This is who you need to know if you’re shopping for mid-century furniture
20th Aug 2020
Arne, Jacobsen, Paolo Buffa, Niels Otto Møller – these are the leading designers who pioneered the design movement in mid-century furniture.
Mid-century furniture is currently having a revival. The juxtaposition of man-made and natural materials, and the’distinguishing features of clean lines, striking hues and abstract formations means these classic pieces are finding a new audience.
Stretching from the post-World War II period to 1979, mid-century design was driven by the scientific discoveries of the time, with strong roots in Scandinavian design. The function and simplicity of this era has universal and timeless appeal and many pieces can fit seamlessly into the modern home.
The chair was a signature shape for many designers during this period. It offered designers a myriad of choice in materials, shape and colour, yet it was an item every home needed. If you’re considering adding a touch of mid-century to your home, these are the names to note.
A Danish architect and designer, Jacobsen is known for his minimalistic style. Elegance and function are key components of his designs. He is best remembered for his success worldwide for his chairs such as The Egg and The Swan and as the architect for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen.
The Swan chair and the Drop chair, available at Republic of Fritz Hansen
A leading architect, Juhl introduced Danish modern design to America. He worked as an interior and industrial designer and is best known for his signature chair designs such as the Chieftan lounge chair which he designed in 1949, and the biomorphic Baker sofa.
The Chieftain chair, available at House of Finn Juhl
An Italian architect and designer, Gio Ponti was a leading figure in establishing Italy as a design hub internationally. Ponti often designed structures inside and out, including?creating the furnishings.
Superleggera chairs available at Gio Ponti
Willy Rizzo was an Italian celebrity photographer for the likes of Paris Match, who became a furniture designer almost by accident. Guests loved the furniture he designed for his home and it wasn’t not long until his prestigious friends sought out his clean lines and bold geometric designs.
Extendable cocktail table for Cidue, available at 1stdibs
Milo Baughman was an American designer regarded for his lounge chairs, and a desk design was later included in the exhibition, High Styles: Twentieth Century American Design.
Curved lounge chairs, available at 1stdibs
The son of an artist, Paolo Buffa was an Italian architect and designer. He trained under Gio Ponti for a time and his furniture is known for its blend of classical and modernist principles. He created pieces for the King of Albania and King Farouk of Egypt, to name just a few.
Italian teak, parchment and brass mounted sideboard cabinet, available at 1stdibs
A fashion and furniture designer, Pierre Cardin was renowned for his avant-garde, futuristic and space-aged designs. He launched his furniture designs in the 1970s that echoed his sculptural approach to fashion, combining traditional lacquer and cabinetmaking techniques with revolutionary space-age designs in metal and plastic.
Pierre Cardin sideboard made by Gillingham, available at 1stdibs
Niels Otto Møller
A Danish furniture designer who started out as a cabinetmaker, Møller was a highly skilled craftsman working mainly in rosewood and teak. He founded J.L Møller, a family-owned business that is still in existence.
Niels Otto Møller dining chair
So, what piece of mid-century furniture is next on your list?
Read more: The most iconic pieces by Florence Knoll, Modernist furniture designer
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