Over the past year, there has been a definite buzz around the term “Mid-Century Modern.” Don’t get me wrong, I love this style, but I also feel like the term “Mid-Century Modern” is attached to every furniture description these days. So I’m sure you’re asking yourself, what is Mid-Century Modern? Where did it come from?
Mid-Century Modern, MCM for short, is characterized by clean, simple lines and the use of honest materials (think wood, plastic, and metal). In the United States, MCM furniture is most often seen as a reflection of both the International and Bauhaus architecture movements. The International Style was heavily influenced by Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and has the tendency to have an emphasis on volume over mass and the use of lightweight, mass-produced, industrial materials, and the rejection of ornament and color. Bauhaus architecture was founded by Walter Gropius and focuses on using industrial materials such as glass, metal, and concrete. Both of these styles create clean, simple, and straightforward designs.
These famous architecture styles influenced furniture makers in the U.S. to bring design to the average American family during the 1940s-1960s. However, the term “Mid-Century Modern” wasn’t coined until 1984 when author, Cara Greenburg, wrote a piece for Metropolitan Home about furniture styles in the 1950s. Since then, the modern furniture style forever became known as Mid-Century Modern. Now 40 years later, MCM has regained its popularity… perhaps even more than it has peaked in the past.
So next time you see something described as “Mid-Century Modern” now you know the history behind it! Knowing more about the history of interior design and furniture design can help you assess your own personal style.