Mid-Century Modern Patio Furniture Buying Guide April 19 2021
Mid-century modern patio furniture is a wonderful way to create a unique, stylish outdoor space, especially if you want to avoid the generic styles usually found at a typical outdoor furniture store. In fact, even just a single piece of mid-century modern patio outdoor furniture can completely transform the look and feel of your outdoor living area.
But before you start shopping for a massive, mid-century makeover for your space, it can be helpful to learn a little more about the designers, companies, and styles that were popular during that era. That way, when you’re weighing your options between a vintage Schultz chaise lounge and a Salterini hoop chair, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at - and which one suits your style best.
We’ve created a go-to guide to buying mid-century modern outdoor furniture, breaking down the basics, so you’re ready to create a space inspired by one of the greatest eras in design history.
Your Mid-Century Modern Patio Furniture Buying Guide
One of the most important things to know about how to find mid-century modern patio furniture for your patio or outdoor space is this: a piece of furniture might be mid-century, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s mid-century modern.
How Can You Tell If Furniture is Mid-Century Modern?
Mid-century modern design was a distinctive movement in American design, spanning from about 1945 to the late 1960s. While there were certainly other mid-century designs popular during that time, they didn’t fall under the specifically modern design aesthetic. Mid-century modern is generally characterized by simple, clean lines, geometric influences, and the use of interesting materials.
So, for example, you might spot a beautiful French Provincial style patio set made by acclaimed mid-century modern designer John Salterini. But even though the set was crafted by an MCM designer during the mid-century, the style itself isn’t mid-century modern.
Of course, mixing vintage styles and investing in the pieces you truly love can be the best way to end up with a home and outdoor space that speaks to you - so you never have to strictly stick to just a single design type.
Popular Brands and Styles of MCM Outdoor Furniture
Like most design eras, mid-century modern has a handful of standout styles, designers, and companies, many of which were responsible for creating pieces that are still around today. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most collectible mid-century modern brands, specifically when it comes to outdoor furniture.
Brown Jordan was founded in 1945 by Robert Brown and Hubert Jordan and has long been a brand name associated with high-quality, beautiful patio furniture designs. The company is still a favorite for many of the world’s top luxury resorts, and even the White House itself has been home to Brown Jordan patio furniture.
When you look back to mid-century furniture from Brown Jordan, most of their most sought-after vintage pieces were created by designer Walter Lamb. Curving shapes and cotton cording are common features of the vintage rocking chairs and chaise loungers, as is the salvaged copper pipe used to build each frame.
The John B. Salterini Company of New York, New York
This notable brand was best known for its NEVA-RUST line, which many attribute as being the first in a wave of outdoor furniture made with wrought iron. Not since the Victorian era had wrought iron patio furniture experienced such popularity, and the Salterini designs took those “old fashioned” styles and updated them for modernist preferences.
During the height of NEVA-RUST’s popularity, it was advertised as furniture both outdoors and in. The signature Salterini hoop chair (designed by Maurizio Tempestini) is a favorite of vintage collectors and is sometimes called a “radar chair” or “clamshell chair.”
Keep in mind that Salterini designs are frequently imitated today, and it’s easy to be fooled by an imported knock-off - so be sure you’re shopping with a vintage dealer you trust.
Even for the interior design novice, the metal lattice chairs by Harry Bertoia are instantly recognizable. Debuting in the early 1950s, these indoor/outdoor Bertoia chairs are an excellent demonstration of the way that Bertoia’s artistic background frequently influenced his designs. With their sculptural appeal, the chairs are both functional outdoor furniture and a work of art.
Bertoia chairs were produced by the Knoll furniture brand, with production lasting well into the 1970s. Older versions of the chairs will be labeled with the “Knoll Associates” name (1969 and earlier), while more recent ones carry the “Knoll International” name.
Another well-known designer for Knoll Furniture was Richard Schulz, who actually helped Bertoia with the famous Wire Collection. In the early 1960s, Schulz began experimenting with his own outdoor designs. The award-winning Petal Table, in 1960, was one of his top successes. The 715 Chaise Lounge was another notable piece, released in 1961 as a complement to Bertoia’s designs.
You can also find an interesting selection of aluminum outdoor furniture from Schulz, which was crafted during the mid-1960s. These pieces aimed to balance durability and sophistication and were manufactured in various forms of lounge furniture and outdoor dining sets.
Woodard's earliest outdoor furniture designs came in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until their welded wrought iron Sculptura chair that they really became known for MCM design. Created in 1956, the Sculptura chair was designed by Russell Woodard. One of its most significant features was that it was the first of its kind to be made without the need for expensive molds.
Today, there are still a variety of Sculptura chairs for sale, including versions with and without arms, as well as outdoor rockers. Footstools and tables that complement the design are also often available.
Best Selection of Vintage Outdoor Furniture in Long Beach at Urban Americana
Are you on the hunt for authentic mid-century modern patio decor in Long Beach? Whether you’re an MCM devotee or you’re simply interested in exploring MCM style, you can find a treasure trove of vintage design at Urban Americana.
Our vintage warehouse is always brimming with a broad range of outdoor furniture and decor, turning your shopping experience into a journey through the best in vintage design. At Urban Americana, there’s always something new to discover, so you’ll never go home empty-handed. We carry an extensive selection of MCM indoor and outdoor furniture, as well as art, decor, lighting, rugs, and so much more. Here, you’ll discover all the unique pieces you won’t find anywhere else.
Turn your outdoor space into a stylish, comfortable place where you love to spend your time. Come to Urban Americana’s vintage warehouse in Long Beach to start shopping now!
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