design dictionary

Example of a London Moquette seat on the London Underground

Moquette is a tough woollen fabric used for upholstery on public transportation all over the world. The fabric is typically composed of 85% wool and 15% nylon and is created using the weaving method known as jacquard. It has excellent thermal characteristics, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.Read More →

Shagreen Glass Case

Shagreen is fish skin used as a veneer to cover furniture and accessories. Also knownRead More →

Wrought iron an example - featured image

The term “wrought iron” refers to the material rather than the products made of iron. Modern mild steel has supplanted wrought iron, a forgeable ferrous material used up until about the middle of the twentieth century. Because of the extensive forming required during its productionโ€”under power hammers and through rollersโ€”it was originally referred to as “wrought” (or “worked”). Read More →

Guilloche design term

The guilloche is a decorative element that encircles a line of bosses with two bands or ribbons intertwined. In the British Regency style, it was particularly well-liked and adopted by furniture designers from Renaissance to the Twenties and Fifties.Read More →

A cassone is a big decorated chest that was made in Italy between the 14th and 16th centuries. In 1472, a Florentine merchant married a young noblewoman named Vaggia Nerli. Cassoni were put on display in the most important and well-furnished room in the palace.Read More →

Dovetail joinery term

Dovetail is the name for a shape that looks like a dove’s tail and is used in woodworking. Joints are made up of tabs in the shape of a dovetail that fit into holes in the other part. Dovetails are often used to join the corners of cabinet drawers and box shapes.Read More →

Agitrop

Agitprop art (or the art of agitation) was used to manipulate ideological beliefs, specifically to spread the ideals of Communism in Russia in the period immediately following the 1917 revolution. The term ‘agitprop’ (an abbreviation for agitation propaganda: ‘agitational propaganda’) was first used shortly after the Revolution, and the Communist Party established the Department of Agitation and Propaganda in 1920.Read More →

Brandewijnskom - brandy bowls

Brandewijnskom. Brandy bowls were made in Holland and Friesland in the 17th and 18th centuries.Read More →

Affichiste

Affichiste. Name (literally ‘poster designer’) taken by the French artists and photographers Raymond Hains (1926-) and Jacques de la Villeglรฉ (1926-), who met in 1949 and created a technique to create collages from pieces of torn-down posters during the early 1950s. These works, which they displayed for the first time in 1957, were called affiches lacรฉrรฉes (torn posters). Read More →

beige and black chair in front of white desk

Minimalism is an art historical and critical term. The purest forms of minimalism include cubes and spheres, plain, unadorned surfaces, and solid colours. Adolf Loos’ famous quote, “Ornament is a Crime,” has become catchphrases for the minimalist design movement.Read More →

A silver-gilt convex shield with a sizable central medallion depicting the shield of encrusted iron made by the god Hephaestus for Achilles at Troy, as it is described by Homer in Book 18 of the Iliad. The medallion, which depicts in high relief a figure of the Sun (Apollo) standing in a quadriga (a chariot drawn by four horses), is within a broad border decorated with a continuous frieze.Read More →

Silverware - Academic Style

A style of decoration, developed in the United States, based on the copying of earlier English and French styles. The style was in the tradition of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, the designs being precise and academic. It was introduced to flatware in the 1880s, initiated at the Gorham Company and occurs in hollow ware from the late 1880s, its use continued into the 1920s.Read More →

Hallmark example

A hallmark is a symbol or device struck at an assay office on gold or silver, indicating that article conforms to legal standards of manufacture established by the monarch, local guilds, government etc. Literally, mark applied at Goldsmith’s Hall (London assay office since 1300) but extended to cover e.g. all five stamps found on Victorian silver until 1890: assay office mark specific to each assay office; Read More →

Pedestal Table featured image

A pedestable table is originally the base support of a column, in classical architecture. A pedestal in furniture may have one of four definitions: Read More →

A method of printing from a design drawn directly on a slab of stone or other suitable material. The design is not raised in relief as in woodcut or incised as in line engraving, but drawn on a smooth printing surface. Initially, this surface was provided with a slab of unique limestone, but metal (usually zinc or aluminium) or more recently plastic sheets were prefered because they are less bulky.ย Read More →

Rya Carpet Finnish Weaving Technique

Eva Brummer set up a studio in Helsinki in 1929 to revive the technique, which involves cutting the pile unevenly in order to create a thick relief effect. As rugs, the weavings became popular in the 1950s and were closely identified with the exuberant Scandinavian Modern style.Read More →

Rattan texture

Rattan is a type of climbing or trailing vine-like palm native to southern Asia, Malaysia and China. Its outer bark is used for caning, and its inner, reedlike section is used to weave wicker furniture. It was introduced to the West in the early 19th century, rattan has become the standard material for caning, and its strength and manipulability have made it the most popular of the many materials used in wickerwork.Read More →

Armchair, 1907 - 1913 designed by Gustav Stickley

Mission Furniture – Design Dictionary Term. The early twentieth-century American furniture design style. American Arts and CraftsRead More →

Bracket foot featured image

Bracket foot. In furniture, a right-angled foot, with each Inner and Curt. Bracket feet may be straight or ogee (a double curve also known as a cyma curve, typical in Chippendale Designs) or French ( a flared foot standard in the furniture of Hepplewhite and his successors).Read More →

Neon Lighting Dictionary term

Neon Lighting. Semiflexible, hollow tubes of clear acrylic with small bulbs inside that can be connected to light up all at once or sequentially to produce a “chasing” effect. It’s also known as disco lighting, and it’s given homeowners new illumination alternatives. Lights designers consider neon lighting to be an art form.Read More →