Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Return of Modernism

Not long ago I was in Portland Oregon and had some time for an architectural tour where I saw some examples of mid century modern homes and furniture. I was captivated by the curves, flow, lines and colors. It was magical. When I returned home to New York I wanted to surround myself with the look, but wasn't ready to throw away all my furniture. So I hit the bookstore to find a few nice coffee table books about this style, in particular stunning work by the great Frank Lloyd Wright.
Mid-Century modern (MCM) usually refers to architecture, interior design and furniture made or based on pre-and post-WWII. It can also include other furnishings like lamps, etc. It was a remarkable era of creativity with advancements in modern design and architecture that lasted for 30 years or so. Like many things it fell out of favor for many years, and lost its popularity. There is a renewed interest in Mid-Century Modern cropping up all over the United States. Here in New York, many of the second hand resale shops sell MCM furniture and accessories. What intrigues me the most is there pockets of suburban American homes that still have authentic MCM style. Cities like Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas, Seattle and even Boston have pockets of this style hidden throughout. But no where can you find the style celebrated and embraced than in Southern California, where there is an abundance of it to be found. I also discovered that Palm Springs California (near LA somewhere) has not only a great deal of MCM style, but they are building new homes and civic buildings in this style. I need to check that out one day. I follow a few blogs of people who write about MCM, and they do a nice job covering it too:

If you are not familiar with Mid Century Modern, here are some examples: