.
I recognize the style by the feminine lines, simplified curls, the burl type woods, Regency and Federal references, and black accents. It's one of my favorite styles of furniture, and this month, Met Home had the most beautiful Biedermeier style chaise on the cover. Of all things, it is set in a Rammed Earth house! I love watching this mix happen over time.
What do you think of Biedermeier?
Interior Design and Decoration, Whiton and Ambercrombie, Prentice Hall Publishers