What is the Difference Between Modern and Contemporary Decor?

There’s a lot of lingo and industry terms you may not have encountered until you research indoor/outdoor material styles and patterns. Two of the terms you’ll hear often are “contemporary” and “modern.”

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While it’s easy to use them interchangeably, they have distinct meanings, which could affect how you choose a particular item or approach to redesigning your home. We can clarify this for you and provide examples of what designers and architects mean by contemporary versus modern design.

Contemporary Versus Modern: Definitions

Contemporary design refers to the popular design trends at whatever given time, whereas modern architectural design places a distinct emphasis on balance, warm neutrals, and crisp lines/patterns. Throughout history, the term contemporary could have exemplified any trendy style of the time, be it Art déco in the 1920s or the popular Terrazzo trends around Sarasota throughout the late 20th century.

Modern design is much more specific, having its roots in the early to mid-1900s. It features natural substances, styles, and materials, especially what folks think of as the “earthy look.” This would include the use of natural materials like wood, stone, and streamlined silhouettes. If you’d like to get a better understanding of modern architecture, you can study the work and examples of prominent designers like Florence Knoll or Charles, and Ray Eames.

Contemporary Styles Make Great Use of Terrazzo

Terrazzo, one of our choice materials for design work, plays an important role in contemporary design.

You’ll see it on floors, stairwells, countertops, walls, and even for furniture. This is true in America and places like Japan, where the architect, Shiro Kuramata, has created a Terrazzo item called the Nara Table, AKA the “Star Table.” His Nara Table incorporates a special terrazzo material that leverages glass fragments with synthetic concrete to create a novel and artistic furniture piece.

Terrazzo tends to be contemporary no matter which era you reference, at least since the 1500s. While the exact composition of the material has changed and evolved since the Venetians first invented it, you can find Terrazzo in almost anything.

This goes so far as to include many of the nicest buildings and roads throughout Disney World. Terrazzo played a role in the modern architectural movement, but it also continues to thrive in contemporary design, something we don’t believe will stop soon.

We hope that clarifies the distinction between contemporary and modern architectural designs. Part of our mission at Intra-State Terrazzo is to help you make educated selections whenever you remodel your home. If you’d like to learn more about this topic or anything else we do, call us at 941-758-3104.

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