Mid-Century is Not the Only Way
to Interpret ‘Modern’
New Furniture Designs in Stores This Fall Offer
a Fresh Take on Mid-Century Classics
September 8, 2016 – HIGH POINT, N.C. – Mid-century isn’t the only way to interpret “modern” furniture design, and this fall, shoppers will find a refreshing new take on this long-time anchor of the home design world.New collections are still sleek and uncluttered, as you’d expect from anything calling itself “modern.” But the span of influences extends beyond the usual “mid-century” to include the best of the 30s to the 70s. Many manufacturers have aimed for a sophisticated, architectural aesthetic, while some have injected classic mid-century organic shapes with innovative, 21st century materials and construction techniques. The result is “modern” that breaks the mid-century mold.
Mid-century modern is generally considered to be rooted in designs originating from 1947 to 1957, with George Nelson, Florence Knoll, Ame Jacobsen, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen and others among its creators. Their classic shapes enjoyed a comeback in the 1990s, broadened at the end of the decade by the launch of “Design Within Reach,” a retailer that offers authentic modern furniture for high end consumers. Meanwhile, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, Target and Ikea were among the retailers popularizing the mid-century modern look from one end of the “affordable” price spectrum to the other.
Consumers who are partial to streamlined designs but bored by the commercialized mid-century craze will find furnishings this fall that put a whole new spin on the style.“Modern” pieces in new collections arriving in stores this month play with some iconic elements – sunbursts, double-helixes, kidney shapes and so on – from the mid-century toy box. But they also employ a wider range of materials and finishes – a diversity that is characteristic of today’s eclectic interiors.
The manufacturers of these new collections cite many inspirations, from Europe to California and from antiquity to the 1960s. Unlike some mannered mid-century pieces, these furnishings tend to place a higher value on function – a true necessity in today’s busy households. In addition, they break the mid-century mold by layering in carefully chosen details that make this new modern aesthetic just a bit more daring.
That’s an added bonus for young buyers who prefer to acquire better quality pieces as they are able over time, rather than opting for the fully-furnished and fully-disposable rooms typically marketed to their demographic. Mature buyers looking for one unique addition to complete a carefully collected room will also be drawn to these designs. The “new modern” rewards these shoppers with focal-point pieces that deserve a spotlight. Just a few pieces of this caliber make a big space look curated and small one look distinctive.
It’s almost as though – dare we say it? – good taste is resurgent, too.
Can modern be nostalgic? Can it be elegant? Can it be distinctive despite its popularity? Take a look at this fall’s new designs. As the 1943 Cole Porter song says, they’d be so nice to come home to.
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