Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mid 20th Century Furniture and Design

Also referred to as mid-century, the mid 20th century furniture period was when G-Plan was a means of furnishing a home in a regulated coordinating style, the spaghetti chair was the iconic chair that represented the mid 20th century along with the Robin Day chair, in the style used by that British interviewer and broadcaster in his television programs.

Mid-Century: the developed world was changing, and emerging from the Second World War seeking something fresh and new, not just more of the same of the post-war years up to 1950. These were years of relative austerity, particularly in the UK and Europe where much of the modern design of the era originated. This was before the Swingin' 60s and London Rocking, when families were still coming to terms with losing their loved ones and others were still building after the horrific bombings of their cities.

Mid 20th Century Furniture and Interior Design

In fact, for most at this time of the mid 20th century, the concept of interior design was a new one. Those who had suffered the deprivation of the 1930s and the war of the 1940s were at least 20 years old in 1954, and those that could remember the better times of the early 1930s would be around 30 years of age. This new concept was a marvelous opportunity for them to display their individuality in the furnishing and decoration of their own homes.

Not only that, but the new polymeric materials such as acrylics and advances in synthetic costume jewelry offered them the chance to own things that were unknown to their parents. Jazz was swinging, rock 'n roll was beating out with the sounds of Bill Hailey and his Comets and the Bellboys were in full swing.

Fiberglass and Charles Eames

The time was ripe for a form of innovation that would never have been acceptable earlier. In the USA, the Eameses introduced fiberglass and plastic resin furniture. The Aluminum Group furniture of 1958 and the Time Life stools were other examples of their work of the 1950s. Art deco had declined, and was still awaiting a resurgence that would come about in the 1960s. But for now, new and tastelessness was good. People wanted something different, and they got it. It did not last for long, but, like any short-lived fad, it is worth collecting now.

Charles Eames was the first person to introduce a typical American style to modern design. His concept of organic design, expanding on that of Frank Lloyd Wright, originated from his observation of the natural world. This approach to design found particular favor with the women of the day. In fact, the 1950s were largely pink, influence by women with new plastics, pot plants, kitchen tools and labor-saving devices. Cleaning, cooking and the family became pleasures rather than chores, and women suddenly became the consumers, taking this role over from the man of the house.

The Influence of War

It is important to understand all of this mid-century history when collecting mid-century furniture and design items. It was a unique period in the USA and in Europe, the latter recovering from the ravages of war and the North Americans recovering from lost sons and daughters with so little time between the Great Depression and the onset of war.

As young servicemen returned home in the 1950s they were ready for new jobs, new homes and new families. They were also ready for new ideas so they could forget the terrible years of the 1930s and 1940s. Contemporary was the name used then - it is now referred to as retro. How times change, but that is to the benefit of collectors. Retro furniture of the 1950s is significantly more valuable now, even in comparative terms, than it was then.

Mid 20th century furniture and design represented their time: a time of mourning for the lost but also of recovery, and of the frenetic music and dancing, the vivid colors and original designs, and the sheer delight in the freedom of choice that people found they once again had. The 'Utility' was replaced by the 'Contemporary', now known as the 'Retro', but no less amazing and beautiful, and also not only very collectible but also fabulous investments.

Contemporary Furniture

It was during the 1950s that Matchbox, Lego, Hula Hoops and plastics other than Bakelite came into being, and originals of any of these are worth their weight in gold now and well worth seeking. Collectors everywhere are seeking original boxed matchbox toys, and an original Eames fiberglass chair will be worth a fortune if you still have one.

The 1930s and 1940s were to be forgotten, and replaced by the novelty of the 1950s in its Rock 'n Roll, its New Plastics, its New Toys and its Contemporary Furniture, and even the Swingin' 60s would not see such a transition from one decade to another. Antique? Perhaps not. Vintage? Who cares!

Mid 20th Century furniture and design is not to be categorized in such ways: if you love the period then collect from it and invest in it if you wish, but never discount it or deny these people the joy they felt at their release from deprivation and war.

You can find a good selection of 20th century furniture at the Patterson Furniture showrooms in Atlanta, Georgia. You can also visit Patterson's website at http://www.pattersonfurniture.com for some fabulous modern and reproduction furniture collections. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Peter_Nisbet Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7577653