Usually, people consider design as a unique and unchanging skill. But do you support this statement? Your answer will be ‘no.’ It is because we all observe that design keeps manifesting itself in different ways with time.
However, the means of design alter parallel to cultural and technological changes. On the other hand, it is hard to determine when humans began designing their environment precisely. Let us have a look at Midcentury Modern Italian design.
In this article, we will mainly talk about Italian design. The reason behind it is that Italy is the leader and trendsetter of several designs. Even today, Italy still produces much effort in several fields of design. It still works on designs like industrial design, fashion design, and urban design worldwide.
Ernesto Basile and Vittorio Ducrot are the first Italian designers from the beginning of the twentieth century. Everyone in the world agrees that Italian designs are undoubtedly some of the best designs ever.
Italy is very popular in the interior design field. Some of the best interior designers, like Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass, are from Italy. At first, most Italian designers found it challenging to balance modern creativity and classical elegance difficult.
However, Italian designs became famous only because of Gio Ponti’s works. His designs are stylish, sophisticated, refined, and elegant. Apart from this, the designs also look creative and exotic. So, Gio Ponti’s designs have attracted a lot of people worldwide.
Italy’s talent in designing became popular after World War II. Some of Italy’s best designs include Ettore Sottsass’s innovative post-modern bookcase. This bookcase turned out to be a huge cultural icon in the 1980s.
Additionally, Italy is also famous for creating several stylish automobile designs. It is influential in shaping some of the best status symbols. For this reason, Italy stands fifth among the largest automobile producers in Europe.
Even now, people find Italian cars more attractive and stylish than others. Some of the most famous vehicles, like Ferrari Formula supercars and Ferrari Spider, are Italy’s masterpieces. Apart from these, car design firms like Zagato, Bertone, and Pininfarina are from Italy.
Italian fashions are a favorite of many people around the world. These designs are also popular in countries like the United States, France, Japan, Germany, and Great Britain. The designs are composed of luxurious fabrics and stylish outlooks to attract people from all over.
Altogether, we can say that Italy stands among the best designers in the world. Let us now have a look at some of Italy’s most popular designers and their works.
Best Designers of Italy and Their Works
There are many midcentury modern designers and architects in the world. We can say that Afra and Tobia Scarpa are among those in this particular group. We know that the MoMA and the Louvre Museum have collections of some of the world’s best designs. Afra and Tobia’s designs are so good that they are part of collections at these museums.
Their designs are also popular in other parts of the world, like Europe and the United States. However, their designs mainly consist of household items like furniture, interior design, clothing, and architecture.
Mario Bellini is another famous Italian designer and architect to talk about. He is one of the winners of the Compasso d’Oro. The President of the Italian Republic also presented him with the Medaglia d’Oro, one of the prestigious architectural awards.
Some of his remarkable designs include the Milan Convention Centre (MICO). MICO is Europe’s largest convention center. He is also part of the Museum of Islamic Arts at the Louvre Museum, Paris. Apart from these, others like Dubai Creek Complex, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the Redevelopment of the City Centre of Tian Jin, China, are some of his masterpieces.
Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni
Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni also endure as among the best designers of Italy. Both of them worked together before World War II. Some of their works include the Spalter vacuum cleaner and the Taccia and Arco lamps.
Vico Magistretti is also a famous furniture designer and architect. The poetic round church in the experimental Milan neighborhood of QT8 is one of his works. He also won the Gold Medal from the Chartered Society of Industrial Artists & Designers.
Born in Padua in 1926, Gianfranco Frattini was an Italian architect that believed in a continuous space. He focused his projects on the research of simplicity and high-quality materials, mainly wood. His reinterpretation of the past makes him one of the most relevant interior designers of the Italian midcentury modern period.
Born in Venice in 1906, Carlo Scarpa was also a famous architect and designer. He started his career as an architect and glassmaker. In the 60s, thanks to the collaboration with Dino Gavina, he began to project industrial design furniture. Some of his most iconic projects are the Olivetti shop in Venice, the Gavina shop in Bologna, and the Brion cemetery near Treviso.
Born in Robbiate Brianza, near Milan, in 1905, Franco Albini was an Italian architect and designer. Inspired by the Neoclassical movement of the mid 18th century, he became one of the most important exponents of rationalist architecture. Pirovano hut in Cervinia and La Rinascente mall in Rome are his works. He won three Compasso d’Oro prizes (1955, 1958, 1964).
French Design and Architecture
The designs and architecture from the French are also trendy. As is well known, French houses stand out among all others. They appear to be stylish and more attractive than others of the same type. So, French architecture also attracts a lot of people around the globe.
At first, ancient Rome followed Greek architecture. But later on, they created their own designs and became famous. French architecture consists mainly of domes, arches, and vaults. However, the invention of concrete was a great factor for further development.
French furniture is also trendy around the world. Their designs look very creative and stylish, thus attracting a vast audience. Most of the official furniture for the European government are pieces of French designs.
Best French Designer
Charlotte Perriand is one of the best among various French architects and designers. Her main aim is to create functional living spaces. She also believes that better design helps in creating a better society.
Scandinavian design is one of the most popular designs that emerged in the early 20th century. These designs are very popular around the world. The Scandinavian designs are usually simple in style. Most Nordic countries like Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark use these designs.
These designs mainly include household goods like textiles, furniture, lamps, glass, and ceramics. Industrial designs such as mobile phones, consumer electronics, and cars are also part of the Scandinavian design.
Best Scandinavian Designers
Alvar Aalto is one of the most popular Scandinavian designers, famous for his architecture, furniture, and textile designs. Borge Mogensen is also a renowned designer in furniture. Poul Henningsen and Maija Isola also created remarkable designs.
Apart from these, a few others include Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner, and Verner Panton. All of them are part of creating a golden age of Scandinavian design. In this way, Scandinavian design became famous worldwide.
Let us have a look at some of the world’s best designers and their works.
Designers and Their Works
Marcel Lajos Breuer
First, let us talk about the great architect Marcel Lajos Breuer. He is a Hungarian modernist architect, as well as a famous furniture designer. He is also the designer of the Wassily Chair and the Cesca Chair. Both these chairs are among the ten most important chairs of the 20th century.
Bruer is one of the world’s most popular architects. Some of his famous works include libraries, art museums, college buildings, residences, and office buildings.
Michel Ducaroy is another famous designer and architect, born in 1925. All of his family members are primarily designers and furniture makers. Their designs are most common in private houses and larger-scale contracts.
One of his most famous works is the Togo line of seating. It is popular among Ligne Roset’s most famous art pieces. Michel trained at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Lyon. However, he started alone as an independent designer in 1952.
Michel Ducaroy is one of the most integral designers in the world. He designed one of the first modular all-foam chairs. The low-sitting Adria and others like Kashima and Safi are also part of his works.
What is Midcentury Modern?
We all know that it is not common for the old classical styles to return. As these styles are from another era, Midcentury Modern is the reason behind bringing it back. So, let us learn where this classical style came from.
Midcentury Modern is commonly known as MCM. It is an excellent American design movement in product, graphic design, interior, architecture, and urban development. The term, Midcentury Modern, mainly refers to designate a style descriptor.
“Midcentury Modern: Furniture of the 1950’s” is now recognized as the best design movement by scholars and museums worldwide. These Midcentury Modern designs are simple, clean, and make use of authentic materials. On the other hand, these designs do not include any kind of decorative adornments.
This Midcentury Modern movement is popular in the U.S. It is an American reflection of the Bauhaus and International movements. So, why do you think the Midcentury Modern movement is returning now?
Why is the Midcentury Modern Movement Returning?
It is because many scholars want to remember the best designers and architects of the midcentury. So, this movement is a way of bringing all the classic designs out once more. The Midcentury Modern campaign also highlights the contemporary designs that are popular around the world.
The Scandinavian architects and the Brazilian designers have become very influential in our times. Almost all of their designs are created with a style of integration with nature and simplicity. Most of Wright’s designs are frequently employed in residential structures.
In the same way, Midcentury architecture brings out the goal of bringing modernism into most of the classic designs. The main intention of these designs is to open up the interior spaces and bring the outdoors in.
On the other hand, most Midcentury houses have used the most popular post and beam architectural design. This architectural design eliminates bulky support walls. The reason behind this is that most of the walls are seemingly made of glass.
The function is given equal importance as the form in Midcentury designs. The main reason behind this is to benefit the average American family. This design meets the needs of almost all ordinary American families.
Some of the most popular genres of products created at that time were glassware, ceramics, tableware, lighting, and furniture.
Let us see some of the characteristics of the Midcentury Modern style.
Characteristics of Midcentury Modern Style
Many factors led to the popularity of the Midcentury Modern style. This period gave us many organic curves and clean lines. It also made us develop a love for various materials and designs that we use even today.
It should be noted that the midcentury modern period lasted between the mid-1930s and mid-1960s. Because of the excellent quality of these designs, large numbers of people are attracted to them. That is why most of today’s homeowners are showing much interest in these designs.
What is the Origin and Background of This Style?
Which century is referred to in the word “midcentury?” The century that the term referred to is the 20th century. This period mainly speaks about the time after the Second World War. The United States experienced a growing population and economy during this period.
So many young families started buying new homes and furnishing them. As a result, this led to an increase in new building styles and techniques. All these styles attracted people more and made them adopt these designs.
These designs and styles have an optimistic look. So, people wished to have their homes built in new styles. Most of them wanted to see their homes look different from those that were made a century ago. The people even preferred to have more windows compared to their previous houses.
Some of them even wished to have more gathering spaces for families. With more advancement in science and technology, many new materials came up. Along with these, many new textures and effects came up.
Origin of Midcentury Modern Style
Long ago, there used to be a style named Bauhaus that came up from Germany. So, taking inspiration from all such styles and designs, a new style grew in America. This unique style was appropriately called the Midcentury Modern style.
The Midcentury Modern style also took its inspiration from many international styles. One of those international styles is the Bauhaus style that was evolving in America.
Migration of Architects to America
There are many catastrophic world events like wars. All these events suddenly uproot and lead to destruction. However, on the other hand, these events also create many opportunities as well.
A similar thing took place during World War II. The war led to the movement of many people, especially architects, to America. So, in this process, many Bauhaus designers and architects also moved to America.
What do you think was the reason behind their migration to America? The main reason behind their movement was the drastic changes that were happening in Germany.
Along with the war, many economies kept changing all of the time. Apart from this, there were many technological advances taking place. So, all these affected the lives of people in Europe then.
They found it challenging to live in their places. Soon after World War II, there was an expansion in the cities of America. This expansion of towns led to suburbanization in the U.S.
Along with this expansion and suburbanization, a lot of other changes took place. The demand for modern designs and furnishings started increasing rapidly. People constructing modern homes mainly demanded these designs.
On the other hand, technological advances led to the development of many other things. It led to the production of a wide range of new materials. So people started exploring new textures and effects, and also a wide range of colors.
Distinguishing Features of the Midcentury Modern Style
There are many distinguishing features present in this style.
- The Midcentury Modern style consists of a classic look. It also comes up with clean lines and an understated look.
- The primary concentration of these designs is on functionality and form. Both the feature and form are equally important. In other words, the designs and styles are such that the form follows function.
- Most of these designs include sleek and clean lines. Some of them also have uncluttered lines. So, these designs replicate the geometric and organic forms too.
- Midcentury Modern designs are really simple. Their unique and straightforward look attracts a large number of people. All these designs have minimum decoration and look simple with minimal ornamentation.
- Since there were a lot of people demanding these designs, a massive number of styles came out. Even the designers and builders experimented with styles to meet the desires of new home buyers and builders.
- Most of the designers used many styles of textures and colors to make their works attractive. The new homes appeared to bit smaller than the previous ones.
