2010s Mexican Mid-Century Modern Sofas
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 DESIGN
- Emerged 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 DESIGN
- Simplicity, 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 KNOW
- Charles 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 DESIGNS
- Eames 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 loveseats for You
Antique and vintage loveseats are functional and totally charming furniture in homes large and small these days. They first appeared in the 17th and 18th centuries, though they were not yet known by this endearing term.
These petite, two-seat sofas were originally intended to comfortably sit a woman clad in what were the era’s large and elaborate dresses — ornate hooped garments with copious folds of fabric, embroidery and lace. However, because the original seats featured just enough space for two, they quickly became popular for couples that were courting. Loveseats meant that the couples could engage in close conversation, but furniture makers ensured that there was enough space between sitters to prioritize modesty.
In the early days of loveseats, the furnishings were minimalist in appearance and could often be found in an s-shape, with the two sides facing each other. The spare seating was initially little more than a wooden bench, as loveseats weren’t yet upholstered or cushioned. Design of the seating evolved over time, and this wide chair was eventually padded and tufted for comfort. During the 1800s, loveseats were a luxurious addition to the homes of the wealthy, and even today, antique 19th-century loveseats are still quite alluring. In any lavishly decorated parlor of the Victorian era, you might find a pair of partygoers tucked into a particularly plush iteration of these cozy perches, one boasting arched crests of carved mahogany over its sculpted seats, with front cabriole legs resolving in paw feet.
In modern homes, loveseats — even antique Victorian loveseats — pair well with oversize sofas or are ideal replacements for sofas, particularly if you’re working on organizing and furnishing a smaller space. A loveseat is a stylish addition to a home library or a reading nook and can easily be situated at the foot of the bed in your bedroom. In the living room, you may wish to position your vintage loveseat and couch around a central focal point, such as a distinguishing architectural feature or a fireplace. But be sure to leave some walking room between your seating and any nearby coffee tables or side tables. Allow for around two feet for guests to pass between a couch and chair or loveseat and at least a foot between a loveseat and coffee table.
Find a wide variety of antique, new and vintage loveseats today on 1stDibs.