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What is Campaign-Style Furniture and Why Should I Care?

by Sarah Beaumont

Despite its name, campaign furniture has very little to do with American politics, but politics are most certainly involved. What exactly is it? What purpose does it serve? And why do we care about it today? Read on for your primer on this oh-so-chic (and not at all email-server or wall-building related) campaign issue.

Campaign Furniture Brief History:

During the height of the British Empire, officers on lengthy military campaigns in India and South Africa needed lightweight, durable furniture that could easily be transported. But they also didn’t want to sacrifice the creature comforts they were accustomed to. So British furniture manufacturers like Chippendale started designing pieces specifically for the military that gave them all the rugged functionality they needed, and all the luxury they craved.

Folding chairs, desks, and chests were typically made from sturdy woods like mahogany and teak, and came in separate pieces so they could easily be dismantled. Leather straps and canvas seats made objects lightweight and easy to fold up. Recessed brass handles were added to drawers and brass angle pieces were used on furniture corners to protect them from being damaged while in transit. Talk about elegant practicality.

Campaign Furniture Today

So why do we care about this style today? Well, its popularity has never really died out. Those brass details, leather straps, and teak silhouettes are appreciated for more than their simplicity and aesthetic appeal. Campaign-style furniture is mobile, good for multi-purpose use, and adds a hint of vintage charm and rugged explorer style to a room.

Into the whole glamping, safari-chic look? You can thank campaign furniture for that. After British officers brought their haul to South Africa during the Boer War, the style stuck.

Leather straps are a staple of campaign furniture. When it comes to chairs, malleable leather allows them to fold up seamlessly. And a leather strap mirror makes for a decorative mount to an otherwise clean modern shape.

Nothing says campaign furniture quite like a chest of drawers with recessed, brass pulls and shining hardware on each corner. Originally used as dressers, campaign chests now function as everything from decorative side tables and bathroom stands to kitchen cabinets.

Campaign Desks are a true classic. Like the chest of drawers, this utilitarian piece has been updated with color. Though its original mahogany wood is timeless, the range of vibrant hues that coat the campaign desk now makes it fit just as well in this century.

There are only a few who makes these types of furnishings these days and Prizmic & Brill is one of them. Its signature style of combining hardwood, hand forged brass and selected leather hides achieve a standard of detail and meticulous craftsmanship that has all but disappeared in a world of increasing manufacture of ubiquitous pieces.

Interested in owning one or more of these kind of Furnishings? Let us know.

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