Clean lines, simplicity, form and function are the building blocks of Mid-Century Modern design.
Anchored by landmark pieces like the Eames lounge chairs and the George Nelson Marshmallow sofa, mid-century modern design is defined by mid-20th century architecture, furniture and graphic design, although some interior designers say the peak of the period was actually between 1947 and 1957.
“It brings a contemporary take on luxury, where the focus is on sleek, clean shapes and forms,” said Tara Bernerd, founder of London-based Tara Bernerd & Partners. “Exquisite craftsmanship is key to its appeal and this is paired with contemporary fabrics, which bring a real sense of understated opulence.”
A tribute to the era from the 1930s to the 1960s, mid-century modern design is rooted in affordability and practicality in the aftermath of World War II with influences of minimalism sparked by Scandinavian design, notes Decorilla .com. Think decorative patterns, marble worktops, wooden floors and leave the materials as they are in all their simplicity with the idea that function dictates style with furniture in flat, geometric shapes.
The Modernist movement was born out of the Industrial Revolution and was influenced by interior design and architectural geniuses such as George Katsutoshi Nakashima, known for his oversized natural wood tables made from plain slabs with natural edges assembled. Another notable artist from the era is Isamu Noguchi, a landscape architect known for his iconic side tables which include a curved wooden sculpture-like base with a free-form glass top. And, of course, Eero Saarinen, a Finnish-American architect and industrial designer known for the now ubiquitous, gravity-defying pedestal tables and chairs for some of Knoll’s most recognized designer furniture from the late 1940s through the 1950s. His hugely popular tulip table, dating from the late 1950s, made in round and oval iterations, continues to be sold among traditional furniture makers from Ikea to West Elm.
Isabelle Dubern-Mallevays, co-founder of design marketplace The Invisible Collection, explains new trends in the timeless style of Mid-Century Modern design, including an affinity for curved furniture, materials with luxurious details and elaborate lines, and sofas that make the statement as the ultimate style signifier, whether in a textured bouclé fabric or a more modular iteration.
“Legacy quality, aesthetics and comfort are imperative, hence the enduring mid-century influence,” Ms. Dubern-Mallevays said.
Here are three ways to incorporate mid-century modern design into your own abode.