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London Design Festival: Mid Century Modern Designs

An eclectic mix of well-established and up-and-coming young furniture designers will be presenting an innovative range of furniture at the 21st Century Furniture V exhibition at London Design Festival 2015. A tribute to the Arts and Crafts legacy for today’s designer-makers, this selling exhibition runs from 13 Sept – 10 Oct 2015.
Hosting two invitation-only private views on 13 and 15 Sept, and a possible joint event with the Furniture Makers Company and other Livery Guilds on 29 Sept. In addition, a press conference is planned for 9 June.


What is Mid-Century Modern Furniture?

Mid-century modern is an architectural, interior, product and graphic design that generally describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965. The term, employed as a style descriptor as early as the mid-1950s, was reaffirmed in 1983 by Cara Greenberg in the title of her book, Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s (Random House), celebrating the style that is now recognized by scholars and museums worldwide as a significant design movement.


Mid-Century Modern Furniture Influences

Profoundly influenced by International style architecture, designers of furniture during this period created pieces that emphasized utility and clean lines. In part, Mid-Century Modern furniture also developed from Bauhaus style, which originated in Germany. The Bauhaus was a craft guild founded in 1919, which was open to all types of artists, including painters, sculptors, and architects. Many of the Bauhaus designers and architects relocated to the United States during the war after the upheaval in Germany.

 Characteristics of Mid-Century Modern Furniture

The invention of new furniture materials made different forms and textures possible. Furniture created in the Mid-Century Modern style offered geometric shapes, organic curves, clean lines, use of traditional and unique resources, and an emphasis on contrasting materials. The pieces were devoid of ornamental details and highlighted function to remain true to International Style influences.


Served Many Purposes

Much of the furniture served many purposes to meet the needs of modern life. Built to nest, stack, fold, or bend, pieces offered interchangeable options for interior design. The casual lifestyle of the day also emphasized outdoor living with the creation of functional patio furniture.


 New Materials and Color

Materials like plastic and new techniques for construction played a large role in the creation of Mid-Century Modern furniture. Instead of imitating wood pieces, plastic offered unique qualities for furniture design. Other nontraditional materials included stainless steel, glass, Lucite, Plexiglass, and plywood. Furniture featured graphic black-and-white elements in addition to a wide spectrum of colors from neutrals to bold hues.


 Danish Inspiration

Danish inspiration brought about the use of teak wood, which offered warm color and durability to furniture. Oak, rosewood, and walnut also made attractive Mid-Century Modern pieces. They worked well with the color palate and organic lines.

Popular Mid-Century Modern Designers

Many popular Mid-Century Modern designers continue to inspire current furniture creators. Offering unique perspective and style, design students and collectors around the globe are familiar with their work.

Source: Mid-Century Modern Design

See also Mid Century Modern Furniture

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