Design Dictionary: Camel Back, Channel Back and Cabriole
C is for “component.” Believe it or not, every piece of furniture is not entirely unique. Designers’ work is often inspired by the designs of others, and one designer in particular has had the greatest influence of them all. It's no other than Mother Nature herself who often spurs our best ideas! Our third letter of the alphabet highlights three common “C” components of nature found in furniture design.
Camels are known for the fatty deposits on their backs known as “humps.” These humps have also inspired the “camel back” design first used in 18th century sofas and chairs, where the peak of the curve is centered on the back. Our Parlor Side Chair from our At Home in Belle Maison collection is an elegant example of how one of Asia’s native species has made its way into your living room!
Another natural component of furniture design is the “cabriole.” Taken from the Spanish word for “goat,” the cabriole style resembles the leg of an animal. The double curve turns in at the “knee” and flares out at the foot, just like the hooves of a goat, and was first used in 17th century design for table and chair legs. Our Parlor Side Chair is also the perfect example.
The Channel Back
Last but not least, we hoist our sails and cruise out into the channel to find this next nature-inspired design. The “channel back” refers to a backing with grooves or fluting as decoration, much like that of a seashell. This component is found in chair, and less commonly sofa, design, like our Abbott Chair from the Drexel Heritage Upholstery collection.
So whether you’re designing with flair or leaning on the simpler side, these staple furniture designs give a room natural balance…even if it does seem a bit odd to say you used a camel for inspiration!