4 Characteristics that Define Mid-Century Modern Furniture

By: Grace Light.

The dramatic relevance of !a href=”http://poetichome.com/2008/03/10/the-savvy-guide-to-buying-mid-century-modern-antique-furniture/”>mid-century modern design continues to take a foremost role in today’s design inspiration. While there are many furniture pieces that claim to be “mid-century modern,” there are several defining characteristics that capture the essence of this era of modernism.

The lovely lines!

The most outstanding feature of mid-century modern furniture is the clean, lovely lines. As a sharp contrast to the furniture that pre-dated the 1950s, mid-century modern designers found beauty in lines that were sleek, uncluttered, and clean. Smooth lines epitomized the modernity these designers wished to emulate.

Mid-century modern furniture is easily spotted by its streamlined appearance. Using clean lines to create sculptural elements, the simplicity of the line design is what makes mid-century modern furniture continue to be relevant in today’s homes. Those who earn the credit of defining these streamlined lines are designers like Charles Eames, Euro Saarinen, Anne Jacobsen, and Miles van der Rone.

Prevalence of teak

Along with the infusion of man-made materials, including fiberglass, was a tremendous affection for teak wood in mid-century modern design. With the large Danish influence on modernism, the wood’s warmth and strength was embraced by a WWII-tattered world looking to find serenity. In addition, from a design perspective, teak provided an excellent backdrop and accent to the interesting colors and textures prevalent in mid-century modern design.

Rainbow of colors and textures

Bursting onto the scenes of mid-century modern inspiration was a plethora of unique textures and colors. By emphasizing the contemporary outlook of the home, mid-century modern design wanted to forget the past, but rather emphasize the hope (of a peaceful world) that the future held. Thus, mid-century modern design saw a great plethora of colors and textures that were mixed together in great creativity.

A quintessential example of the mixture of colors and textures are presented in the two most popular mid-century modern furniture pieces today: the Eero Saarinen womb chair and the Eames fiberglass chairs. Seen today, as well as in modernism magazines from the mid-century, the yellow Knoll womb chair was beautiful paired with the red Herman Miller chair made of fiberglass. White furniture was also used frequently, as well as white accents, to create that clean, smooth look that tied together all the textures and colors.

Use of cutting-edge materials (at least, for that era)

Turning the traditional woods on its head, mid-century modern design introduced the mass appeal of man-made materials that were not previously found in furniture. Plastic becomes an important element of mid-century modern furniture, including Bakelite on table tops, along with Plexiglass and Lucite. A classic example of the use of nontraditional materials is Eames’ LAR Low-Low armchair made of fiberglass, as well as the tulip armchair by Saarinen.

The tremendous popularity of mid-century modern design in today’s interiors is indicative of the timeless appeal of great designers like Herman Miller, Eames, and Saarinen. 60 years later, people are paying top dollar for authentic, valuable mid-century modern furniture pieces.

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For additional poetichome.com/2008/03/10/the-savvy-guide-to-buying-mid-century-modern-antique-furniture/”>mid-century modern furniture inspirations, visit Poetic Home for ideas on vintage industrial projects, re-upholstery DIY guides, and more mid-century modern eye candy.

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