Concluding this history of design series we will now look at my favorite addition to the Modernist Movement, Mid Century Modern (1933-1965). Included in Mid Century Modern is Danish Modern and Swedish Modern Scandinavian designs. (see definitions in the introduction)
Mid Century Modern was defined by sleek and organic designs taken from the Bauhaus and Art Nouveau but morphing into a more relaxed and carefree attainability. One of the driving factors of this style was the idea of bringing furniture into as post war America. Also very influential in furniture design was the Mid Century Architecture spinning off of earlier Frank Lloyd Wright designs. Take for example the Brazilia Series By Broyhill. These architectural furniture pieces were directly inspired by Brasilia the capitol of Brazil. This city planned and built in 1956 employed the principals of Mid Century Modern Architecture. Take a look at the relation of design between the Palacio da Alvorada in Brazil and this Broyhill Brazilia credenza.
You don't have to go all the way to Brazil to see this relationship in action. Just take a look at the famous Eichler tract homes developed by Joseph Eichler in suburban California built during the 1950's. This home style and more like it placed emphasis on open floorplans, with large windows and archways meant to bring the feeling of the outdoors in. Post and beam architecture style was responsible for putting an end to the need for bulky support walls and introduced walls of glass or beams sparse and minimal. This style that met form and function and the needs of the average American family was often referred to as California Modern. The furniture placed in these homes and built with the same concepts in mind compliment the home flawlessly.
You can't discuss Mid Century Modern design and furniture and not talk about the designers themselves. Greats such as George Nelson creator of the slat bench and ball clock played an integral role in the risk taking and cutting edge designs of this era. Husband and wife team Ray & Charles Eames dabled in architecture, philosophy, film, and design.
One of their most popular works was the LCW Bent Plywood Lounge Chair. Companies such as Herman Miller debuting their first modern line of furniture in 1933 as an effort to survive with a new look and a coming depression and Knoll founded in New York City in 1938 can be credited for bringing modern designs to the world.
They introduced iconic pieces that will never be forgotten and employed these and other desiners known as some of the greatest of their time and arguably of all time, and whose furniture continues to be highly sought after and produced today.
Scandinavian designers certainly inspired and influenced american design companies and their creations adorned the homes of Mid Century Modernist Americans along side American designs.
Danish pieces were highly appreciated for their use of Teak wood known for being one of the hardest, strongest and most durable woods as well as its high natural oil making it one of the most attractive and resilient to all weather woods. Accomplished Danish designer Finn Juhl is credited for introducing Danish Modern to the U.S.
*pair Finn Juhl chairs
Swedish designs utilizing more light colored woods such as, birch, alder and elm encompass the natural, organic, simple and handmade properties that are highlighted with the Mid Mod movement. A perfect example of Swedish inspired home designs can still be enjoyed today at the popular chain of Ikea stores around the world.
What a journey it's been for modern design and what a full cast of characters that built it's backbone. So what is next for modern design? Are we destined to repeat classics or can we expand with new innovations and traditions for the future? As is seen with any history lesson it takes many years for an evolution to bring about something so new and different that it stands alone. Still, furniture designers all over the world today continue to add 21st Century components to their work. Let us wait and see. Come December 31st, 2100 a new timeline of design will most certainly exist.
Signing off for now,
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Where does this style come from and what makes it as modern today as it was yesterday? As designers and architects continue to produce modern pieces and structures, what influences their works and can this revival of the Scandinavian and Mid-Century Modern movements and continuing expressions of Modernism bring about a new revolution in design?
I hope to explore this subject at length throughout the summer. If you should have anything to contribute, please let me know.
First we must understand the basics. Here are a few terms and definitions to get us started. Note how many of these overlap and influence one another. This will be a reoccurring theme.
Bauhaus:(1919 – 33) Influential, forward-looking German school of architecture and applied arts. It was founded by Walter Gropius with the ideal of integrating art, craftsmanship, and technology. Realizing that mass production had to be the precondition of successful design in the machine age, its members rejected the Arts and Crafts Movement's emphasis on individually executed luxury objects. The Bauhaus is often associated with a severe but elegant geometric style carried out with great economy of means, though in fact the works produced
by its members were richly diverse.
