Design Mode and Finding the Perfect Fixture
What is Design Mode?
Design mode is a way to organize different styles quickly and simply. There are 3 main design modes that cover nearly every fixture and style: Traditional, Contemporary and Transitional. Like all things, this rule does have an exception, at times Modern is used interchangeably with Contemporary, or Modern is presented as a fourth design mode, between Transitional and Contemporary. This comes down largely to the speaker and their particular background. These Design Modes serve to group together many different design periods and styles by art and design historic timeline and design convention so that complementary pieces may be viewed together. Below each design mode and its characteristics are outlined in terms of our offering of plumbing fixtures for kitchen, bath and utility – faucets, bathtubs, sinks, vanities, accessories, pot fillers, and the like.
The Three Main Design Modes
The Traditional encompasses styles ranging from the very beginning of plumbing and the treatment of plumbing as a household category through roughly the post-World War II era. Major design periods covered include Victorian, Edwardian, Gilded Age, Art Deco, Streamline, and Craftsman. When you see flourishes that look like lathe turned spindle legs, vintage brass ball-jointed legs, or a classic clawfoot bathtub, you see the Traditional design mode. Farmhouses, victorian houses, and brownstones all embrace Traditional Mode styles.
The Contemporary encompasses the current era – for the purposes of broad definition this includes the Modern, in the the art historic sense of post-1950 Modernist style and the broader historic post-1950 modern period of our popular culture. Major design periods include Modernist, Minimalist, Brutalist, Memphis, and Industrial Chic. If your taste is more about geometry and clean silhouette shapes or raw industrial starkness than finely finished materials and ornate details, you likely need a Contemporary Mode fixture.
The Transitional bridges the gap between the Traditional and the Contemporary. These fixtures suit an eclectic taste and can be made at home nearly anywhere with the right collection of accompanying details. More often than not a transitional fixture serves to unify a mix of Contemporary and Traditional already in a space. Transitional fixtures can also be used to gradually shift from one design mode to another over time by adapting different pieces, so a radical overhaul, and the shock that can come with the same, is not necessary. Transitional pieces may incorporate a traditional polished brass finish and cross handle with a very geometric minimalist shape and form.
Utility in Selecting Fixtures
These design modes should serve to help pare down the field when searching for a fixture to suit your home. If your decor has a flair for the traditional with colonial style furniture in the bedroom and a rustic wood paneled kitchen seek out the traditional. If your concrete floors and sleek white flush-handled cabinets and red streamline appliances need an understated matte black curve that simply implies the concept of faucet, you will find your ideal candidates in Contemporary. If you love it all and need something to bring together your different pieces with a bold, unifying statement, look to the Transitional for that balanced hybrid.