Mid Century Modern: A style encapsulating an era of post war optimism. October 16, 2015 – Posted in: Design, Furniture, Mid Century Modern – Tags: fler, lowen, mad men, mid century modern, retro, sc55, sc58
Now more than ever it seems that Mid Century Modern Furniture and the items that accesorise them (think Bitossi pottery, West German Lava vases and Sunburst clocks to name a few) are in great demand. I think this is in no small part thanks to the great and sadly late AMC television show Mad Men. Don Draper’s apartment was both a thing of beauty and envy. From his Eames lounge chair to his Catherineholm enamel bowls and Murano glass it really is a classy pad.
For the most part though the enduring popularity of this design style is the fact that it has such clean lines, warm tones, stylish look and it can be mixed and matched with more contemporary furniture in your home.
What is Mid century Modern
Midcentury modern has most definitely become a buzzword of some repute in the last 10 years in particular. It seems anything Retro can mistakenly be labelled as Mid century Modern. Broadly speaking, Midcentury modern broadly describes furniture, architecture and graphic design styles from the middle of the 20th century (between the late 1940’s to the mid 60’s). It was author Cara Greenberg who coined the phrase “midcentury modern” for her 1984 book, Midcentury Modern: Furniture of the 1950s. Greenberg recounts that she “just made that up as the book’s title,”
The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne recently held a fantastic exhibit entitled Australia’s Mid-Century Modern movement. The accompanying book, Mid-Century Modern: Australian Furniture Design, is a wonderful reference of Australian designers from this period.
Australian Designer In Profile: Fred Lowen
Fred Lowen was born in 1919 as Fritz Karl Heinz. Being a German Jew, he fled and made his way to Australia, arriving in Sydney in 1940.
He got his first real start in September of 1945, he designed and made wooden salad bowls, trays and lazy susans with Ernest Rodeck under the name of FLER. He continued to persevere and it was between 1955 and 1951 that he hit his Midcentury modern strides. In this time frame he designed and manufactured the SC55 lounge chair and SC58 lounge chair, the Aluminium Shell Chair, and the Narvik dining and lounge ranges were released.
Lowen went on to start a company called Twen in 1968 who then went onto to become Tessa in the early 70’s. The Tessa company is still in operation today and its retro and midcentury range is still very popular and can be found in many homes.
You only need to walk through IKEA to see that the vast majority of their range are influenced by the simplicity of the Midcentury modern style (though let us not even debate the merits of fall apart furniture). There is no doubt that this style can be somewhat polarizing topic of discussion, some love it and others simply can’t stand it, but there is no denying that the 50’s are back in vogue again….. again.
(Narvik Chair 1961 Fred LOWEN (designer) THE FLER COMPANY,Image Courtesy of NGV Melbourne)
(Based in Perth, Simply Retro and Vintage Company love vintage and retro products. Vintage we define as anything 20 years+ old (but not yet antique). Retro in our minds describes items that are more of a transcendent style rather than a time period for example Fler lounges from the 50’s, bright red phones from the 70’s or that 80’s boom box you have always wanted.)