Human preferences inevitably end up changing over time, and so too do the choices that they make regarding virtually everything including things as mundane as furniture. Restaurants have historically catered to popular trends since they have most always been profit making entities, and taking note of these trends can often shed a lot of light on how preferences have changed over the years. We will be discussing a rather unique trend that we have noted, one that has existed for at least a decade but is only now starting to become truly prevalent in the average restaurant.
Before we discuss this new trend that is currently emerging, we must first draw attention to the ones that came before. It is important to contextualize such trends because they don’t emerge in vacuum after all. They are the byproduct of past preferences and in analyzing the past we can obtain a clearer understanding of the present as well as improve our ability to predict the future to a certain extent. We’re not going to go too far in the past here, rather we’ll rewind just enough for people to better understand why present furniture trends are the way that they are.
In the era following world war 2, the world found itself to be utterly different from what it had been just a decade prior. The last great empire of the world, namely the British Empire, had mostly collapsed leaving in its wake a number of post colonial states all of which were beginning to make their mark on the world. The biggest factor that impacted design choices for things like tables for restaurants during the 20th century was modernism which was a movement that had been gaining steam for quite a while but was only just beginning to solidify in popular consciousness.
For the first time, people were looking to the future as an era of great change rather than assuming that things would stay exactly as they were. The fact that so many major paradigm shifts had occurred meant that change was now pretty much guaranteed, and this affected how people chose the furniture that they preferred in restaurants too. Design trends that had been considered the global standard for quite a while no longer sufficed for the average customer, but it’s not just customer preference that tended to impact this sort of thing either.
There was also a massive boost in industrial capacity which meant that more things could be manufactured and they could be standardized as well. This led to a relative homogeneity in the vast majority of products being created and sold during this time period, and this obviously meant that restaurant furniture started to become standardized as well. Prior to this point, one table would inevitably be quite different from another since it would have been made by hand but the proliferation of factory based manufacturing resulted in most uniqueness being ironed out.
Hence, if a restaurant were to offer furniture that was roughly hewn or unrefined, this would have made it seem old fashioned and would therefore have been undesirable in a lot of ways. Handmade manufacturing was by its very nature imperfect, so the best kind of products were those that had the lowest amount of imperfections contained within them. Factory design led to the rise of virtually flawless products and most people really appreciated this and came to expect it as a pivotal aspect of living in the modern world so naturally restaurants started to opt for this type of furniture as well.
Now that we have discussed the design trends that defined the 20th century, it is time to fast forward the timeline and bring it to the century that we are currently living in namely the 21st. By this point in time, flawless design had become so commonplace that it started to become boring. The fact that a factory could create a perfect table or chair no longer interested the average consumer, which just goes to show that even the most spectacular things can become mundane if people see them quite often in their day to day lives.
The fact that everything was flawless meant that various tables and chairs looked exactly the same as well, and as modernity started to give way to the postmodern this began to be viewed as a lack of identity. This brings us to the design trend that we referred to at the start of this article, and it essentially involves a return to craftsmanship that was done entirely by hand or at least gave the appearance of being implemented in this manner.
Roughhewn furniture is now seen as a rustic and charming aspect of a restaurant, and customers eagerly visit places that conform to this kind of aesthetic nowadays. It turns out that people tend to get bored of homogeneity rather quickly, and the various imperfections that are a part of handmade furniture design came to be seen as a sign of character and uniqueness rather than any kind of flaw.
This is not to say that all restaurants would opt for roughly hewn furniture of course. Only a certain kind of establishment would benefit from using furniture of this sort, with many still opting to go for furniture that in many ways represents a furtherance of the clean and often clinical design elements that defined the 20th century. That said, the reemergence of rough edges and the like means that two furniture design philosophies are now able to coexist with one another, and the type that you might want to go for depends largely on which particular demographic you want to target for your restaurant.