What’s hot, what’s not? Our very own Ilse Crawford, Kelly Collins highlights the best home decor and styling trends in the interior design stratosphere. This week, Kelly talks Mid-Century Modern.
Mid-Century Modern is ever growing in popularity, a style which isn’t slowing down anytime soon. It's more mainstream than ever before and arguably more popular and attainable than it was in the sixties. Search ‘mid-century' in any online retailer’s search engine and 9/10 it will result in some sort of offering.
‘Mid-century modern’ itself is a difficult term to define. It broadly describes architecture, furniture and graphic design from the middle of the 20th century. Think clean lines, organic forms, wenge, and high functionality - mid-century has an undeniably timeless appeal. And it's having yet another come back.
Where did this style derive from? The term ‘mid-century modern’ describes a type of architecture and furniture design, which was prominent in the US during the post World War II era.
The economy was booming and the housing market on the rise, which meant consumers had money to spend. To keep up with demand, furniture designs were simplified, resulting in the birth of clean horizontal lines and open flow settings. The period saw a wealth of new design ideas, based on the technology of the day, that shaped architecture and furniture.
Image: A beautiful example of mid-century modern interiors. In the living room of Glenn Hinderstein’s Hollywood Hills home, a 1960s ranch house renovated by designer Peter Dunham and architect Diana Lands. The custom-made sofa is upholstered in a Loro Piana linen, the armchairs, cocktail table and lamp are vintage, and the painting is by Marco Lorenzetto.
One of the main influencers during this time was architect Richard Neutra. Neutra’s domestic architecture was a blend of art, landscape, and practical comfort. His main priority was the comfort of the users and how they lived in the spaces. This was unlike many other architects, who were known for wanting to push their artistic vision onto their clients.
Image: The Kaufmann House is located in Palm Springs, California and was designed by architect Richard Neutra in 1946. It was one of the last large-commission domestic projects designed by Neutra, but it’s also arguably one of his most architecturally noteworthy and famous homes.
Charles and Ray Eames also had their skin in the game. The Eames Office were industrial designers who made significant historical contributions to the development of modern architecture and furniture. The Eames’ love of materials and inventive technology shows in every single one of their designs, as is their willingness to spend years perfecting it.
Their most recognisable work comes in the form of the Eames lounge chair, image below:
The Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman are furnishings made of moulded plywood and leather. Released in 1956.
How to create the look
Less is more. The style can be overdone, we don’t want your guests thinking they’ve stepped into a time machine.
Mid-century modern can be a mixture of old and new. Consider a vintage purchase or a good replica, a wooden sideboard or TV unit will instantly give a dramatic mid-century modern look. Add a contemporary upholstery item and you are almost there. For a more cost-effective and quick way to get the look, explore accessories, plants and artwork.
To help with your scheming, we’ve created a moodboard using the Model 01 velvet vine. It looks bloody good. Am I right?
Go on, have a go. Here's some classic mid-century ideas: