Ideas & Inspiration

Mid-century Modern Design

Ask anyone about the definition of Mid-century Modern design and you’ll receive varying estimations of the time frame that describes it, but most will picture the 1950s - 1960s era of George Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and many more. Generally experts agree that there is a distinction of design, post-World War II, which establishes the period. However, there were numerous examples of modernism by iconic designers like Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Russel Wright and others before that time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries after the start of the Industrial era. Fueled by post war thoughts to press forward into the atomic age, the design world would change forever by the mid twentieth century. Advancements in mass production, innovations in new materials such as plastics, molded plywood and industrial scale metal spinning, challenged designers to think boldly and out-of-the-box. Radically experimenting with materials, geometric forms, clean lines, colors and textures caused designers to create functional works of art that remain iconic today. Many of the lighting fixtures of this era are so powerful and statement making, they deserve to have the spotlight all to themselves. The iconic Sputnik chandelier, stripped down to its essential forms, doubles as art, yet lighting function remains paramount. The original chandelier is credited to Gino Sarfatti, who happened to be an engineer and not a designer, and took inspiration by Russia’s launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957. Extensively reinterpreted and reinvented, the Sputnik chandelier is ever popular and captures the spirit of Mid-century Modern decor to a tee. Design nostalgia for this period is not showing signs of abatement due to its timeless nature, and easy fit within contemporary and modern interiors. The craftsmanship and artistry of the geniuses of Mid-century Modern are only more revered for the organic style and ease of living they offered. Still surprising us today, the Atomic age universe of decor elements, such as bubbles, moons, satellites, suns, spindles, exploding stars and a host of other abstractions in light fixture designs embody this era when dangling from ceilings, counter-balanced on walls or lighting up modern tables in the hippest of homes.

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