If you were to peek inside the head of an architect or designer in 1933, you would find the seeds of the revolutionary design aesthetic known as Mid-Century Modern, which encompassed the period of time from the 1930’s to the early 1960’s. In the U.S. the movement was really a reflection of the International and Bauhaus movements. Designers and architects such as Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, whose philosophy was to pare down elements to the “skin and bones,” helped breathe life into this movement. Other notable architects and designers of that period were Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. Their theories were a far cry from the ornate, over the top design philosophies from the Victorian era the century before. Mid-Century Modern heralded in a new era in organic design with natural shapes and fluid lines, with an emphasis on bringing nature inside. Here are some of our favorite contemporary products showcasing Mid-Century Modern style.
Modern Visions: Mid Century RLMS – Troy RLM Lighting
Inspired by the “less is more” aesthetic envisioned by Mies van der Rohe, Troy RLM Lighting’s Mid Century fixtures offer a modern interpretation of an iconic, industrial style downlight. Part of their “Modern Visions” RLM collection, these fixtures come complete with an aluminum shade and machined aluminum center adapter. This customizable series is offered in various mounting and lamping options as well as 19 standard, two specialty finishes and other options.
As our lives become increasingly complicated with the stresses of the everyday, carving out a personal refuge is more important than ever. Perhaps the need to simplify is in the zeitgeist, as we’ve recently seen a return to mid-century modern design. As the name suggests, this style first came to prominence in the middle of the 20th century, ushering in a wave of furnishings pared down to the bare essentials. Recognizable for its absence of ornamentation, this fresh and minimalist aesthetic is making a fierce comeback in the interior design community. However, what we are seeing isn’t just replication – it’s a “revival” in every sense of the word. In particular, one Los Angeles showroom, which also has an extensive online presence, is changing the way we perceive mid-century modern furniture.
How do you fuse a blast from the past with a science fiction future? The answer is steampunk, an eclectic style that injects futuristic, steam-powered technology into the Victorian era. Taking inspiration from the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, steampunk creates an alternate reality where robots and Victorians share the same 19th century setting. Want to update your modern space with a punch of the past? Check out these steampunk-inspired designs sure to float your time-traveling dirigible.
Brooklyn Faucet by Watermark Designs
Inspired by mid-century gate valves and garden hoses found throughout New York City, Watermark’s Brooklyn faucet adds an old timey feel to even the most newfangled washroom. Available in an antique brass finish, the round handles and squared spout radiate a distinctive industrial style perfect for washing off elbow grease after a long day of calibrating cogs.
We’ve discussed our affinity for Mid-Century Modern homes in the past (see: here and here), so we were quite surprised when we discovered the existence of a fantastic looking documentary called Leisurama.
The film tells the story of a 1960’s department store that featured full-scale models of Mid-Century Modern homes that were part of a housing development called “Leisurama.” The homes were on the 9th floor of the Macy’s Herald Square store in Manhattan and were a huge hit among shoppers not expecting to encounter an entire home while shopping for such things as a new winter coat.
This collaboration between Macy’s and Leisurama was meant to promote a new type of modern home. The models were fully decorated and furnished, all the way down to the toothbrushes and toilet paper.
Watch the video below to learn more about this wonderful quirk in the history books of American modernism.
Last week we talked about Mid-Century Modern home tours and highlighted one particular tour that was taking place in Sacramento, CA. Continuing with that theme, today we stumbled upon a unique children’s toy – a Modern Play House that is made by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
This play house lets future modern architects and designers develop a sense of style at an early age as they experiment with this set of six different modular nesting boxes. The kit includes walls, flooring, furniture, lighting and other home accessories. There’s over 50 decorating options to allow that young Joseph Eichler of yours to create their own vision of a modern space.
Parents out there might want to consider passing on the Barbie Dream House and opt for this play house with some real modern flair.
Modern architecture was popularized in the 1950’s by renowned architects such as Joseph Eichler with a style of homes that came to be known as “California Modern.” These homes were characterized by glass walls, open floor plans, and post-and-beam construction. They can still be seen in many communities throughout Northern and Southern California, and there are even organized tours that allow architectural enthusiasts to get an up-close look at homes built during this significant design movement.
One such tour is taking place in Sacramento, CA on Saturday, June 26 – the city’s first-ever tour of this kind. Fans of Modern architecture and design can get a brief glimpse into what it would be like to live and work in more than 20 different California Modern homes and commercial structures built between 1945 and 1970.
Participants will receive informational booklets and driving maps and are allowed to visit the residences at their own pace and in any order that they wish. Additionally, each location will have homeowners and tour guides present to answer any questions visitors might have regarding these unique works of modern architecture.
To find more information about purchasing tickets for the tour visit http://sacmcmhometour.blogspot.com/. And if you know of any other Mid-Century Modern tours please share them with us in the comments.