- So the designers need to make sure that their designs fit into these tiny houses. Space needed to be used wisely. However, designers like Charles and Ray Eames, and George Nelson created many iconic pieces.
- Apart from them, designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Harry Bertoia also created classical works that are popular even today.
- These designs focused on many different traditional materials. Some of the Midcentury Modern designs also included some non-traditional metals. To make the designs look good, the designers tried to use contrast materials as well.
Colors and Materials Used in Midcentury Modern Style
The Midcentury Modern style is one of the most popular styles. This style makes use of many new materials such as plastic. The designers even followed proper methods of construction to make the designs look good.
Most of you may be worried about the usage of plastic. However, plastic is not just used to replace or imitate wooden furniture. The designers make use of plastic for various other purposes as well.
As we read before, these designs also make use of many traditional materials. Some of these conventional materials include wood and others. On the other hand, the non-traditional materials include glass, metal, Plexiglass, vinyl, plywood, and Lucite.
Coming to the colors, the Midcentury Modern designs make use of a wide range of colors. Most of these colors range from neutral to bold. Some of the models even make use of black and white graphically.
Best Midcentury Modern Designers
There are many Midcentury Modern designers around the world. The pieces that these designers design are trendy. They will continue to inspire the designers who choose the same field after them.
The Midcentury Modern furniture pieces designed by them turned out to be very famous. People also started to show much interest in buying such products.
Some of the most popular brands selling midcentury modern style furniture are listed here. One of the best among them is Cassina, an Italian manufacturing company. This company mainly deals with the creation of the best designer furniture.
We read that Marcel Breuer released a Model B3 chair. This chair later came to be known as the Wassily Chair. One of the most famous Italian manufacturers named Gavina re-released these chairs.
Another well-known furniture manufacturer from Italy is B&B Italia. It is a modern furniture company that sells products worldwide. It is most popularly known as B&B Italia. This company also has won the most prestigious Italian Design Award.
How to Modify your Furniture in Midcentury Modern style?
Most of you may be wishing to have your furniture styled in Midcentury Modern style. However, you do not need to feel a compulsion to modify your furniture in the Midcentury Modern style architecture.
Everyone would like to make their furniture good-looking. But most of them worry much about the cost of doing that. However, it is expensive to furnish your house in different styles that you wish for.
As the authentic pieces are rarely available, making them come to you is a little challenging. Besides this, even if there are a lot of such pieces being made, there is a lot of demand for them.
What Points to Keep in Mind Before Styling Your Furniture?
So, before styling your furniture, you need to take care of a few points. Always choose the best style that suits your surroundings and your house. Then try to understand the distinguishing features of the style.
Before arranging the authentic pieces, always take advantage of natural elements in a room. One can use exposed beams, wood panels, and untouched brick walls to bring the outdoors in.
After that, find pieces that replicate your chosen style. Many iconic pieces have been created in recent times. However, all these pieces are being copied by other designers.
On the other hand, people are showing much interest in buying these designer pieces. So, all of this has led to a decrease in the prices of most designer pieces.
There are many chances that you may find your required style of furniture easily. Additionally, you can also find them at your budget. So, you don’t need to have a fear of paying too much to anyone.
How to Limit the Budget of Your Furniture?
Nevertheless, there are many ways to limit the budget of your furniture.
- One of them is buying vintage furniture. This vintage furniture comes at a low price that can meet your needs as well.
- Even if you are willing to buy new furniture, there is no need to worry. Generally, this furniture comes in a pleasant tone. So, it suits your house or surroundings more and turns it pleasant.
- Choose a proper color that fits the colors of your walls. Also, make sure that you choose a suitable place in your house to place the furniture. Try to make your choice simple.
- So, always make sure that you choose simple patterns and pleasant colors. See that the quality of the wood used is excellent and durable. This helps the furniture to stay for a longer time without any damage.
- If you want to furnish your house with the Midcentury Modern style, try not to do it all at once. Choose designer pieces wisely. Most of the Midcentury Modern pieces tend to be bright and bold. So choose the pieces that look aesthetic for your home.
