How Gingko Inherits the Rich Tradition of Chinese Design

September 26, 2016 2 min read

Post Date: 9/26/2016

Gingko is an inheritor of Chinese design. That’s a bold claim. Could any furniture maker really say that they are the inheritors of a design tradition that stretches back so long ago the way Chinese design does? Well certainly, in the West we have our own ancient traditions for furniture. The chair, the couch –these things and many more owe a great debt to the beginnings of Roman civilization. But for China, a country so rich in history and culture, it can be a challenge to hunt down exactly how it was that the Chinese design aesthetic came to be.

Aside from their traditional architecture, there is another feature of Chinese design that stands out to Westerners both for its boldness, and its beauty. And strangely enough, the aspect of design that the Chinese have so powerfully impacted, interior design and in particular furniture, started with a floor mat.

China’s first piece of furniture

The Chinese have had a great impact on the landscape of furniture and design. But actually the first piece of furniture that they invented was the floor mat. The floor mat has very important historical merit. So much of family life and business transactions happened at the floor level for many centuries of Chinese history because conducting day-to-day life was so commonly done at floor level, the Chinese made various furniture inventions and accessories to suit their floor mats, such as lap desks.

Tang Dynasty – China’s impact on the furniture horizon

The emergence of prominent, Chinese aesthetic above floor level can be traced to the Tang Dynasty. Furniture level rose off of the floor, along with the Chinese elite and royalty, and a decidedly Chinese look began to arrive on the scene, as early as 900s AD.
It continued to grow and expand as an aesthetic into the southern Sung dynasty, when furniture makes began to craft the pieces of furniture we associate with classic Chinese make.

Ming Dynasty –everything changes

Of course, the purely, Chinese design found in the Tang Dynasty was not destined to remain the only feature of Chinese furniture. As the bans on trade with foreign countries lifted, Chinese design evolvedChinese design no longer solely has the traditional look and feel once associated with it. It has become a statement – a combination of luxury, aesthetic, and functionality much the same as modern design trends in the states and Europe.

It is an ever-evolving trend, and imbues the solid walnut furniture made by Gingko, fused with Scandinavian design and the best of Bay Area luxury.