Think that Mid-Century Modern furniture is only for those habitating in sixties-era split-levels and authentic Eichlers? Think again. These days, atomic age furnishings are prime for any abode, be it a pre-war apartment or a Spanish bungalow. A focus on form-meets-function aesthetics and exuberant color lend vintage Mid-Century Modern furniture a level of sculptural clout that few other furniture styles can compete with. If you’ve been considering adopting MCM decor, but you’re not one-hundred percent convinced body-con chairs and spaceship-like chandeliers are for you, we’re here to help you make the call. Ahead, we reveal five tell-tale signs that you might be an undercover Mid-Century Modernist lover.
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A Conversation Pit Speaks to You
Some might be inclined to call you old fashioned, but that’s no dig to you. Face time (in the literal sense) is what you’re all about, and you can’t think of any generation that better engineered the living room for conversing than the Mid-Century Modernists. Rather than orbit your furniture around a comatose TV, you’re inclined to rotate your seating around a coffee table. Because a full ring of furniture means you can incorporate more seating if you want, consider the armless slipper chair designs by Mid-Century luminaries like Edward Wormley and Harvey Probber. An absence of arms makes it even easier to squeeze in more guests.
High-Wattage Hues Entrance You
Taupes and ecru were never for you, but tangerine and aquamarine? Now, those are your color soulmates. If you have a penchant for charismatic color, chances are high Mid-Century Modern furniture will speak to you. The Mid-Century Modernists were renowned for eschewing pallid hues for more shocking tones, especially when it comes to seating upholstery. Consider the designs of Adrian Pearsall and Knoll to get a sense of the wake up-worthy color casts that MCM designers liked to employ. (Let’s just say, “Mellow Yellow” may have been dominating the airwaves back in the day, but when it came to furniture, designers were decidedly located on the other side of the spectrum.)
You Think Plastic is Fantastic
When it comes to the question, paper or plastic, well, let’s just say, you never pass on the latter. While others might think that plastic is best reserved for shopping totes, you’re not adverse to drafting plastic for furniture, either. Unlike wood—which fails to defy gravity unless shaved uber-thin—plastic can assume a wide range of striking shapes. If you’re a full courter of color, seek out Eames seats. (Fiberglass isn’t plastic per textbook definition, but for all aesthetic intents and purposes, it might as well be-) For less ardent adopters of color, acrylic furniture is a mainstay of Mid-Century Modern design. We recommend sussing out designs by Charles Hollis Jones and Erwine and Estelle Laverne.
Angles Always Feel Right
When it comes to scrolls, the only kind you like are digital. In your book, simple geometric angles always take precedence over scrollwork, curves, and other wiggly forms. You won’t find cabriole legs and acanthus leaves adorning Mid-Century Modern furniture, which is why it’s likely to serenade you. For those who favor ultra-right angles, consider the modular designs of Paul McCobb, as well as Danish Modernists like Jens Risom and Poul Hundevad. More of an acute angle advocate? Consider Italian Modernist designs, as well as designers who worked with highly mutable metal, like Frederick Weinberg and Arthur Umanoff.
You Crave a Little Space
Let’s not mince words—you’re prone to spacing out. You’re fascinated by the cosmos and you’re not adverse to spotlighting star-themed trappings in your own home. In the Mid 20th Century, atomic fever hit, and the design world responded by churning out atomic-inspired appurtenances. Offerings included star-studded credenzas, futuristic flush mounts, satellite-style chandeliers, and tables with antennae-inspired pencil legs. For the most sophisticated take on the atomic aesthetic, seek out the designs of Tommi Parzinger. That said, feel free to indulge your kitsch-loving side when it comes to atomic Mid-Century furniture—it’s really what the movement was all about.
Lead photo design by KitchenLab Interiors / Photo by Mike Kaskel