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MHD Interior Designer Network
Posted by Manhattan Home Design on Feb 15th 2019
5 Key Elements of the Mid-Century Modern Style
If you are reading this article, chances are you already
know a thing or two about mid-century modernism. We want to bring back some
topics from our previous articles this 2019 in order to appease those audiences
that are just getting to understand the different styles and tenets of interior
design and furniture. The Mid-century modern style, in particular, is our
banner and inspiration, and we’re proud to be able to furnish America with
quality replicas inspired by the works of the best designers from that period. Our Eames Lounge chair with ottoman, particularly, has been awarded number one
on the Houzz
portal. Other best-selling items in our catalog include a gorgeous replica of
Eero Saarinen’s Womb
chair, the Eames
Aluminum Group office chair, and Saarinen’s Tulip Table.
The mid-century modern style of furniture has something for everyone, so here
are 5 key elements of this style that might help you get a quick sense of what
it’s all about.
Suggested Item: Womb Chair
The style from the 1950s and 60s originated from the work of
the Bauhaus designers in Germany and other influences like the international
Arts and Crafts Movement from the beginnings of the 20
th century. A
mixture of influences and a certain focus on functionality and versatility,
which probably came from the aura of the Industrial Revolution, led certain
designers to create furniture that was minimalist, meaning that it didn’t have
elaborate ornaments on the frames, cushions, or even patterns on the
upholstery, etcetera. There was a focus on cleaner lines, neutral colors, and a
certain sleekness that’s characteristic of mid-century modernist pieces. Two
great example of the sleekness of mid-century furniture are our
Noguchi table replica, and also our Eames
plywood chair replica.
Following along with this line of thought, we can also
appreciate that mid-century designers had a thing for geometry, which is also a
way of returning to the most basic elements of design, and shedding
ornamentation, in order to favor both functionality, versatility, and
aesthetic. This is why rectangular, circular, and triangular shapes are very,
very noticeable. And you can also find diamond-like shapes, cylinders, and
cubes, but you will seldom find more elaborate shapes than these. This kind of
approach to geometry is key to understand the natural feel of this furniture,
which is what the designers intended (most of them). The Arco Lamp,
inspired by the original design by Achille Castiglioni, is a very good example
of the modernist take in geometry. Just a solid marble cuboid, a circular base,
and a sleek curved neck that binds the two of them together.
Suggested Item: Arco Lamp
Some mid-century designers attempted to copy shapes and
ideas from the natural world. For example, consider the following chairs’
names: Womb chair, Ox
chair, Egg chair,
chair, and Bubble
chair. These are all made by different designers. What do they have in
common? They were inspired by a particular element of nature. Along with the
choice of geometric shapes (also an attempt to return to nature), this
particular brand of design is called ‘biomorphism,’ which simply means trying
to make something that resembles life itself. The Eames Lounge chair, though
not really biomorphic, was said to have the feel and shape of a “well-used
first baseman’s mitt.” The Arco Lamp mentioned above was reportedly inspired by
a tall European streetlight from the 20
th century. These could also
be considered examples of biomorphism, to some extent.
Suggested Item: Eames Lounge Chair Replica
Experimentation was key to achieve what these designers
wanted from their furniture. In order to make this nature-inspired items
functional and beautiful at the same time, they had to try and combine
different elements whose properties could let them do that. The hardness of the
steel with the flexibility and durability of leather, for example. The softness
of wool with the moldable sturdiness of plywood or fiberglass. Mixed materials
are very, very noticeable on mid-century furniture, and they end up adding to
the overall aesthetic of the final products. The perfect example would be our replica of
the Halyard chair by Hans Wegner, which is also on our best-seller list.
Suggested Item: Flag Halyard Chair
Remember the names we mentioned above in point number 3? The
designers of those chairs are, in order: Eero Saarinen, Hans Wegner, Arne
Jacobsen, Harry Bertoia, and Eero Aarnio. They are only five designers from a
myriad of hard working men and women who made mid-century furniture timelessly
appealing, functional, and groundbreaking. Not only we pull from the works of a
long list of furniture geniuses, as you can see, we also recreate more than one
piece, usually. For example, in the case of Charles and Ray Eames (America’s
foremost mid-century designers after Florence Knoll), we also have a replica of
their La Chaise
lounge chair, their rocking
chair in fiberglass, a
set of dining chairs inspired by them, and many others. Other best sellers include
a replica of Arne Jacobsen’s Swan chair,
and George Nelson’s famous