If you’re a Mad Men fan, then you’ve certainly seen your fair share of mid-century modern furniture—chic, architecturally designed pieces, with clean lines and organic forms. Not a Mad Men fan? Simply search “Mid-Century Modern Furniture” on Krrb, and you’ll find numerous listings all well worth the listed price. Interested in learning more about this type of décor? Here are four things you didn’t know about mid-century modern furniture.
1) WWII influenced the beginnings of mid-century modern furniture.
When the economic situation started to improve after WWII, Americans began demanding functional, fashionable, and affordable furniture. The war influenced various technological and industrial advancements, and in turn impacted the furniture industry. Economical, mass-produced, modern furniture was then designed and produced.
2) Mid-century modern furniture was designed to be beautiful and functional.
With a high demand for beautiful yet affordable furniture, the furniture industry turned to modern designs. The modernist movement cast aside the notion that furniture was simply ornamental and needed to focus on details and craftsmanship. Functional furniture became more popular, and allowed for manufacturers to think more about the furniture design, and less on the details. Focusing less on details allowed for mass-production and saved manufacturers precious time and money.
3) Non-traditional materials were often used in mid-century modern furniture.
Due to the technological and industrial post-war changes, many non-traditional materials were used in the creation of mid-century modern furniture. Steel, plastic, plywood, glass, Lucite, Plexiglass, and acrylics were all common furniture components. The main goal was to use cost-effective materials so that furniture could be mass-produced and sold to a large number of consumers.
4) Mid-century furniture producer Herman Miller also invented the office cubicle.
Herman Miller is one of the most notable American mid-century furniture producers, well-known for furniture designs such as the Eames Lounge Chair and Noguchi Table. The company was founded in 1905 in Zeeland, MI under the name of Star Furniture Co. It was soon renamed The Michigan Star Furniture company, and experienced yet another name change to Herman Miller, when Herman Miller himself bought a majority of the company’s stock.
In addition to mid-century furniture designs, the Herman Miller company, in collaboration with George Nelson’s New York Design Studio, and under the instruction of Robert Propst, invented the “office cubicle.” In the 1960s, Herman Miller added on the Herman Miller Research Division and created the “Action Office 1” line, later known as the “Action Office II” line, and then simply “Action Office” (better known as today’s modern-day cubicle). The “Action Office” was a modern design that was supposed to free workers from working in an enclosed space (a fact that many will argue today!).
For more information about mid-century modern furniture, read our past blog post, “Quality Over Quantity – A Brief History of the Danish Furnituremaker’s Quality Control Stamp,” and don’t forget to check out all the mid-century modern furniture listings on Krrb!
What about you? What are your favorite types of mid-century modern furniture?