If you have any interest at all in architecture and interior design, the mid-century modern renaissance hasn’t escaped you. It’s everywhere, from young twenty-somethings and their love of a classic ranch house to kitschy mid-mod inspired decor. But why is this era so important now? There are a lot of reasons, and most of them are fairly sound.
Mid-century Style Resurfaced in 1984
Most often, the 1950s come to mind when someone says “mid-mod,” but the era actually spanned the mid 1940s through the mid 1950s. Some even argue that the era was longer, beginning in the 30s and lasting until the mid 60s. At the time, the term wasn’t applied at all. In fact, it was coined by writer, Cara Greenberg in the 1980s, with her book, “Mid-century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s.”
And not surprisingly, the renewed interest in the era’s style and the release of Greenberg’s book happened at about the same time. And according to Curbed, the 1990s brought a full-on niche market where mid mod was not only in vogue, it was prized. And it still thrives today.
1950s-Era Design Looks Streamlined
The interest in mid-century design isn’t without merit. It’s more than just a fad that hasn’t quite died yet. While some furnishings from this era are a bit unusual, most of them are rooted in great design instead of just appearances.
Take Knoll Barcelona chairs, for example. They aren’t especially plush or detailed, and most people won’t claim that they’re comfortable. But the design is beautiful and clean. They’re an icon of mid mod furnishings, and come with a hefty price tag whether vintage or brand new. What’s beautiful about the Barcelona chair and many mid-century designs is that you can see the artistry. It’s not covered with fluff and ruffles.
Mid Mod Resonates With a Younger Audience
Public exhibitions of mid-century design have helped solidify the public interest, and have created more than one devotee. But unlike uncomfortable yet beautiful Victorian houses and furnishings alike, mid-century designs don’t really look dated or fussy. Their clean lines can look contemporary homes, whether they’re part of a spacious 1950s ranch house interior or an urban loft.
Simplicity is important now, from office spaces to residential properties. Excess in almost any form looks and feels over the top. So while a good, vintage sofa might still set you back a few paychecks, the lines won’t overpower any room.
The bottom line is that mid-century design is still popular because it still works. Wood and metal don’t really go out of fashion, and they both have a feature role in many furnishings and architectural features. Sleek laminates are practical because they’re easy to clean, and because they aren’t loaded with excessive, ornate details that could fix them to one decade.
Mid-century design is relatively timeless. Although it definitely nods to a certain point in history, it doesn’t look or feel like a relic. The design still works, whether it’s the floor plan of a 1957 house or a sofa, and it still looks as fresh as it ever did. Mid mod appeals to a new generation of people who shun the overt decadence of recent years. And it’s as much art as anything else.
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Mid mod interior, JDH Rosewater, via Flickr
Barcelona chair, Yisris, via Fickr
Mid mod exterior, Mary Frances Main, via Flickr