It’s a question that’s intrigued writers, designers, collectors, and critics alike, prompted think pieces, and inspired whole collections and even companies: Just why is it that people are so enamored with midcentury-modern design? From the graceful silhouettes of Hans Wegner to the warm woods favored by the likes of Florence Knoll and Jens Risom, the design principles of this one era have not only remained in vogue but sparked countless riffs, ripoffs, and reissues.
Perhaps we’re not nostalgic for a certain architect, a certain form, or a certain chair but nostalgic for that simpler, more gracious time. Maybe, as a society, have a collective yearning for an era when an airplane ride merited serious sartorial consideration, and when “people would talk and not just text.” Whether or not this nostalgia is driving design trends, the evidence stands. What many critics have called a ‘trend’ seems to have no indication of slowing down anytime soon.”
There is an honesty and simplicity in midcentury-modern design that makes it very appealing, especially as our lives get more busy and our world gets more complicated. The style is about simplicity in building materials, eschewing excess adornment, having a connection to the environment, and surrounding yourself with fewer things but things that have meaning. Those qualities are always going to be in style.
Design projects often favor new upholstery, as it is more appropriately scaled for today’s homes and bodies, and then mix in the mid-mod elements. For someone who wanted to add some midcentury-modern flair to an otherwise traditional space, they could start with a statement occasional piece—say, a fabulous lamp, side table, or wood-framed chair. Any of those items can instantly change the dynamic of a room, without committing to an entirely throwback look.
Although today’s lifestyle is obviously much different than that of the 1950s and ’60s, young families now find the look appealing. Even though we have more and more time-saving technology, people are busier than ever before. A working mum, who is pulled in too many directions, probably does not want a fussy interior with lots of things and lots of upkeep. And we are constantly in visual overload. A well-designed modern interior that requires less upkeep provides a respite for the body, the mind, and, if done right, the soul.