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Mid-Century Modern: Wikis

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Mid-Century modern is an architectural, interior and product design form that generally describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture, and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965. The term was coined in 1983 by Cara Greenberg for the title of her ground-breaking book, _Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s_ (Random House), celebrating the style which is now recognized by scholars and museums worldwide as a significant design movement.



Mid-century architecture was a further development of Frank Lloyd Wright's principles of organic architecture combined with many elements reflected in the International and Bauhaus movements. Mid-century modernism, however, was much more organic in form and less formal than the International Style. Scandinavian architects were very influential at this time, with a style characterized by clean simplicity and integration with nature. Like many of Wright's designs, Mid-Century architecture was frequently employed in residential structures with the goal of bringing modernism into America's post-war suburbs. This style emphasized creating structures with ample windows and open floor-plans with the intention of opening up interior spaces and bringing the outdoors in. Many Mid-century houses utilized then-groundbreaking post and beam architectural design that eliminated bulky support walls in favor of walls seemingly made of glass. Function was as important as form in Mid-Century designs, with an emphasis placed specifically on targeting the needs of the average American family. Examples of residential Mid-Century modern architecture are frequently referred to as the California Modern style.

Pioneering builder and real estate developer Joseph Eichler was instrumental in bringing Mid-Century Modern architecture ("Eichler Homes") to subdivisions in the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay region of California and select housing developments on the east coast. George Fred Keck, Henry P. Glass and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe created Mid-Century Modern residences in the Chicago area. Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House is extremely difficult to heat or cool, while Keck and Glass were pioneers in the incorporation of passive solar features in their houses to compensate for their large glass windows.

Product Design

Scandinavian design was very influential at this time, with a style characterized by simplicity, democratic design and natural shapes. Glassware (Iittala - Finland), ceramics (Arabia - Finland), tableware (George Jensen - Denmark), lighting, and furniture were some of the genres products' were created in.

Edith Heath (1911–2005) was an industrial designer, potter, and founder of Heath Ceramics in 1948. The company, well known for its Mid-Century modern ceramics|ceramic dish-ware (Heathware) and architecural tiles, is still operating out of Sausalito, in Marin County of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Edith Heath's "Coupe" line remains in demand and has been in constant production since 1948, with only periodic changes to the texture and color of the glazes.[1]


Well-known designers of the mid-century modern era

See also


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