Mid-Century & Post Modern furniture styles
Mid-century modern and post modern furniture have shifted and shaped the ideas about design, for form and function, in the post-war world of the 20th century. These styles rely on there smooth, streamline and symmetrical construction whilst there light weight and minimal ornamentation allows for a clean and easy view of these works of art, as these pieces were considered to be among the greatest of 20th century artworks. Before these periods, society was ingrained with romanticism in their art, music, literature and decor: the pre-war landscape allowed this style to flourish and to extend their former Victorian views to allow for new ways of living; with many of these styles having been extended upon the former, they would go on to mark a new century.
One furniture period later, known as 'Art Deco', created for us a sense of glamour, style and a feel for the futuristic furniture that was to come; its construction relied on rare timbers such as ebony and of exotic materials including ivory and the use of stainless steel, in what was, an attempt to shape or predict the future, based on ideas around Cubism and Fauvism.
From the utopian-aesthetics of Art Deco, there came a period known as 'Art nouveau'; which would bring us in touch and closer to the natural landscape; with curves and shapes and carvings of animal, plant and flower, lending itself from ideas conceived from Rococo pieces of the 18th century. Art Nouveau marvelled at the natural and wild and sought to tame this through the use of intricate motifs and escutcheons and through creating natural lines and polished surfaces to convey such a taking of nature for the creation of art and style.
In rebellion to these furniture periods, often regarded as expensive and too machine-dependent for manufacturing; the Arts and Crafts period allowed makers to create bespoke and artisan pieces of furniture by hand. These pieces were romantic and comfortable in style while evident in their hand made construction and conservative in their appearance. Arts and Crafts furniture in turn, would eventually lead furniture into a period of modernism where the latter mid-century modern and post modern would create a revolutionary new approach to design and innovation.
Never before had science, politics and the arts influenced a period so heavily as mid-century modern and postmodern design during the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. As society became more globalised and industrialised, families became larger, and as the population skyrocketed, so too, did the amount of advances in science and politics; as astronauts landed on the moon, coloured television became a reality and as advances in social welfare and equality became paramount in political agendas- furniture became portable, lightweight, simple, colourful, efficient, economical and a new medium for artists to explore new possibilities with. Mid-century modern designers collaborated with the sciences and the arts and in this partnership, new techniques of new materials such as the bending of plywood and the moulding of plastics, became a possibility.
Today, much of the furniture produced on a large scale, owes its designs to mid-century modern and postmodern advances as reproductions attribute much of their form, function, aesthetic quality and trademarks to the designers of the middle of the 20th century. As our society is ever on the move in our digitalised and globalised state, we find ourselves forever seeking the clear and clean designs of the past generation whom discovered and would establish that furniture could so too be on the move, and support our growing need for timeless design that would make our lives easy and comfortable. Often wrongly termed 'vintage' or 'retro', mid-century modern and postmodern furniture is as ever in fashion and favour amongst designers today who use their charm and clever construction to create stylish and eclectic spaces of living for the 21st century.