Friday, December 13, 2013
Mid-century modern design is the term used to refer to the period of design during the middle of the twentieth century, more specifically during the mid-1930s until the mid-1960s.
Inspired by the Bauhaus design style established in 1919 in Germany, mid-century modern design harks back to the Bauhaus aesthetic sense of minimalism, but this time using newer materials such as plastic and new methods such as molded plywood. Iconic furniture pieces during this period are one of the most coveted items today. There is still much demand for the original pieces from the period as well as their replicas.
Charles and Ray Eames
Designer couple Charles and Ray Eames are known for their designs made for Herman Miller, the American manufacturer of home furniture and furnishings. One of the earliest chairs they designed for Herman Miller is the LCW or Lounge Chair Wood. Made of plywood, the LCW is designed for young families who need lightweight and inexpensive furniture.
Another popular design from the Eamses is the Eames Lounge Chair. The leather upholstery and molded plywood with rosewood veneer is a more opulent design compared to the other ones.
Harry Bertoia is best known for the Diamond Chair, which is made of chrome-plated, bent and welded steel. An artist and a sculptor, Harry Bertoia once said, “In sculpture, I am primarily concerned with space, form and the characteristics of metal. In the chairs, many functional problems have to be satisfied first… but when you get right down to it, the chairs are studies in space, form, and metal, too.”
His one-of-a-kind artistic sensibility shines through with his furniture pieces made of metal wires. The Diamond Chair was designed for Knoll International in 1953, and has been in production around the world since.
One of the most iconic mid-century modern pieces that is still popular today is the Tulip Chair. The original chair is made of plastic-coated cast aluminum and molded fiberglass with an upholstered latex foam.
Also designed for Knoll, the Tulip Chair is a testament to Saarinen’s sculptural approach. He uses modern materials and combines them in unique and organic ways. - Aislinn Kee