Rediscover the essence of mid-century modern style, a design movement that describes mid-20th century developments in modern design from roughly 1933 to 1965. The style would be distinguished by Cara Greenberg as functional, comfortable, and chic in her book ‘Mid-Century: Furniture of the 1950s’. “Some love it and others simply can’t stand it, but there is no denying that the 50’s are back in vogue again”, describes Greenberg. Selling over 100,000 copies the book became an instant hit and coined the phrase “mid-century modern”, which was quickly adopted by the design world. The mid-century modern movement in the USA was a slightly more organic expression of the German Bauhaus movement, a style seen in works by Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.
The Egg Lounge chair, designed by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen in 1958, features the traditional star shaped foot and is shown here upholstered in its original cognac leather.
Discover this rare mid-century modern 3 door cabinet by George Nakashima with grilled pandanus cloth sliding doors.
Created by Delightfull, the Caetano is an essential retro design armchair that will bring a classy touch to your living room.
Mid-century modern design can be spotted all over present day society. The TV series Mad Men is a flagrant example of the looks mainstream appeal. Online home design site, Houzz, describes the style as having an “emphasis on pared-down forms, contemporary patterns, natural materials and a seamless flow between indoors and out [that creates] a medley of functional comfort and chic style.”
The furniture of Carlo Mollino designs were broadly acclaimed. His 1949 Reale table set a new world record for the most expensive piece of 20th century furniture ever auctioned.
When discussing this style it is crucial to ask why mid-century modern continues to be popular, and why contemporary retailers have followed its clean-lined look so coherently? A mid-century piece is simply a well-designed object with a timeless appeal, says Sotheby’s Joshua Holdeman, Woldwide Head of 20th Century Design, Photographs and Prints. “[Midcentury modern designs] sit very well in contemporary homes and interiors—they still feel fresh today, they still feel modern. A lot of those pieces haven’t been bettered. They still stand the test of time.”
Designed by Delightfull, the monocles sideboard is reminescent of mid-century design. This retro sideboard was inspired by the 50s and is a perfect focal point for an urban space.
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The curved sofa by Leif Hansen from Denmark was designed in the late 1950s. Made of solid rosewood arms and legs, it is upholstered in a chic and soft heathered boucle with hues of gray and black.
Introduced in 1956, the Herman miller catalog describes the Marshmallow sofa as “the first of a series of pieces embodying a new concept in soft seating”.
Mid-century icons appear all over movies, television, and advertisements. On The Daily Show, all of Jon Stewart’s guests were interviewed sitting on Eames’ Mesh Management Chairs. Arne Jacobson’s Egg chair was used in a late 90s television ad for L’Oreal where Heather Locklear is seen seated in it, and again in a print ad for Razr phones in 2008.
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The clean, well-designed lines of mid-century modern furniture lend themselves well to successful advertisements. Be inspired by the elegant elements of this style!