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Mission Office Furniture - Where To Find Mission Office Furniture

contemporary mission office furniture

If you’re a busy professional like a lawyer, or an accountant, or a clinical psychologist, someone who sees clients in an office setting, your office décor is an important part of marketing your business. After all, your office provides prospective clients with clues to your organizational abilities – and level of success. A cheap-looking office telegraphs that you’re not very good at what you do, while a tasteful, expensive looking office means that you’re reaping the rewards of your competence. Mission office furniture is an excellent way to decorate an office because while Mission pieces resemble expensive antiques, they’re a lot more functional.

Mission style furniture is also an excellent way to decorate a home office. How many hours do you spend in your home office anyway? Forty hours a week? More? Don’t you deserve something more pleasing to look at than a couple of metal filing cabinets and a door on a couple of sawhorses that serves as a desk?

A Brief History of Mission Furniture

Mission furniture is a furniture style popularized in the latter part of the 19th century, inspired by the spare and elegant design aesthetic of Old California’s Spanish Missions. Its characteristic elements were born necessity: in old California there was neither the time nor the resources to build anything that wasn’t simple and functional; when metal nails were scarce, the furniture maker worked with dovetailed joints and barb twists to fit of edges together.

The late 19th century was height of the Victorian era when excess ruled the day, and form very seldom followed function. Mission furniture, with its high level of craftsmanship and simple lines and planes that emphasized — rather than camouflaged — the wood from which it was made, must have seemed like a breath of hot air in an overheated room, a welcome antidote to the mass produced furnishings that followed the Industrial Revolution.

Mission furniture had a lot in common with William Morris’s Arts and Crafts Movement, which also advocated simple forms, traditional craftsmanship, and the integrity of raw materials. Its reputation was boosted in the early part of the 20th century when the architect Frank Lloyd Wright began designing furniture in the Mission style.

Contemporary Mission Office Furniture

Today several companies sell mass-produced furniture in the Mission style. Chief among these is the retail chain store Target which offers Mission style chair sets, book cases and file cabinets for well under $200. BarnFurniture, a Los Angeles based outlet for Amish-made products, sells Mission-style desks at prices that range from between $350 for a simple writing desk with a pull-out keyboard shelf to $2,600 for a desk with a wider surface and seven drawers, two of which double as file cabinets. Quite a few Mission-inspired office pieces can also be found through web clearing houses like Overstock.com and Amazon.com.

Additionally, a number of small companies throughout the United States offer hand-crafted Mission office furniture and household furniture. Some of these pieces are reproductions of vintage pieces, but many are original designs that use classic Mission-style elements – dovetailed joints; slats, flat panels, vertical and horizontal lines; natural woods, predominantly wood – to craft new paradigms. Two of the best:

• Cold River Furniture: Peter Maynard’s furniture has been written up in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, American Bungalow, and Interior Design magazine. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has commissioned pieces from him. His signature line of furniture is Cold River, which he describes as a vision for the future of Mission furniture. Individual pieces are made to order, incorporating site specific design elements, and delivered upon completion – a process that takes between three and six months. Cold River Furniture has two showrooms—one in South Acworth, NH; the other in Bellows Falls, Vermont. You can also order furniture from their website.

• The Mission Guild Studio: The Mission Guild Studio is a collective of furniture makers, located in the historic “leatherstocking” region of northern New York state, that specializes both in traditional repurposings and pieces that are one of a kind. A simple Mission library table without drawers or a desk with a single drop drawer will set you back approximately $2,500. Custom orders are available. While the Mission Guild Studio does not have a showroom, its extensive catalog is displayed on its website.

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