So what is Mid Century Modern?

Mid Century Modern – a design trend that has endured all others for the last two decades.

The trend has been seen in magazines and stores everywhere. From the New York Times to Vogue, in trendy cafes from NYC to NZ, in small apartments to palatial homes. Heck even Kmart is getting in on the trend! But what is it exactly about Mid Century design that is so damn likeable? Addictive even?

To us here at Scandi Studio Mid Century Modern design is much more than a trend. The Mid-Century is considered the ‘Golden Age’ of design in Scandinavia. They are surrounded by it on a daily basis. Its in their public buildings, hospitals, hotels, and schools. Hence designers like Mogensen, Wegner  and Jacobsen are household names. Genuine Mid Century  design is a norm deeply ingrained in their way of life. So for Robin, our Danish designer and co-founder its in his blood to love it. As for me? Well… Id call it Stockholm syndrome but it was actually Copenhagen where I was captured by Mid Century design. The more you know about the movement, the designers and their pieces (and they’ve all got a story) the more you fall in love with it.

Get your Scandi on.

Mid Century Modern is much more than a trend…

It wasn’t dreamed up in an Ikea catalogue (who’s designs reek of mid-century) or on the set of Mad Men. Rather it was a whole movement that began in the 1930’s and spanned an era of great change and challenge until roughly 1965. The design movement included architecture, industrial, interior, and graphic design. It can be thought of as a response to a demand for all things new. New social ideals. New materials and technology. New global markets and a new use of spaces.

Functionalism and minimalism stripped away all the unnecessary patterns and props, leaving clean lines and flowing shapes

- Verner Panton, S Chairs

All things new.

The design approaches of functionalism and minimalism stripped away  unnecessary patterns and props. It revealed clean lines and minimal flowing shapes. Low and organic designs rooted in form and function. Bold block colours, soft leathers and shiny, clean chrome finishes.

A new society with democratic ideals was on the rise.

For the mainstream population many goods became cheaper and more available due to the beginning of mass production.  Mid Century Designers both embraced and enabled the new reach of mass production. Successful design and architect duo Peter Hvidt & Orla Mølgaard Nielsen were a driving force behind Danish design and innovation. Production was industrialised by the duo in the 1950s. As a result they created furniture that was easy to mass-produce and economic to transport. Like many designers of the era they aimed to supply quality design to all social classes.

Mid Century designers were pioneers of new techniques and materials.

The Eames duo in America created the first mass-produced, steam-bent, plywood forms. They also worked to perfect new materials like fibre glass with designs such as their immensely popular DSR chairs (commonly known as the Eiffel). Similarly the Danish design legend Verner Panton was fascinated with the new potential of plastic. This led to his famous cantilevered  ‘Panton S Chair’s  where the seat and legs flow in one continuous piece. His work reflected the space-age of the sixties  and later was known as Pop Art.

Designers went beyond the aesthetics.

Designers went beyond the aesthetic approaching their work in a new way… almost as a science.

Swedish designer Bruno Matthsson studied the mechanics of sitting in depth. In search of the perfect seating curve he lay in the snow so he could study the curvature of his imprint. He wanted to create functional furniture that also retained a highly technical quality. His  most noteworthy and beautiful Jetson Chair is testament to this vision.

The spaces society inhabited were changing. So a new design approach was needed.

The increasingly urban population required designs to be more versatile and multi-purpose. Furthermore smaller living spaces like apartments were becoming common place. For example Hans Wenger designed the Library Table a drop leaf table with two leaves that could be lowered or lifted to accommodate two diners or eight. Similarly Poul Hundevad designed a Games Table that was not only extendable, but also had a top which could be flipped from a wooden side to a leather/felt side for playing cards. Likewise Arne Jacobsen designed for entire spaces not just single items. Furthermore he took into consideration the space and its purpose as a whole. He designed entire schools and hospitals from architectural plans to furniture, light fittings and cutlery.

In the modern context Mid Century design still rings true -from the ideals to the furniture...

So now you know...

Here at Scandi Studio we are constantly amazed at the continuing relevance of the concepts of the Mid Century design movement.

Because in the modern context the ideals still ring true. First of all the quest for all things new continues. It seems like the demand for socially democratic ideals and a more considered global marketplace prevails. Furthermore new technologies for more eco-friendly materials and a new use of spaces in our crowded world couldn’t be more relevant…. But above all Mid Century design is simply beautiful. Due to the quality craftsmanship, timeless aesthetics and functional designs that are always desirable and yes ‘on trend’.