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Mid-century Modern – The New Antique 

Posted On July 27, 2018 at 5:07 pm by / No Comments

Antique furniture is usually defined as furnishings which are at least 50 years old, and the youngest antiques are those just at the border of this age range: Mid-century modern antique furniture.

The mid-century modern style, also known as MCM, includes furniture manufactured between the mid-1930s and the mid-1960s, and it is one of the hottest trends in antique furnishing.

The elegant lines, sharp angles, and minimalist touches found in mid-century modern antique furnishings can make a soft-spoken, stunning, and even ironically futuristic contribution to the décor in just about any home.

Names to Look for in Mid-century Modern Furniture

Dozens of names of makers mark the territory of the mid-century modern era. Some of the icons of this style include:

• Heywood Wakefield is an American mid-century modern manufacture known for their wide selection of solid wood dining tables, chairs, dressers, desks, and side tables inspired by French Art Deco. Brightly toned birch wood are a signature element in the style of Heywood Wakefield furniture. The founders began their business in the early 1820’s, making rattan and wicker furniture, and this may be what lead them toward bending wood in some of their later creations.

• Andrian Pearsall was a furniture designer who started his own line under the name Craft Associates in 1952. Warm-toned wooden chair frames, low and comfy gondola sofas, and geometric table bases with glass tops are some of his signature elements. You can identify a piece of furniture made by Pearsall by looking for the Craft Associates, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania tag.

• Hans Knoll and his wife Florence are a team of superstars in mid-century modern antiques. The Knoll Company was started by Hans in 1938, but he died shortly after, and Florence is responsible for taking the Knoll name to the top in furniture making. Many designers worked for Knoll over the years, and the most famous furniture designs include the simple and graceful Barcellona chair, single legged tulip tables and chairs, and the tubular frame, sling-style seat Hardoy, or Butterfly chair.

• Le Corbusier was a Swiss architect who also designed furniture. His guiding light in furniture design was constructing pieces which “felt right”. His urban style blended comfort with aesthetics, resulting in plump or rounded Chaise lounge chairs and the Grand Confort armchair made with tubular stainless steel and leather upholstery.

• Broyhill Brasilia is a mid-century modern style influenced by the architecture of the capital of Brazil. While many pieces have been manufactured by the Broyhill Company, other furniture designers have also developed lines based on this style. Arches reflecting the Cathedral of Brasilia are mimicked in the arched insets of highboy dressers and sideboards, spoked and multi-legged coffee tables, and dining room chairs with colorful cushions and slatted backrests are among the many designs found in Broyhill Brasilia furniture.

• Milo Braughman is an American furniture maker responsible for the creation of the California Modern style. As the name implies, this style incorporates easy-going, simple, yet modern features. Semi-circle sofas and chrome, brass, and glass framed coffee tables by Braughman are some of his most admired and functional pieces.

• T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings was trained as an architect in England and then came to the United States and designed houses for tycoons and heiresses from coast to coast. Mixing elements of classical Greek design and Art Deco styles, Robsjohn-Gibbings has become one of the most famous designers of mid-century modern antique furniture. His Widdicomb Furniture line was introduced in 1946 and is still one of the most popular products made by this designer.

• Charles and Ray Eames were a husband and wife team of furniture designers who hailed from Missouri and then moved to California in the early 1950s. Their wide-ranging styles and use of diverse materials added substantially to the genera of American Modernism. Some of their best-known furniture includes the Ottoman and Eames lounge chairs made with contoured plywood and leather upholstery. They are also the creators of the often brightly colored, molded, fiberglass lounge chair.

As you can see, the mid-century modern antique furniture era includes a broad range of styles, materials, and concepts. But all have in common an abundance of functionality combined with an elegant look and sophisticated – yet still antique – aesthetic flair.

Antique furniture is usually defined as furnishings which are at least 50 years old, and the youngest antiques are those just at the border of this age range: Mid-century modern antique furniture.

The mid-century modern style, also known as MCM, includes furniture manufactured between the mid-1930s and the mid-1960s, and it is one of the hottest trends in antique furnishing.

The elegant lines, sharp angles, and minimalist touches found in mid-century modern antique furnishings can make a soft-spoken, stunning, and even ironically futuristic contribution to the décor in just about any home.

Names to Look for in Mid-century Modern Furniture

Dozens of names of makers mark the territory of the mid-century modern era. Some of the icons of this style include:

• Heywood Wakefield is an American mid-century modern manufacture known for their wide selection of solid wood dining tables, chairs, dressers, desks, and side tables inspired by French Art Deco. Brightly toned birch wood are a signature element in the style of Heywood Wakefield furniture. The founders began their business in the early 1820’s, making rattan and wicker furniture, and this may be what lead them toward bending wood in some of their later creations.

• Andrian Pearsall was a furniture designer who started his own line under the name Craft Associates in 1952. Warm-toned wooden chair frames, low and comfy gondola sofas, and geometric table bases with glass tops are some of his signature elements. You can identify a piece of furniture made by Pearsall by looking for the Craft Associates, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania tag.

• Hans Knoll and his wife Florence are a team of superstars in mid-century modern antiques. The Knoll Company was started by Hans in 1938, but he died shortly after, and Florence is responsible for taking the Knoll name to the top in furniture making. Many designers worked for Knoll over the years, and the most famous furniture designs include the simple and graceful Barcellona chair, single legged tulip tables and chairs, and the tubular frame, sling-style seat Hardoy, or Butterfly chair.

• Le Corbusier was a Swiss architect who also designed furniture. His guiding light in furniture design was constructing pieces which “felt right”. His urban style blended comfort with aesthetics, resulting in plump or rounded Chaise lounge chairs and the Grand Confort armchair made with tubular stainless steel and leather upholstery.

• Broyhill Brasilia is a mid-century modern style influenced by the architecture of the capital of Brazil. While many pieces have been manufactured by the Broyhill Company, other furniture designers have also developed lines based on this style. Arches reflecting the Cathedral of Brasilia are mimicked in the arched insets of highboy dressers and sideboards, spoked and multi-legged coffee tables, and dining room chairs with colorful cushions and slatted backrests are among the many designs found in Broyhill Brasilia furniture.

• Milo Braughman is an American furniture maker responsible for the creation of the California Modern style. As the name implies, this style incorporates easy-going, simple, yet modern features. Semi-circle sofas and chrome, brass, and glass framed coffee tables by Braughman are some of his most admired and functional pieces.

• T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings was trained as an architect in England and then came to the United States and designed houses for tycoons and heiresses from coast to coast. Mixing elements of classical Greek design and Art Deco styles, Robsjohn-Gibbings has become one of the most famous designers of mid-century modern antique furniture. His Widdicomb Furniture line was introduced in 1946 and is still one of the most popular products made by this designer.

• Charles and Ray Eames were a husband and wife team of furniture designers who hailed from Missouri and then moved to California in the early 1950s. Their wide-ranging styles and use of diverse materials added substantially to the genera of American Modernism. Some of their best-known furniture includes the Ottoman and Eames lounge chairs made with contoured plywood and leather upholstery. They are also the creators of the often brightly colored, molded, fiberglass lounge chair.

As you can see, the mid-century modern antique furniture era includes a broad range of styles, materials, and concepts. But all have in common an abundance of functionality combined with an elegant look and sophisticated – yet still antique – aesthetic flair.

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