Defining Residential Contemporary Mailboxes

September 22, 2014

Knobloch Hollywood Red Wall Mount MailboxA Primer on the Design Differences Between Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Mailboxes

Modern mailboxes derived their design motif from the modern era that exploded on the American scene in the early 20th century and peaked in the twenty-five year period between 1950 and 1975.

Traditional design goes further back in history and crosses the Atlantic for its motif as it pulls it’s design inspiration from 18th and 19th century European nations.

Contemporary mailbox design (also labeled transitional design) is a design mix of traditional and modern mailboxes. In fact, the very word “contemporary” means “with the times” or “characteristic of the present era.”

In addition, like French Traditional or Italian Renaissance designs that punctuate the schema of traditional design, contemporary mailbox designs can be described in geographic terms such as California contemporary or New England contemporary.

Knobloch & Bobi Contemporary Mailboxes

The Knobloch line of modern contemporary mailboxes is a shining example of this design motif as the Knobloch line of modern mailboxes are both minimalistic in nature and easy to use.

Another shining example of modern contemporary mailboxes is the Bobi front access wall mount and post mount mailboxes (both classic and grand styles).

While the Bobi mailboxes were created in the post-modern era in which we live, their stylistic origins are rooted in the modern blue USPS collection box that formerly dotted the urban landscape.

Like most modern mailboxes (and modern design) the Bobi mailboxes follow the modern design mantra of “form follows function,” which mean these Bobi modern mailboxes not only feature the clean, crisp flowing lines of modern design but they also work seamlessly to receive one’s mail.

Completely unadorned with traditional design accouterments, modern mailbox design is more of a meld between clean lines and either bright, bold colors or dull monochromatic finishes. You can view a wide selection of modern contemporary mailboxes online at The MailboxWorks.

Ecco & Curb Appeal Contemporary Stainless Steel Mailboxes

Contemporary design also features clean lines but is more curvaceous than modern design and it includes shiny, reflective surfaces such as stainless steel.

Outstanding examples of contemporary mailboxes are the Ecco stainless steel wall mount mailbox (with leather label) as well as the entire European Home Curb Appeal line of stainless steel mailboxes.

These stainless steel contemporary mailboxes feature both sweeping curves and shiny metal surfaces so indicative of contemporary mailbox design.

Transitional elements such as the leather label on the Ecco mailboxes and the punched-hole design in the body of the Ecco mailboxes are a distinct feature of this contemporary marriage of modern and traditional design motifs.

Traditional vs. Contemporary Mailboxes

Of course, while contemporary mailboxes and modern mailboxes are often confused and can be difficult to distinguish from one another, the design of traditional mailboxes is rarely confused with the design of modern or contemporary mailboxes.

However, since the design of contemporary mailboxes is a mix of modern and traditional, it is crucial to touch on the design of traditional mailboxes.

Traditional design often employs ornate, detailed design flourishes that stand in heavy contrast with the minimalistic design motif of modern contemporary mailboxes.

Moreover, traditional design features deep, rich earth tone colors such as browns and golds as well as jewel tones such as emerald greens, dark forest greens or ruby reds.  If you can picture a mailbox in front of an English or French castle, it is likely a traditional earth toned mailbox.

Key examples of traditional mailbox designs are the beautifully crafted Victorian pedestal mailboxes, the Ecco 8 pedestal mailboxes, and the entire line of Imperial post mount mailboxes.


So there you have it: an easy primer on the design variances between contemporary mailboxes, modern mailboxes, and traditional mailbox design.

Grasping these distinctives (especially between modern and contemporary design) is crucial when communicating your needs to residential design professionals such as architects and landscape designers.

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