Famous for warm, practical ambiance and futuristic flare, the mid-century modern (MCM) design movement gained incredible popularity in the United States during the late 1940’s. With the help of iconic designers, architects, and ceramicists like Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, and David Cressey MCM designs are still in popular demand over half a century later.
When this trend first emerged, it was 1947 and three million U.S. soldiers had just returned victorious to usher in a new post-war America. Coming off the back of World War II, the United states was a proven world power and leader of modern inventions and its citizens, particularly young families, were ready to break from tradition and embrace futuristic ideas. America was modernizing rapidly, and a robust middle class was eager to reflect this in their new suburban homes -- Pioneers and visionaries turning out sleek, MCM designs using revolutionary technology quickly captured the attention of the entire nation.
On the cutting edge of new design technology, Eames Office was one of the biggest influencers in play. Founded by infamous designers Charles and Ray Eames, Eames Office was the first to mold plywood into gradual curves - now a hallmark of MCM designs - and before the mid-20th century, completely impossible. Advances through artists like these made mid-century modern design so appealing to those living in an ever-evolving post-war America.
So what defines mid-century modern and how can you integrate MCM designs into your own home?
Great mid-century modern living spaces feature excellent craftsmanship at every turn with plenty of tapered legs, an emphasis on living greenery, and occasional floating furniture. Inspiration for this style includes the mixing and matching of organic and man-made components so MCM designs will most always heavily feature natural-finish wood, unique furniture silhouettes, and interesting houseplant ensembles. Mid-century modern is characteristically simple and when done right, should speak for itself. A combination of bold colors, modern prints, fun textiles, and potted houseplants propped up on clean lines and natural curves create an exciting and unmistakably mid-century modern feel.
If you’re anything like us you probably can’t wait to transform your home, office, or bedroom with MCM designs. For those eager to recreate the look, stay tuned for part II on Styling Mid-Century Modern 65 Years Later.