Mid-Century Still Modern in the 21st Century

By Chuck; Hamsher, Connie | Sunday Gazette-Mail, April 28, 2019 | Go to article overview

Mid-Century Still Modern in the 21st Century


Chuck, Hamsher, Connie, Sunday Gazette-Mail


Back in the 1950s and 60s, the term "mid-century modern was not used to describe the trend that had overtaken much of the United States' and Europe's design approach to home furnishings. At the time, and greatly influenced by both the art deco and arts and crafts movements which preceded it, these sleek and sometimes futuristic furniture designs were referred to as "contemporary.

Modernism was, and remains today, at the root of contemporary design. In the 1950s, contemporary furnishings were not only becoming popular in the marketplace, they also were noticed in the art world. The Museum of Modern Art, largely under the direction of Edward Kaufman Jr., presented a series of exhibits in the 1950s titled "What is Good Design?

These exhibits, along with Kaufman's writings surrounding them, helped define the "contemporary furniture movement in ways that still influence furnishings today. The strong emphasis is on modernist design, use of cutting-edge materials and grounded in a philosophy that, according to Kaufman, "furniture should express the spirit of our modern times and address modern life's practical needs.

Luckily, the contemporary design movement did not begin and end in the mid-20th century. In fact, it continues to thrive, and the influences of early modernist from the Bauhaus to the Eames Office continue to be reflected in current-day furniture design.

On our recent trip to High Point, North Carolina, for the Spring Furniture Market, we had the opportunity to see a great deal of how contemporary design is being interpreted and built upon in 2019. There remains a focus on modernist design, and the influences of design masters like La Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe can still be seen in many pieces.

We are happy to report that, now, nearly 100 years into its beginnings in Europe following World War I, the modernist movement remains strong in "contemporary furniture design and production.

One of our favorite furniture makers, Lazar Furniture, has recently seen a change in management and, with it, a doubling down on its design focus. …

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