Mid Century Design History
Mid century modern, a bit of an ambiguous term refers to design from the early 1940’s to the mid 1960’s.
It is a modernist aesthetic as in form follows function, but there is a relaxing of the style from the earlier designs of the 1930’s. Mid century modern design is still simple and restrained but the forms become freer, they become more organic.
Post war is when this new take on modernism really started to flourish.
The destruction of the second world war provided fertile ground for new innovative design. A desire to look forward to a brighter future coupled with major advances in science and technology (nuclear power, chemicals, medicines to name a few) created a real optimism.
Bold new ideas were encouraged and seen by many at the Britain Can Make It (1946) and Festival Of Britain (1951) exhibitions, where furniture design was heavily featured.
Many countries were influenced by this zeitgeist but the two that stood out were Scandinavia, especially Denmark and Italy.
Both countries having a strong craft / cabinetmaking tradition as well as a mass of publications and information on new design, pushed the barriers and exemplify what we regard as mid century modern design today.
Please see the bibliographies below on some of the key designers and manufacturers from this period.