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托福听力短文 II-08-1

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(WA) The next style of furniture design I'd like to discuss is Shaker furniture design. The Shakers are a religious group that flourished in the nineteenth-century United States. At that time, the Shakers lived in their own communities and believed in living simply. This ideal of simplicity extended to their furniture design, as you will see.

Because the shape of their furniture wasn't supposed to be unnecessarily decorative, the furniture's surface became the only place to create visual pleasure. Shaker furniture used light-colored woods like pine, maple, or cherry. It was often painted blue, green, or yellow.

As these slides show, some of their most interesting pieces were made for the workplace. Notice that this sewing table has drawers that can be pulled out from either side. This feature enables two people to sew at the same time. Likewise, if you look closely at these slides of counters and workbenches, you'll notice that these pieces were also designed to be used from more than one side. Thus, several people would be able to work at one time.

Nowadays, Shaker furniture design's enjoying a revival. The simple but stylish furniture made by the Shakers is popular among affluent collectors, including such celebrities as Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey. As you've seen, the plainness of Shaker furniture makes it strangely modern in appearance. In fact, their austere, minimalist designs have influenced several modern furniture designers, some of whom we'll discuss next.

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