The mission of Mission furniture

Recently I had a client who was interested in a pair of bedside tables.  He wasn’t exactly sure of what style they should be, but he knew he wanted something simple, with clean lines and demonstrably handcrafted.  After some discussion we agreed that Mission style fit the bill.

Mission style was popular at the turn of the 20th century, influenced by wood furniture of the Spanish missions in California and also by the British Arts and Crafts movement.   The movement was pioneered by Gustav Stickley and the architects Charles and Henry Greene, emphasizing humane design in the midst of the industrial age.  I believe that Mission style was also a reaction to the ornate excesses of the Victorian period.  Mission furniture design was utilitarian and organic, using simple materials and construction to highlight the values of the integrity of man’s labor and connection to nature.

As I was building these Mission style end tables I could not help but reflect on how “what goes around comes around”.  Here we are in the midst of the information age, once again yearning for things that are simple, grounded in nature and handcrafted.

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