A brief history of Mid-Century Modern design

Did you know that some of the most iconic objects that surround us in contemporary life come from a classic period of design history all of their own? Perhaps you have never given much consideration to the historical context of Mad Men but you love the set design and styling. Or you covet those classic Eames chairs but need more than just one to sit around your ‘Tulip’ table. Well this entire look comes from a hugely influential period of design history known as Mid-Century Modern, which has given us some of the most recognisable design classics of the 20th century.

But it's more than that, it has permeated contemporary living so completely and with a feel that is utterly current it is easy to forget how old this period actually is. Dating from the 1940’s right through the 70’s, this was the era of pattern, of colour and of material.In America Charles and Ray Eames used the most contemporary material of the day, polypropylene, to produce their classic DSR chair with its smooth scooped seat and delicate wired base, while at the same time back here in the UK, Robin Day was working on what became known as the M5. In its ubiquitous grey and tangerine, the most famous polyprop school chair of its time.

Meanwhile his wife Lucienne was producing textiles with illustrations so bold they look as fresh and as striking today as they did in the 50’s. The colour palette of muted orange, duck egg blue and canary yellow set against monochromes with a distinct pop art edge, took their influence from pattern design that was happening in Scandinavia at the time as well as contemporary British art.

Artists such as Bridget Riley, with her swaths of optical canvas, have left us a legacy of colour and form that remains the go to palette of choice for the hippest homes today. It is those clean lines, bold geometric forms and nod to Art that keeps us coming back for more.

Great design is timeless and great design connects everything; homewares, architecture, fashion, art, it is unifying and liberating all at once and this period continues to deliver some of the most desirable objects of today’s contemporary living, all of which can be found here at ACHICA.



To shop the Mid-Century Modern promotion with all the products featured here, shop at ACHICA. The promotion starts 6.30am on Monday 8 April 2013.

For beautiful furniture, accessories and daily design ideas for your home and lifestyle,
shop at ACHICA.

Angela Murray, ACHICA Art Buyer

View all posts by Angela Murray, ACHICA Art Buyer