- As you buy more and more of such pieces, try to improve your choice. Select the best ones from the display. Even after you buy them, try to arrange them in the perfect place of your home. Only then, the pure elegance of these pieces will be seen.
The following are some of the retailers who provide the Midcentury Modern style furniture. However, you can also find their replicas at all the retailers.
Popular Brands of Midcentury Modern Style Furniture
- B&B Italia / C&B Italia
- Herman Miller
- de Sede
- Fritz Hansen
- Gavina / Knoll
- Ligne Roset
The Similarity of Midcentury Modern and Scandinavian Designs
Did you ever look at pictures of the Midcentury Modern and the Scandinavian styles? If so, did you observe any kind of similarity in these styles? Otherwise, did you find it difficult to differentiate between the two styles?
If yes, then you need to know that there is a reason behind it. If not, then there is no issue with that. But to your confirmation, there is a similarity in both the Scandinavian and the Midcentury Modern styles.
We know that Scandinavian designs are pretty simple and practical. These designs mainly came up in the 1950s. Did you get any clue now? Yes, it’s almost the same time when the Midcentury Modern style came around. So, this is the reason behind the similarity of these styles.
However, there is an influence of American design on Scandinavian design and vice versa. The Scandinavian designs mostly favor bright colors and lighting. On the other hand, American designs tend to prefer darker shades.
So, where is the similarity? The two designs are similar in their warm tones. Their similarity can also be seen in the materials such as plastic and steel used in making designs. So, considering this, we can say that both the designs share abundant similarities.
Do You Think That the Midcentury Modern Style is Limited to Only Home Décor?
The midcentury modern style is most definitely not limited just to home décor. Apart from homes, we can also see this style playing a crucial role in American architectural history.
To make it clear, people say that architecture came first. Then to modify and add styles to the architecture, things like design and décor are introduced.
On the other hand, there is a typical style that most people use while building their homes. The houses usually have low roofs and large windows.
Why is the Midcentury Modern Style Still Popular Today?
Most of the people today live in apartments than individual houses. However, some of them prefer to live in single homes or apartments as well.
So, the Midcentury Modern designs and styles will be the perfect match for people following this kind of living. Midcentury Modern designs are simple and attract many people.
So, even now, people are trying to adapt these designs into their homes. These Midcentury Modern designs appear to be cool and fresh even now. They also seem to be timeless.
The Midcentury Modern Furniture
You may be thinking that the authentic Midcentury Modern pieces are expensive. But you should be aware that these designs aren’t fancy. So, you don’t need to spend tons of money to get your required look.
On the other hand, current manufacturers are trying to adapt the newest styles to meet your needs. They are trying to make the best designs that can replicate the Midcentury Modern style.
However, the designers are trying to modify the fabric that was used long ago. So, the fabric may need to be replaced with materials such as plastic. The manufacturers also use new manufacturing techniques.
They try to make all these pieces very affordable to an average family. So, before buying furniture, always look for pieces that have geometric, curving lines. Also, make sure that they have multiple uses.
As we read before, the colors used in the Midcentury Modern styles are often bright or saturated. However, these colors aren’t so popular today. So, to make your designs look good, try to temper one color with more neutral colors.
The main intention of people buying this furniture is to make them look good. So, they don’t care if they look exactly like the Midcentury Modern ones, as the original Midcentury Modern style pieces may look outdated.
So, before modifying your furniture, start with the iconic chairs of the same design. Try to alter their style and colors. After this, make these changes to the rest of your furniture.
Why is the World Attracted to the Midcentury Modern Style?
Even if you are not familiar with the world of design and architecture, you might have heard about Midcentury Modern design. You might also have encountered this design style, maybe when you are sitting in your room or at any point in your life.
However, the main reason for anyone to love the Midcentury Modern design is that it adds a vintage look to your furniture. So, this can be your best choice for all those looking to add authentic styling to their home.
Midcentury Modern Design for Smaller Homes
Most of you may be having smaller homes. If that is the case, then the Midcentury Modern design can be your savior. These designs make your home look more attractive. So creating these designs will always be fun. It makes even the smallest of spaces come to life.
