For that nostalgic touch...

Last Updated 10 April 2014, 13:51 IST

Bring home the distinctive features of mid-century modern style that focused on simple aesthetics, writes Simran Chhibber.

Mid-century modern is a style that flourished from the 1940s to the 1970s and is characterised by its uncomplicated forethought and simple aesthetics. 

The period post World War II saw the withering of resources, both economic and emotional, and hence resulted in an architecture or design that was easy, uncomplicated and quick to engineer. 
A lot of emphasis was laid on structures that were low in height and had a signature of horizontality. 

The houses typically had a lot of windows, big transparent openings with indoor and outdoor spaces visually merging into one another and very simple and lucid planning.
The interior design complemented the crisp, unbridled appearance of houses, with organic and geometric shapes replacing the prevalent intricate and ornamental subtleties. 
The designers borrowed inspiration from the war years and the overall feel of the design was casual and unceremonious. 
Salient features
Versatility and multi-functionality had become the new slogan and hence the developed furniture could be easily folded, collapsed and put away. 
There were possibilities to reposition and swap it in numerous ways too. 

Echoing multi-functionality, the furniture wasn’t very task-specific. 
For instance, the same chair could be used to dine in, it could be placed in the living room, be used in your office workspace or even as a piece of art. 
The style has been greatly influenced by The Bauhaus, Germany and The International Style and so has been the furniture designed during this era.
The discerning attributes of this style were its classic, played down look, and clean geometry with minimalistic approach. 
There was also a good use of materials such as wood, metal, glass, vinyl, plywood, plexiglass and lucite and a vast colour range varying from neutrals to bolds.
Mid-century modern style was distinct and to a great extent led by inventive, mass produced furniture and accessories. 
The furnishings were in fact stripped down to the bare essentials and were put up without any unnecessary detailing or intricacies.
There is something nostalgic about the mid-century modern that keeps coming back. Here are a few ways to incorporate the nostalgia in your homes.
If your budget allows and the structural design permits, don’t shy to knock off that solid wall obscuring your view of the outdoors. 
If this seems like going too far, then you could at least leave your windows stripped of that heavy drapery. 
Installing skylights would create a great drama of light and shadow and could be a substitute for the large well-lit windows. 
A natural wallpaper would be agreeable too.

Warm and earthy colours, predominant with pure wood, are quintessential to the mid-century palette and so are a few strokes of deep, strong and vivid colours to give it character and individuality.
There aren’t set rules guiding as to which colours can be used, hence you have the freedom to work with unconventional and unusual colour combinations.

Bold & intrepid, you say?

Furniture forms an essential element when we talk of mid-century modern decor.
 Furniture designs by Knoll, Herman Miller and Vitra can be an inspiration.
Mid-century modern isn’t about timid, reserved design at all. Bold intrepid geometry, assertive, aesthetic undulations and offbeat, eccentric patterns give the decor a very powerful visual liveliness. 
A number of furnishing houses these days produce fabrics that recapture the flavour of the era and can be used innovatively in your interiors.

Classic mid-century lighting adds to the theatrics in your interior design.
Sputnik chandeliers, Arco floor lamps and bubble lights are some of the light fixtures that one can consider exploring. 
These light fixtures are sculptural beauties in themselves and quite deserve the centre stage, hence try not to crowd your room and focus on just one or two pieces.
You can add a touch of mid-century flavour to your kitchen too. Instead of panelled cabinet doors, go for plain, frameless ones with unadorned simple hardware. 
You can introduce a dash of colour to your backsplash or even go for a brightly patterned geometric flooring. 

Cork flooring is quite likely to complement the mid century modern flavour of your decor.

Add artwork from the era and accents to enhance your set-up. 
The mid-century modern period yielded so many talented artists like Hockney,Lichtenstein and Calder and their art revealed a whole new bold territory in the creative sphere. 
The approach adopted in their portrayals and canvases perfectly complements the pioneering style of mid-century modern. 

You could finally wrap up your rooms with classic mid-century accessories such as a fine George Nelson Clock or an Eames Hang-It-All and bring the museum-like mid-century modern aesthetic to  your home. 
Whilst original pieces might cost you a fortune, the very ‘make believe’ replicas and imitations are readily available at online shops at an affordable price.
(Published 10 April 2014, 13:51 IST)

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