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A note about Baroque furniture.

What does impel us to have antique furniture in a house? (In this article we will understand by antique furniture the pieces that have been restored as well as replicas) When we think about a house fully decorated with antique furniture and we include in the room a plasma TV, a laptop and a Play Station the result will be –let’s admit it- ludicrous. Yet, the restoring furniture business grows, and so does the availability of antique furniture and its replicas. Representation and mirroring are two words that may hold the key towards understanding why we choose antique style furniture and, in this case, Baroque furniture.

Which are the points of contact between some of Baroque characteristics and the present days? The time of crisis is one of them; pessimism (closely involved with the crisis) is the other. Yet, since this is relative, for not everybody is pessimistic about the future, an interesting coincidence is the emphasis placed on the object with today’s unquestionable materialism. Tension between reason and faith seems to be no longer an issue for us, however there is similar tension nowadays which is the one between reality and unreality, the synthesis of this tension finds its highest translation in “virtual reality”. Could the internet be the equivalent to what the Baroque artists called the great theater of the world, linked to the topic of the world as a stage? Certainly is not a one to one correspondence but this may be helpful to understand the feeling of fugacity and caducity, nowadays expressed in the constant update of information, news, trends, novelties, etc. Having antique furniture may be a way of resistance towards new and constant fluctuating fashion; a way to get hold of a past time that, as such, it cannot be modified –as present is-, nor uncertain –as future. The past gives us models in which we can rely on, a paradigm that is complete and interpreted, as well as a vehicle of getaway from the present (if some will choose exoticness: Chinese interior design style, Mexican furniture, Italian furniture etc, many other will decide to travel through time instead of through space or, through both).

Collectors are also interested in this type of furniture: if the collector is characterized by seeking oddities, it will find in Baroque furniture uniqueness per se, the uniqueness of not only an outlandish object, furniture in this case, but also when referring to a time where, with no such thing as mass production, no fordism nor taylorism, the objects are always different for they are created by the human hand.

Baroque style furniture is extremely elaborated, it is overloaded with details which force the eye to stop and take them in one by one. There does not seem to be a single surface area left without a design detail or pattern and, opposing to today’s silver color preference, the predominant color is golden. The predominance of the golden color may have been due to what this metal represented (gold’s importance can be seen, for instance in the amount of times that the word gold appears in Columbus journal): gold expressed richness, beauty (a lexicalized metaphor for the Baroque poets was gold as a color), but most importantly, it expressed power. Yet, nowadays, the predominance of silver color over gold may be translated in the fact that technology has become fundamental and also an expression of power and of modern man’s sensibility: when we imagine a machine, silver is probably the color that will come to mind (to have an notion of how the silver color expresses technological avant-guarde we can think about the name of Google’s new Internet explorer browser: Google CHROME)

 A note about Baroque furniture.
Comparison between contemporary and baroque chairs. Baroque wall shrine and baroque console table.

Comparison between contemporary and baroque chairs. Baroque wall shrine and baroque console table.