Timeless design of mid century modern furniture:
Mid century modern furniture design emerged shortly after the end of World War II and flourished until the early 1960s. During this short period of time, many innovative furniture pieces were produced by forward-thinking designers. Many of these 1950’s furniture pieces are regarded as the most significant furniture of the 20th century and their timeless designs continue to win popularity to this day.
Easy on the eye:
Mid century modern furniture was easily recognizable by its clean, simple lines and organic shapes. Such design successfully complemented the architectural style of the typical mid century modern home that featured parallel lines and grid patterns throughout. To make the furniture look more streamlined, extra padding and upholstery were often removed, revealing the underlying supports. Yet the furniture could still be comfortable with its organic shaped design with curves that cradled the natural human body form.
New materials, more possibilities:
Although traditional materials such as wood were still used in mid century modern furniture, the new technologies and materials developed during the war were used as well. The new ways of molding plastics and aluminum developed by the aircraft industry were a new option for furniture design. New materials such as fiberglass, cast aluminum, acrylics and foam rubber became extremely popular, because they were lightweight, durable, and easy to maintain. It was ironic that the organically shaped furniture were manufactured with such a variety of inorganic materials, but without these materials, the distinctive look of the mid century modern furniture would not have been possible.
Designed by architects:
Mid century modern furniture designers knew how to successfully combine elegance and function in a timeless design. It was not uncommon for these designers to also have backgrounds in architecture. Examples of iconic mid century designers include Harry Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Isamu Noguchi, and Eero Saarinen and their appealing designs are still being manufactured and sold today by companies like Herman Miller, Knoll, and Vitra.
Photo: Eames LCW by Jennifer Remias