The mid century modern design can be expressed in words like sophisticated, cool, clean, functional, sleek, colourful and curvy. The architecture and interior design in post war America saw several shifts in trend which all came under the bracket term ‘mid century modern design’. Modernism spans a time frame of almost 5 decades, from the 1930s to the 1970s; but the architecture that is known as the mid century design is basically from the styles of architecture of 1950s and 1960s.
The mid century modern architecture movement in America can be largely credited to Frank Lloyd Wright. However, there were other influential designers at that time too like Ludwig Mies van de Rohe and LeCorbusier, whose contributions also came to be known as mid century modern. This particular style of architecture can be seen in post war suburbs in America that have flourished over many decades, spiking in the 1950s. This movement’s strong influences are still present in home design and architecture today.
The architectural style features flat roofs, asymmetrical profiles and angular details. Other hallmarks of this residential style include clean lines, wide open floor plans and expansive walls of glass. Bi-level structures were also used for the first time during this era.
The colours used in a mid century modern homes reflect on the colour palettes popular back in those days. Warm, earthy tones were used to give interiors natural tones. The most common colours used include olive green, pumpkin, burnt umber and mustard yellow. However, much more exciting colours were trendy back then too like grey, pink, black, yellow and torquoise. Burgundy, emerald green and blue remained traditional colours as remnants from the 1940s.
The furnishings used in the mid century modern designs were mostly experimental, with American designers trying to blend traditional materials with state of the art substances that were developed during the war. Materials like plastics, resins, fiber glass, laminates and metal composites added to their creative pool. Just like the architecture of the time, the furniture stood out quite remarkably. There were several designers that contributed to the mid century modern furniture style, some of whom are Herman Miller, Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, and Ismau Noguchi among others. Sleek wood and wood veneer pieces were coupled with plexiglass chairs and tables. The upholstery boasted bold patterns and flamboyant colours, with chrome lined chair seats sporting shiny Naugahyde, turfed with buttons.
Patterns from the era were so frenzied that it came in imaginable kind, ranging from floral elegant designs and ethnic prints to futuristic eye poppers like boomerang patterns, starburst patterns and atomic designs. They showed up in every possible accessory too, ranging from glassware to wallpaper. Other cool innovations from the time include tripod lamps, white balloon pendant lamps, floor lamps with bendable arms, chrome lined toasters, brushed aluminium canisters among others.