Mid-century modern furniture has made a comeback. We’ve all seen the reemergence of clean lines, teak wood and organic shapes in interiors magazines and the pieces reproduced in high street furniture shops. Most of us could probably even name a few mid-century modern designers (when in doubt, think Eames!). But if you want to add a little more meat to that knowledge, check out this handy cheat’s guide to mid-century modern furniture:
So, when was this stuff designed?
In short, after the Second World War.
After the war, homes were built quickly and simply to cope with the rising demand. Furniture started to reflect these requirements too and became pared-back and functional using natural materials. Gone were the days of gaudy designs and overcomplicated pieces, now everything needed to be straight-forward and multi-functional.
There’s some debate about when the ‘mid-century modern’ era comes to an end. Broadly speaking though, pieces designed and produced from 1945 all the way through to the mid-1970s tend to fall into this category.
Who are the designers we need to know?
Start easy, by getting to know Charles and Ray Eames. Firstly, you should know that ‘Ray’ actually refers to Ray-Bernice Alexandra Kaiser Eames. After marrying in 1941 and settling in California, the husband and wife team turned their spare room into a workshop and began their life’s work designing and manufacturing some of the most iconic designs of the period.
Arne Jacobsen was a Danish architect and designer who initially created the Egg Chair in 1958 for the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. Now synonymous with mid-century modern design and furniture, Jacobsen’s designs are still produced today.
Isamu Noguchi was a Japanese American artist, architect and designer. The Noguchi table was first produced in 1947 and is comprised of a wooden base with two identical curved pieces and a heavy glass top.
Furniture pieces from these designers would have been out of reach for the average family in Britain. Instead, manufacturer such as G-Plan and Ercol began creating the highly functional, mass-producable furniture that is still so desirable today.
Where can I see these pieces?
If you’re looking for some easy inspiration, start by watching Mad Men. The beautiful set design and attention to detail is extraordinary.
If you’re left wanting more, make your way to one of the Midcentury Modern Shows held a couple of times a year and you can soak in Classic design from Britain, America and Scandinavia.
We’d love to hear from you about mid-century modern furniture and where you find your design inspiration. Get in touch in the comments or on social media. We love to chat!
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