American furniture designer Milo Baughman (1923–2003) conceived the Case sofa sometime during the 1960s, when designers and manufacturers were still experimenting with technologies and materials that had been developed during World War II. From the aircraft industry, molded plastics and aluminum became viable new options, while the Chrysler Corporation introduced spot-welding techniques for joining wood to rubber, metal and plastic. Baughman, who was born in Goodland, Kansas, but spent his formative years in Long Beach, California — which may have informed his laid-back sensibility — worked with dozens of manufacturers. The interior designer and furniture maker’s collaborations include a decades-long association with Thayer Coggin, which produced this classic modernist design.
With its wood veneer, wool-flannel upholstery and straight metal legs, the Case sofa exudes a certain bygone masculinity that is frequently referenced as a defining characteristic of postwar culture. Fittingly, Baughman's seating — or his influence, at the very least — can be found in more than one room on the award-winning television series Mad Men, thanks to set decorators Claudette Didul and Amy Wells. The designer's work inspired the furniture created for the pristine office of Don Draper, the show’s erratic, arrogant male protagonist. Yet Baughman’s Case sofa is notable for more than its dashing good looks. Its hefty proportions and straightforward lines speak to the era’s growing prevalence of mass fabrication. That’s not to say the sofa isn’t well crafted. It simply embodies the advent of mass-market furniture as well as a new kind of status symbol.
Milo Baughman Case Sofa
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