Modular Design


Modular designs are composed of adjustable units—sometimes referred to as modules or skids—which can be physically rearranged to better suit the user’s space and needs. Modular furniture rose to popularity during the 1950s, enabling consumers to transform mass-produced designs into customizable pieces, often at a better price. Design icons George Nelson, Eero Saarinen, Dieter Rams, and Charles and Ray Eames all embraced this mix-and-match method of construction, producing storage units and sectional sofas that could take on a variety of shapes. More recently, the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas designed the modular unit “04 Counter” (2013), consisting of three beams that can turn into shelves, tables, or benches depending on their configuration. Emerging designers Aranda\Lasch and Ian Stell are known for their innovations in modularity, producing intricately constructed items that can shapeshift from tables to seating to storage.