Modernism (1920-1960's): Modernism, also known as the Modern Movement, marked a conscious break with the past and has been one of the dominant expressions of design practice, production, and theory in the 20th century and is generally characterized visually by the use of modern materials such as tubular steel and glass, the manipulation of abstract forms, space and light, and a restrained palette, dominated by white, off-white, grey, and black.
Mid Century Modern: (1933-1965) is an architectural, interior and
product design form that generally describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture, and urban development, and is an organic offshoot of Modern design that’s often associated with the casual furnishings and carefree look of Eichler tract homes in suburban California during the 1950s.
Scandanavia: is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula, whereas modern Denmark is situated on the Danish islands and Jutland. In English usage, the term Scandinavia, which refers to a cultural region, is occasionally confused with the Scandinavian Peninsula and is sometimes also taken to include Finland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Such usage, however, is considered inaccurate in Scandinavia, where the term Nordic countries instead refers to a broader group comprising both Scandinavia itself as well as countries and territories that are historically associated with the Scandinavian countries, including Finland and Iceland.
Danish Modern: is a vintage style of minimalist wood furniture from Denmark. Popular in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Danish modern is part of the mid-20th century Danish design movement, and is commonly constructed of teak. Noted Danish furniture designer Finn Juhl popularized the style (especially in the United States).
Swedish Modern: This term first became current in the 1930s when modern Swedish design was becoming increasingly well known in Europe and the United States. However, it was at its height in the 1950s and was characterized by many of the qualities of Modernism blended with natural materials such as wood and a Scandinavian respect for craftsmanship.
By looking at differences and similarities among these particular design trends, styles, ideas and regions we will gain a comprehensive idea of what this diverse time of design meant to the world and how it continues to influence arts and culture today.
Signing off for now,
Friday, January 7, 2011
While getting organized and making room for new beginnings and opportunities I like to create simple yet warm spaces that say winter still lingers, but spring is on the horizon. To do this I work on de-cluttering, bringing in fresh whites and soft yet bright lighting. One of my favorite touches…a simple bouquet of a dozen white roses cut short in a clear round vase. On a clean surface this makes a great statement.
The practice of change and renewal with your decor is another perfect example of how design and daily living go hand in hand. What you want for yourself in the new year can start with your home. Breathing life and revitalization into your space will energize you and give you that since of accomplishment that will spur you on to other achievements. But don't just take my word for it. Let's take a look at a few tips from the ARA top ten decorating trends for 2011 article .
"The mad, mad world of furniture
Taking a nod from the award-winning AMC series "Mad Men," Linda Fougerousse of Interior Transformation, Inc. also sees furniture styles returning to the '50s and '60s with round tapered legs on angles, geometric accents and seating with curved backs. Jase Frederick of Jase Frederick Sustainable Interiors adds that classic wood pieces made from sentimental stock like fallen trees or scrap wood from ancestral or historic structures will become heirlooms to pass from one generation to the next. "
In a recent video posted on her website, Michelle Lamb - co-founder and chairman of Minneapolis-based Marketing Directions, Inc. and editorial director of The Trend Curve - spoke about a resurgence in neutrals in 2011. These more complex "chameleon" neutrals will have more color, and will shift and change based on the light and whatever's around them. Lamb claims that these neutrals will be "the likes of which we haven't seen in 20 years or more."
Whether they're genuine period pieces being repurposed or home furnishings reproduced from popular items from the '50s, '60s or '70s, vintage will be hot next year, according to Kenneth Ludwig of Kenneth Ludwig Home Furnishings, Ltd. Examples include chair frames redone in new upholstery, traditional lighting fixtures in newer brass or pewter finishes, or products imported from Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic such as chairs done in old grain sacks, or old carts from factories used for end tables or coffee tables."