Apart from the attractive look and design, there are many other advantages of this design. These designs are charming and also are practically durable and efficient. So, people prefer these easy, efficient designs more.
As we can see, most of the styles that appear today are affected by the Midcentury Modern look. However, in the future, you will find that more than half of the homes will include Midcentury Modern furniture pieces.
Midcentury Modern Design in TV Shows and Restaurants
In most of the TV shows, you will see the guests sitting in classic Knoll office chairs. All these chairs are of Midcentury Modern style. Let’s take a look at another place where you can find the Midcentury Modern style.
If you go to a restaurant, you will observe that most of the chairs used there are of Midcentury Modern style. Most of these chairs are designed in the 1950’s style.
The effects of America’s obsession with change led to many transformations. There is a rapid development in the science and tech associated with it. So many things like objects, clothes, and others have undergone massive changes as well.
However, you can type the words “midcentury” and “modern” in the search pane of any furniture retailer. As soon as you type it, you will be shown dozens of pieces of this design.
The Period of Midcentury Modern Design
These items do not belong to the midcentury, as their name says. They only belong to the design or style that the specified period mentions.
A similar example of such words is “du jour.” This word has been used in the past two decades in marketing. However, it only describes a specific period of a particular design that has become the marketing descriptor.
On the other hand, taking about Midcentury Modern, the term is difficult to understand. However, some say it describes furniture, architecture, and different graphic designs associated with the middle of the 20th century.
So, the period roughly specifies the years between 1933 and 1965. Besides this, some say that the period also defines more precisely the years between 1947 and 1965.
The reason behind mentioning a sequence of years is that any change can’t occur in one or two years. It may take some decades for any change to become acceptable by everyone. So, the specified time is for the more significant modernist movement.
The roots for this change come from the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 19th century. It also specifies the time after the First World War.
Where Did the Term “Midcentury” Come From?
The name “midcentury” is coined by an author named Cara Greenberg. She used it as a title for her 1984 book, entitled “Midcentury Modern: Furniture of the 1950’s”.
On the other hand, this furniture style was also mentioned in another book in 1983. An author named Greenberg wrote a book called “Metropolitan Home” that mainly talks about 1950’s furniture.
However, she didn’t start the book on her own. An editor at Crown urged her to write this book on 1950’s furniture, which gave her the push to do it. So, Greenberg says that she found the phrase “midcentury modern” suitable for her writing. This made her choose it as a title.
However, the “New York Times” published a review of the book. They acknowledged that Greenberg’s title and the album hit on a trend. The report mentions that some loved it, and some others simply could not agree to its facts.
But considering the facts, no one can deny that the 1950’s designs are back in fashion again. People are getting attracted to them more than modern designs.
On the other hand, the book’s author, Cara Greenberg, says that she mentions the style’s elegance. The book” Midcentury Modern: Furniture of the 1950’s” tries to convey the period’s imagination and the verve.
It also mentions the occasional pure zaniness of the 1950s. This is the main reason why the book turned out to be an immediate hit. It sold more than 100,000 copies at that time.
All kinds of people like Midcentury Modern furniture all around the world. This has made it famous even today. People prefer these designs as they are affordable by even middle-class families.
Once the phrase “Midcentury Modern” turned out to be popular, people started using it often. The designers and architects adopted this term to specify their designs.
The popularity of these Midcentury Modern designs has grown popular today. However, the roots of this phrase came out at the time of Greenberg’s book.
On the other hand, most of the designs of the Midcentury were not so popular for a period. So the designers made a few other modifications to the already existing styles.
Don’t worry if you do not have an original Midcentury Modern house. However, you can work the style into your home.
The Midcentury styles went out of fashion by the late 1960s. However, these styles began to return in the early to mid-1980s. From then until now, vintage pieces have been in high demand.
So, their popularity has increased rapidly within a decade. On the other hand, there were several events conducted to make them known to everyone. Whatever the method may be, these designs are now very much simplified.