Robert Adams Furniture Design

Robert Adam’s Furniture Design
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Robert Adam’s Furniture Design
The emergence of Robert Adam furniture signaled the end of individualistic styles that
were dominant in the golden age of furniture. The period from 1762 to 1792 was the time when
the new approach remained dominant (Adam & Adam, 2006). Its creator, Robert Adam, made a
remarkable contribution to the development of the furniture industry with the most significant
one being the establishment of the Adam style and his theory of movement that incorporated his
studies of antiquity and decorative schemes, leading to the invention of an armchair of gilded
beechwood and walnut.
The gilded beechwood armchair originated from the set of eight armchairs and four sofas
purportedly enlisted for entertainment in the grandest room in a London house (Bolton, 1922).
Robert Adam’s designing ideas simplified the structure of the furniture by replacing the initial
straight lines with newly curved ones. He further added a fine classical ornament in an attempt of
trying to correlate the architectural settings with the existing furniture (King, 2013). The chair is
engraved with a chisel on its front rail. Importantly, the designer has used a gilded beechwood
and walnut embedded with modern scarlet damask upholstery. Additionally, Adam’s watercolor
design dates back to the year 1764 with the gilt in oil Gold Stuff beautifully covered with
individual damask (McGrail, 1997). According to Robert and James Adam (n.d.), the silk
damask fabric was used to cover the top side of the chair, providing a consistent appearance
since it introduced some aspects of water gliding. Thus, this contemporary chair epitomizes
Adam designer armchair of the 17th century.
In conclusion, the work of Robert Adam immensely transformed the interior design and
architecture since the 18th century. Particularly, his ideas of replacing the ornate curvature of the
Chippendale design with the straight lines of Roman column triggered the invention of the
famous armchair of gilded beechwood (Risebero, 1985). This development in Robert’s furniture
design made him the most outstanding designer of all his brothers who were also great specialists
in that period.
Adam, R., & Adam, J. (2006). The works in architecture of Robert and James Adam. Mineola,
NY: Dover Publications Inc.
Bolton, A. T. (1922). The architecture of Robert & James Adam (1758-1794) (Vol. 2). London:
Country Life.
King, D. (2013). Complete works of Robert and James Adam and Unbuilt Adam. New York, NY:
McGrail, M. P. (1997). Furniture иrasses: A short history of English furniture fittings. Armac
Risebero, B. (1985). Modern architecture and design: an alternative history. Cambridge, MA:
The Mit Press.
"Robert and James Adam." (N.d.). Encyclopedia of World Biography. Retrieved from

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