Element Sessions: Answering the Age-Old Question of What is Contemporary Design

 

How do you nail down the definition of contemporary? Ask an expert like Suzanne DeRusha, president of Suzanne Kimberly Design. In this episode of Element Sessions, an Element Designs podcast, host Sean Heath explored the fundamental principles of creating successful contemporary designs with the noted designer.

So, does contemporary design have a firm or fixed definition? Yes and no.

“Modern and contemporary are often transposed or used together, and that’s because typically consumers don’t know the differences,” DeRusha said. “But the style itself is always changing. Trying to keep your finger on that pulse is like knowing what each manufacturer is thinking and who their innovative brains are.”

That’s because ever-changing technology and functional engineering constitute a big part of contemporary style and design, DeRusha explained. Cabinet hardware function has come a long way with soft-close hinges and lift-up doors, for example. These are functional upgrades but represent a new sleek aesthetic that is prominent in contemporary design.

In this episode, DeRusha and Heath discussed the old debate of form versus function in design and the newer question of whether advances in materials drive design, or do design requirements cause material evolutions.

“We are living and designing in a time that all the elements are merging in perfect harmony,” DeRusha said.

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