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Mid Century Modern Furniture 101

Friday, March 23, 2012 Leave a Comment

You may have seen many of these modern classics at Room and Board or Design Within Reach.  They are making a huge impact on everyday interiors, but what is the story behind these timeless pieces? 

Probably the most well know is the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman.  Designed by Charles and Ray Eames.  Yes Ray is a women, most people think they were a brother team, but Ray was actually Charles' wife.  The chair was designed in 1956 for Herman Miller who still sells it today.  The chair is created from molded plywood and originally in Brazilian rosewood veneer.  The Eames' developed the special molded plywood process and used it in many of there chair designs.

Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman

Eero Saarinen is another classic furniture designer.  His most know is the Tulip Chair and Table designed for Knoll in 1956.  His designs are very organic with clean lines and details.  In addition to furniture he also designed the Dulles Airport in Washington DC and The Arch in St Louis.
Saarinen Tuplip Table and Chairs

Harry Bertoia first taugh jewelry design before designing furniture.  His designes can be recognized by the stainless steel wire used to create his pieces.  The Diamond chair is his most famous.  It was designed in the 1950's also for Knoll.

Bertoia  Diamond Chair

Le Corbusier (aka Charles-Édouard Jeanneret) was a pioneering master of what is now know as modern architecture. As with many of the designers he also designed furniture.  He said  "Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois."  His signature furniture is designed using tubular staintless steel to create the foundations of his pieces and leather, sometimes unique hides, for the arms and seats.
Le Corbusier Sling Chair

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was also a pioneer or modern architecture with Le Corbusier.  He too worked in stainless steel and leather strapping.  He often used cantilevers to create a lightness to his metal frames.  His most well know design was the Barcelona Chair designed with beautiful tufting detail in the leather.

Mies Barcelona Chair

I have to admit I am huge mid century modern furniture junkie. 
So much so that I named my little Coton de Tulear, Eames. 

My Baby "Eames"
I know these pieces are a bit expensive but through my Interior Design discount I am able to get the at considerable savings from the retail price.  If you are interested let me know I'd am happy to pass on my discount.

Happy Designing!

Kama Weinberger, ASID, IIDA, CIDC
NCIDQ #13079


  • Unknown said:  

    Love the cowhide chair!