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What Exactly is Mid-Century Modern Design?

What Exactly is Mid-Century Modern Design?

While some think mid-century modern design is having a comeback, it never truly left in the first place. It has, however, become increasingly popular with younger audiences and has become a featured style for any furniture designer or design enthusiast. Almost any place you look for interior design boasts their mid-century modern offerings. So what is this retro style that turns every design page?

Adopted from the Bauhaus and Danish Modernist movements, this design style gained popularity in America and beyond during the 1940s through the 1960s. Mid-century modern blended the American desire for efficiency and mass production with the Scandinavian aim for handmade products with found materials. The result was a style that is simple, modern and crafted in quality.

The postwar climate in America was booming. More people became homeowners, and furniture became more attainable. Characterized by sleek lines and unique shapes, mid-century modern was futuristic, ahead of its time -- just like the time period it hailed from. The design style used industrial materials and natural elements like wood, leather, steel and aluminum. Color ranged from the earth tones of the time period to eventually more bold, vibrant colors. Architecture also adopted the style with flat, split-level homes

Because it’s so wide-ranging, some still think mid-century modern refers to modern design in general instead of a specific look. Reproductions of the pieces from the 50s and 60s are still popular for the same reasons they were created: functionality, comfort, portability and aesthetically pleasing design. Mid-century modern design is, at its core, where past meets future, so it makes sense that the style lives on in popularity today.

Take a look at some of the designers behind recognizable mid-century modern pieces you know and love:

Danish architect Arne Jacobsen - Swan Chair, Egg Chair

Charles and Ray Eames- American architect, design and filmmaker duo - Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman + Shell Chair

Eero Saarinen - American-Finnish architect and designer - Womb Chair

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