Wednesday 18 February 2009

Biedermeier is Yummy!

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


Brillante Interiors said...

I always liked Biedermeier.
To me it shows taste more than wealth (as Louis XVI). Simple lines, simple to reproduce. Elegant!
I always thought the name came from "bieder" as honest, simple man and "Meier" as a very common name, now I am intrigued by the two poems you mentioned.
Great Post.

DesignTies said...

That room is awesome!! Love the sloped ceiling, fireplace wall, windows, the combo of green & purple, the artwork.... it looks so comfortable and bright and welcoming. Just the kind of room where a cat can lounge about on the chaise :-D

I prefer simple and elegant over fussy and ornate -- Biedermeier's style appeals to me :-)


Wise Space said...

I appreciate the education on Biedermeier - thank you so much. And I have an unrelated question: when I look at your sketches they make me feel good. What is it about your art that brings this out in people? The piece you did on Maria's Tuscan Villa was fabulous and any other drawings on your site elicits this same warm feeling from me. Must be a reason for it but either way I just love your art for the talent you have and because it makes me feel good!

columnist said...

I'm a great fan of Biedermeier too, and posted recently about so many pieces coming up for auction - and not all that expensive. The drag for me is the shipping, however. Oh, and I have no space. Oh, and extravagance is not high on my list at the moment, for obvious reasons!

qerat said...

Have always liked Biedermeier. Its elegance and clean lines and the way you can almost always easily mix it with other styles. I have a few pieces, two tables for example that I have mixed with 1940's chairs. They always looked good and remain "in" no matter how the style changes.
Thanks for the nice post and yes your rendering are happy :)

Dale at Hospitality Design Inspirations said...

Wow I never thought Biedermeier could looks so at home in a contemporary space, but love how it adds warmth to the room (by its curvy shape and material).

Maria Killam said...

I loved that photo from Met home as well, thanks for the education on Biedermeier. I think it's very elegant!

Maria Killam said...

I loved that photo from Met home as well, thanks for the education on Biedermeier. I think it's very elegant!

Jeff said...

Biedermeier has always been a favourite style of mine.

It is a classic style that feels comfortable but not stuffy. Their lines are clean and the richness of the wood is the main actor in all their pieces.

I am fan of anything Biedermeier with burr walnut veneer.

Charisa Nicole said...

Hi! I'm Charisa and I'm a designer in Colorado. What's amazing is that I actually worked at the Lord Residence in Aspen from this post! While I was in design school I worked for a drapery workroom Tatterdemalion and we did all of the window treatments in the space. GO PICK UP THIS MAGAZINE! The house is amazing. Just the front door alone is beyond my imagination!