The Elements of Mid-Century Modern Design April 27 2017

Elements of Mid Century Modern Design

Mid-century modern design is an era of home design typified by the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was the time following World War II when many families were finally recovering from the shaky economy of the generation before.

It was also an era during which many homeowners wanted to reconnect with nature, adding large, sweeping windows throughout their homes and using natural materials in modern ways to bring both rustic and futuristic looks together. 

Unusual Shapes as Art

During the mid-century modern era, it became common for designers to highlight asymmetrical shapes and more unusual angles in their designs. For instance, the steepled A-frame house gave way to flat roofs, or those with a very low angle offset from center.

Adrian Pearsall was among the designers who created vintage furniture that highlighted these eye-catching angles. Geometric shapes were often featured on rugs, throw pillows and artwork. 

 

Industrial Materials Meet Natural Resources

Another common element of mid-century modern design is the combination of natural building materials with modern industrialized creations. For instance, plexiglass, concrete and complex woven fabrics were often showcased amid a variety of hardwoods, stained to bring out their authentic beauty.

There was also more thought given to functionality and how furniture fit the human body. This led to some creative armrest and backrest designs on chairs that have stuck around for decades in antique furniture shops

No Longer Living In Isolation

Perhaps the most telling element of the mid-century modern movement is the connection drawn between the interior and exterior of the home. Instead of living closed off from the world within your home, this era welcomed in sunlight and views of the garden. This meant large windows and door designs that often opened on tons of greenery.

As opposed to growing gardens solely for food, as many did during the Depression, more people were able to enjoy gardens as art right outside their own homes, and gardens were planted to complement the patio furniture and the aesthetic of the home

Urban Americana

Today, generations of people remember mid-century modern design as an uplifting time in both interior design work and furniture design. Many popular pieces of furniture are still available through Urban Americana from some of the most celebrated designers of the era.