Mid-20th Century Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Carts and Bar Carts
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Vintage 1960s Modern Desks and Writing Tables
Leather, Faux Bamboo
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Console Tables
A Close Look at mid-century-modern Furniture
Organically shaped, clean-lined and elegantly simple are three terms that well describe vintage mid-century modern furniture. The style, which emerged primarily in the years following World War II, is characterized by pieces that were conceived and made in an energetic, optimistic spirit by creators who believed that good design was an essential part of good living.
ORIGINS OF MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGNEmerged during the mid-20th century Informed by European modernism, Bauhaus, International style, Scandinavian modernism and Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture A heyday of innovation in postwar America Experimentation with new ideas, new materials and new forms flourished in Scandinavia, Italy, the former Czechoslovakia and elsewhere in Europe
CHARACTERISTICS OF MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGNSimplicity, organic forms, clean lines A blend of neutral and bold Pop art colors Use of natural and man-made materials — alluring woods such as teak, rosewood and oak; steel, fiberglass and molded plywood Light-filled spaces with colorful upholstery Glass walls and an emphasis on the outdoors Promotion of functionality
MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGNERS TO KNOWCharles and Ray Eames Eero Saarinen Milo Baughman Florence Knoll Harry Bertoia Isamu Noguchi George Nelson Danish modernists Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen, whose emphasis on natural materials and craftsmanship influenced American designers and vice versa
ICONIC MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGNSEames lounge chair Nelson daybed Florence Knoll sofa Egg chair Womb chair Noguchi coffee table Barcelona chair
VINTAGE MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE ON 1STDIBS
The mid-century modern era saw leagues of postwar American architects and designers animated by new ideas and new technology. The lean, functionalist International-style architecture of Le Corbusier and Bauhaus eminences Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius had been promoted in the United States during the 1930s by Philip Johnson and others. New building techniques, such as “post-and-beam” construction, allowed the International-style schemes to be realized on a small scale in open-plan houses with long walls of glass.
Materials developed for wartime use became available for domestic goods and were incorporated into mid-century modern furniture designs. Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen, who had experimented extensively with molded plywood, eagerly embraced fiberglass for pieces such as the La Chaise and the Womb chair, respectively.
Architect, writer and designer George Nelson created with his team shades for the Bubble lamp using a new translucent polymer skin and, as design director at Herman Miller, recruited the Eameses, Alexander Girard and others for projects at the legendary Michigan furniture manufacturer.
Harry Bertoia and Isamu Noguchi devised chairs and tables built of wire mesh and wire struts. Materials were repurposed too: The Danish-born designer Jens Risom created a line of chairs using surplus parachute straps for webbed seats and backrests. The Risom lounge chair was among the first pieces of furniture commissioned and produced by legendary manufacturer Knoll, a chief influencer in the rise of modern design in the United States, thanks to the work of Florence Knoll, the pioneering architect and designer who made the firm a leader in its field. The seating that Knoll created for office spaces — as well as pieces designed by Florence initially for commercial clients — soon became desirable for the home.
As the demand for casual, uncluttered furnishings grew, more mid-century furniture designers caught the spirit.
Classically oriented creators such as Edward Wormley, house designer for Dunbar Inc., offered such pieces as the sinuous Listen to Me chaise; the British expatriate T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings switched gears, creating items such as the tiered, biomorphic Mesa table. There were Young Turks such as Paul McCobb, who designed holistic groups of sleek, blond wood furniture, and Milo Baughman, who espoused a West Coast aesthetic in minimalist teak dining tables and lushly upholstered chairs and sofas with angular steel frames.
As the collection of vintage mid-century modern chairs, dressers, coffee tables and other furniture for the living room, dining room, bedroom and elsewhere on 1stDibs demonstrates, this period saw one of the most delightful and dramatic flowerings of creativity in design history.
Finding the Right Tables for You
The right vintage, new or antique tables can help make any space in your home stand out.
Over the years, the variety of tables available to us, as well as our specific needs for said tables, has broadened. Today, with all manner of these must-have furnishings differing in shape, material and style, any dining room table can shine just as brightly as the guests who gather around it.
Remember, when shopping for a dining table, it must fit your dining area, and you need to account for space around the table too — think outside the box, as an oval dining table may work for tighter spaces. Alternatively, if you’ve got the room, a Regency-style dining table can elevate any formal occasion at mealtime.
Innovative furniture makers and designers have also redefined what a table can be. Whether it’s an unconventional Ping-Pong table, a brass side table to display your treasured collectibles or a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk to add an air of nostalgia to your loft, your table can say a lot about you. The visionary work of French designer Xavier Lavergne, for example, includes tables that draw on the forms of celestial bodies as often as they do aquatic creatures or fossils. Elsewhere, Italian architect Gae Aulenti, who looked to Roman architecture in crafting her stately Jumbo coffee table, created clever glass-topped mobile coffee tables that move on bicycle tires or sculpted wood wheels for Fontana Arte.
Coffee and cocktail tables can serve as a room’s centerpiece with attention-grabbing details and colors. Glass varieties will keep your hardwood flooring and dazzling area rugs on display, while a marble or stone coffee table in a modern interior can showcase your prized art books and decorative objects. A unique vintage desk or writing table can bring sophistication and even a bit of spice to your work life.
No matter your desired form or function, a quality table for your living space is a sound investment. On 1stDibs, browse a collection of vintage, new and antique bedside tables, mid-century end tables and more today.
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