Part Five: The Modern Era
In our last installment of this series, Movements in Home Décor and Fashion, we will be looking at the Modern Era which begins in the late 1950’s and continues through the 60’s. During this time we see sleek minimalist designs that, in a sense, shed the weight of the past and had an eye on the future. It was a time to be fast, cool, and carefree! With new methods of advertising, such as TV commercials, modern trends were spread more rapidly than in the past, and had greater influence on the whole society. Modern designs, therefore, not only affected fashion and décor, but also automobiles, electronics, work space, art, and architecture.
Today, we shall take a look at just two areas of interest: mid-century modern furniture and mid-century barware.
Mid-century Modern Furniture was greatly influenced by Danish designers and was characterized by sleek minimalist designs. These designs offered a striking contrast to the soft and curvy glam trends of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Some design features of this era include straight lines, the use of dark wood such as walnut or teak, and bold colors such as orange and green.
Influential designers, such as couple Charles and Ray Eames or Dorothy Thorpe, contributed innovations in molded plastic, plywood, metals, and glass. During this time, we also see a great increase in the use of imitation/artificial materials such as imitation wood (faux bois), laminate (aka Formica), faux leather/vinyl, and polyesters.
Midcentury Barware: The midcentury modern movement produced many housewares and barware reflecting society’s increased interest in travel, work, and entertainment. Television shows ranging from the 1960’s, “I Dream of Jeanie,” to today’s hit show, “Mad Men” highlights this trend. Household items were often decorated with ‘futuristic” or “atomic” designs, which highlighted social and political realities - such as the race to the moon, or the development of the atomic bomb.
Mid-century modern designs are very popular among young vintage collectors. Colors and shapes from this time are really making a comeback. It’s not uncommon to find a 60’s inspired dress in the mall, 60’s paint pallets in home improvement stores, or a vintage inspired coffee table at the local furniture store. Knowing style history can be fun and can add a bit of interesting background to your new décor picks.
This article was written by Mary Herboth of Fine Romance Vintage, and is part of a series called, “Movements in Home Décor and Fashion.” Please follow the links below to read more:
Part One: The Victorian Era
Part Two: Edwardian Period
Part Three: TheArt Movements
Part Four: Depression and Post-War Era
Part Five: The Modern Era (above)