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Contemporary....modern? Modern contemporary? Why these are my favourite styles of design.



They might sound the same but... they're not. Sorry!! But both styles have a special place in my heart as a holistic designer.


Design is an ever-evolving field, and these two design styles have gained significant attention in recent years, modern contemporary and contemporary modern. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to two distinct design styles with unique characteristics and histories.



Modern contemporary design refers to a design style that emerged in the early to mid-20th century. It is characterised by clean lines, simple forms, and minimalism. This design style emphasises function and is often associated with mid-century modern design. It typically uses materials such as glass, metal, and concrete.

The modern contemporary design style emerged as a reaction to the ornate and elaborate design styles of the past, such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco. The modernists sought to simplify design, strip it down to its essential elements, and create objects that were functional and beautiful.



One of the hallmarks of modern contemporary design is its emphasis on form following function. This means that the design of an object should be determined by its intended use. The modernists believed that this approach would result in objects that were not only visually pleasing but also practical and efficient.

Another characteristic of modern contemporary design is the use of industrial materials such as steel, glass, and concrete. The modernists believed that these materials were honest and reflected the technological advances of the time. They also believed that these materials could be used to create objects that were durable, practical, and beautiful.


Contemporary modern design, on the other hand, is a more recent design style that emerged in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It incorporates modern design elements with other design styles, such as traditional or rustic. Contemporary modern design features a mix of textures, colours, and materials and is often associated with eclectic or transitional design. It emphasises comfort and livability while still maintaining a modern aesthetic.


Contemporary modern design is a more relaxed and comfortable take on modernism. It incorporates traditional elements such as plush fabrics, warm colours, and organic materials to create a cosy and inviting atmosphere. This design style is often associated with open-plan living spaces and large windows that let in natural light.

One of the defining characteristics of contemporary modern design is the use of colour. While modern contemporary design is typically associated with a monochromatic colour scheme, contemporary modern design incorporates bold colours and patterns to create a lively and energetic space.


Contemporary modern design also places a significant emphasis on sustainability and the use of eco-friendly materials. This design style seeks to create spaces that are not only beautiful and functional but also environmentally responsible.







So modern contemporary design and contemporary modern design are two distinct design styles with unique characteristics and histories. Modern contemporary design is a minimalist, functional design style from the early to mid-20th century, characterized by clean lines, simple forms, and the use of industrial materials. Contemporary modern design, on the other hand, is a more relaxed and comfortable take on modernism, incorporating traditional elements and bold colours while placing a significant emphasis on sustainability.

Both design styles have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between them depends on your personal preferences and the specific needs of a project. However, regardless of the design style chosen, good design is ultimately about creating spaces that are functional, and beautiful, and enhance the quality of life of those who inhabit them.


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