It’s hard to turn the pages of an interiors magazine these days without spotting an iconic piece of mid-century design inside a real home or as part of a decorating scheme. Eames chairs, Ercol tables, Lucienne Day’s textile designs, Poul Hennigsen’s ‘Artichoke’ lamp for Louis Poulsen – shown on the cover of this book – are all familiar elements in 21st century homes.
Many of these celebrated designs have remained in production since they were launched, but mid-century modern was derided for many years, Judith Miller’s book reminds us. Thoroughly rehabilitated and objects of desire once more, your originals might now be worth a bob or two, as you’ll discover using the price guidelines here.
For those of us buying or admiring the newly made examples of these classics instead, this book will still prove a great guide to the work of designers from Alvar Aalto to Frantisek Zemek. And if the furniture and lighting of the late 1940s to the 1970s are more familiar to you than the glass, ceramics, metalware and textiles, it’ll sharpen your skills in spotting the designs of the period and its continuing influence.
Miller put this period in design history in its context as a reaction to what went before, and an antidote to post-war austerity. She examines how the availability of new materials and techniques also inspired designers, and how the forms visible for the first time through electron microscopes were reflected by the patterns of the period.
But if you want to feast your eyes on the designs as well as learning the history, there’s plenty for you, too with generous illustration of individual pieces.
Mid-Century Modern, Living with mid-century modern design by Judith Miller, Miller’s