While writing a post for another website, we heard someone refer to a designer as an "unsung hero" of the design world and design history. We really liked that idea. It's because though there are tons and tons of designers who made an impact and are way well-known. But there are plenty of designers whose work had plenty of influence in the rest of the world but don't enjoy the same level of posthumous popularity, and we'd like to sing one of their praises today! Josef Hoffmann, this post is for you!
Hoffmann worked a bit earlier than that most influential of time periods, the Mid-Century. He worked more around the Turn of the Century and the 1920s and 1930s and you can certainly tell with his style.
There are definite Art Nouveau influences swirling around many of Hoffmann's pieces. We see how the line-especially a sensual, curving one, plays a big part in creating outlines and structure in his pieces, like a series of lounge chairs and sofas that have dark-colored upholstery and light-colored, almost pinstripe-like stripes on them.
Hoffmann furniture pieces made out of wood are a complicated, formal bunch. Cabinets are heavy and masculine. It looks like he favored one type of furniture piece a lot, the round or square side and occasional table. Usually made of dark wood species and stains, they are formal, with ornamentation, but definitely hint at the modernism coming our way soon.
From a place called Moravia (now known as Czech Republic) in 1870, but it didn't take him long to get to Vienna, where he spent his life and work career. Along with being an Austrian architect and furniture designer, he also created a lot of home design products and taught many young, impressionable designers as a design professor for many years.
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