Flick through any of the 2018 brochures for furniture retailers and you’d be forgiven for thinking you had stepped back in time to the 1950s. The trend for mid-century design remains popular for 2018 and the look is brought bang up to date with contemporary fabrics and finishes. Whether you opt for single mid-century inspired pieces or revive an original vintage find, there is a little piece of mid-century design for every home.
Originating, as its name suggests, as a style from the 1940s-1960s, the mid-century movement was rooted in notions of functionality, elegance and simplicity. The style grew out of early-20th-century Modernism, including the International and Bauhaus movements. The mid-century style really took hold after World War II, thanks to new technologies and materials and a newfound prosperity. The migration to urban areas, and therefore smaller living spaces, also influenced the designs of the era.
Designers working in the genre believed that good design could change lives for everyone, not just the rich, and for the first time furniture was designed to be quickly and easily mass produced. The materials used often hadn’t been seen in furniture design before, with designers embracing materials like metal, coloured vinyl and plywood juxtaposed with the natural beauty of wood.
Californian design duo Ray and Charles Eames’s simple yet curvaceous chairs came to define the mid-century movement and these chairs also broke the mould when it came to manufacturing. Their moulded chairs used materials such as fibreglass that were more commonly associated with manufacture of industrial items and offered the consumer a low cost ‘pick and mix’ approach.
Ironically for a movement that prided itself on its accessibility for the ordinary consumer, many of the pieces from the top designers and factories of the time now command astronomical prices. However, there are some stunning mid-century inspired pieces available on the high street so you can dabble with the style without breaking the bank.
The key to the look is to keep it simple – use splashes of colour such as teal blue or mustard yellow and don’t be afraid to mix up mid-century pieces with more modern items for a fresher take on the look.