Mid-Century Modern Interior Design

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Mid-Century Modern Interior Design is the design movement which took the world in its grip between 1945-1975. The term, which first wafted in the air in the mid-1950.s was given adequate recognition By Cara Greenberg in her book ‘Mid-century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s (Random House), penned in 1983.

There is a distinct timelessness associated with the clean lines, gentle corners and a love for variety of materials which make this popular design in architecture an enduring topic for the contemporary designers. In the world of design and décor, style patterns are cyclical. So, it is not surprising that in the first half of 21st century, the mid-century Modern style is being majorly revived.

Origin

The style which originated in America had its base in the Bahaus style popularised in Germany and the International Style which was inspired by that. Landmark events in history which led to destruction of catastrophic proportions and exodus of popular designers from the Continent, contributed in abundance to this movement. Interior designers, for lack of better option in Germany, post-World War-II, found themselves drifting towards America, the land of dreams and it was here that the demand for new house and new set-ups led to the development of modern, contemporary, minimalistic furniture for the huge number of urban homes which were cropping up, in answer to the housing needs of the emigrated population.

By this time, industrial revolution had reached its zenith and new developments and researches in this field had led to the production and utilisation of a variety of materials, colours, textures and designs which could now be gainfully employed to create furniture of aesthetic value, but contemporary appeal in mass numbers. It is of note here that the mid-century Modern style does not only refer to furniture or architecture but accessories and materials that were brought in use during that era.

Signature Features

The distinguishing feature of this particular style is simplicity, which renders itself in the usage of clean lines and neat finish coupled with a classic, subtle look, bordering on minimalism.

  • Simple and Minimal décor.
  • Use of conventional and non-conventional materials.
  • Neat and precise lines and usage of geometric and modern forms.
  • Functionality is the key.
  • Use of contrasting materials to lend impact.
  • Novelty in the usage of Colours and Materials

What sets the Mid-Century Modern Style distinctly apart from its predecessors, is the usage of hitherto unconventional material which were mass produced and hence much more economical. Though wood was still brought into use, yet experimentation was made with the introduction of plastic, metal, glass, vinyl, plywood, Flexiglass and lucite. Most of these materials and their popularity could be gauged from the fact that their usage rolled over to the first two decades of the next century, too.

Monochrome, contrasting shades and a whole variety of hues ranging from the most under-stated to the most vibrant were brought to infuse effects ranging from the chic and elegant to the bohemian and boho.

Mid- Century Modern Style Designers of Repute

There are notable Mid-Century Modern Style Designers who continue to inspire and ignite the coming generation of designers with their furniture designs which are lauded and replicated ever so often.

Herman Miller, in America is at the forefront of this movement, who has been associated with other stalwarts in the genre like George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames. Another company which is synonymous with modern furniture is ‘Knoll’. Apart from that there are a range of designers who have epitomised the true essence of this style and made its popularity so enduring.

How to Incorporate Mid-Century Modern Style Elements in our Regular Life

● Cost

A bid to emulate the entire Mid-Century Modern Style en-bloc can be a tad overwhelming and intimidating, given the fact that it can be quite expensive and difficult to procure the authentic stuff in today’s age, though there are many designers who still produce or revive that style, the cost involved will blow the entire thing out of proportion.

● Focal Piece:

The key is then to understand the nuances and the feel of that period and incorporate its essence in the décor which resonate with its vibe. So while classic pieces of that era are constantly being revived and copied, there is scope to get hold of a few that would blend seamlessly with our preference and fit within our budget.

If you can lay hold of one signature vintage piece, you can build the theme of the room around it without investing in the complete set. However, care must be taken to avoid too many colour or pattern clashes and stick to the seminal theme.

● Bare Essentials:

The signature theme of this style is space and minimalism. Hence instead of cluttering up space with heavy, ornate stuff, the trick is to keep open spaces bordering on one central focal point which shall lay down the theme of that room. A statement corner table or a signature seating arrangement is promising..

● Play of Colours:

With so much talk of simplicity and minimalism, one needs to balance the aesthetics with a pop of colour. Whether be it monochrome shades or bold usage of neon shades which bring cheer and vibrancy to the room, one needs to be brave enough to experiment with choices but keep it limited to the focal piece and not splatter it about the room.

● Whimsical Touch:

The Mid-Century Modern designers quite often made use of whimsical combinations to lend an exotic element to their décor. Think out of the box and bring in some eccentric shaped furniture, abstract pattern upholstery to exude that esoteric feel.

● Connect with Nature:

The windows are meant to be kept large and open to let the fresh air waft inside without being encumbered by heavy drapery. If possible, a touch of green elements can be introduced indoors to accentuate he deign and opt for light wood and cotton textile to keep it floaty and airy.