Pages

06 March 2014

Knowing Your Mid-Century Danish Modern.

Photo source: ebay/simply mod auctions
Have you every looked at a piece and thought, "I really like this, but I'm just not sure what, or who's it is?" I'm sure you have.

Even though I've been semi studying MCM design for many years now, I still find that I lack a lot of knowledge when it comes to what piece belongs to what designer, or who a designer is. Another lesser thought of question is, what copy of said designers piece is the one that I'm looking at? Is it an authentically approved piece from one of the original manufactures? Or is it a cheap knockoff from the vast number of cheaper quality companies that where riding on the skirt tails of the popular designers. These questions do really deserve to be answered before you buy. 

There are typically two reasons for wanting to know the designer/originality of any specific piece. One is: I want to know if the asking price is reasonable for the product I'm looking at. Unfortunately, the hay days of picking up unappreciated mcm treasures are close to gone. Even more unlikely, is that you will find any kind of stylized Danish mid-century furniture for a steal. In fact, you really need to watch out for your wallet. Many people today are sharks when it comes to Stylized Mid-Century Modern Furniture, and will try to over charge you for a decent, but not particularly special piece.

Second is: Quality. Ok, so as it goes for me personally, I'm not a big name dropper when it comes to furniture. I'm fairly shallow in the terms of furniture preferences (this only applies to my personality with furniture though). What I'm looking for in furniture are good looks and a quality build. Clearly the price matters, but only if the first two items are ticked off my list first. So, when I find a piece of furniture (Danish or not) I want to know that my money is going toward something of value. I need to know it's going to stand the test of time, and stand up to some use.


Really though, the only way to know if the piece that you are looking at is worth the price is by knowing who the designer was, but even more importantly, who the manufacturer is. Let me give you an example:
My wife's aunt, who is a big participant in an antiques mall in Georgia called Cobb Antique Mall, recently found a set of dining chairs. They're Breuer Cesca Chairs* and she wanted to know how to tell the originals from the knockoffs. So, I did a bit of research and found this link here. Thing being, depending on which manufacture made the chairs, you may be getting a well built quality seat, or you may be getting a cheaply made knockoff that's not going to last very long. Or, in fact, you may find on closer inspection that the piece has already started to come apart. Being quality or not has a direct effect on whether or not these chairs are going to be a good investment and TRULY BE VALUABLE. 

You can say the same about Danish/Danish styled Mid-century furniture*. Some are authentic and some are knockoffs. So before you start whipping out that lettuce and throwing it at the sales person to make sure no one else gets that... "Got To Have Piece", pull out the smart phone a do a little research. 

Photo source: ebay/arts-factory
Here's a couple of sites to help you with that research. One is www.danish-modern.co.uk and the other is www.danish-lights.com. At www.danish-modern.co.uk, you will find a listing of designers and manufactures, years promoted/sold, and companies that sold these pieces. 

At www.danish-lights.com you will find the same thing as www.danish-modern.co.uk, but for mid-century modern danish lighting*. Here the idea is that anyone can have a fairly quick reference guide to data on Danish modern furniture* and mid-century modern danish lighting* from the atomic era*, and still not loose that piece that just came in to the store, or was put up on the web for sale. Better yet though, is that you'll be able to make an educated decision as to whether or not the piece merits the price and if it will last for you and your family. 

Personally, I'm not starting a museum. However, I do want to know that if I need to sell my furniture and accessories, I'll be able to recoup some of what I've invested, and I'm sure you are the same. More important than resale though, is just knowing that the piece that I've just shelled out hard earned cash for will be able to endure my families use for many years to come.

While the reference sites listed in this post are not an all encompassing, they will help you to identify many of the most common Danish Modern pieces, and some of the lesser know pieces as well.

Please note that all links that have an asterisk (*) beside them are affiliate links. By purchasing thru these links, you are helping me to keep Amidstmod.com up and running. Thanks for your help and support.

03 November 2013

Compact Cabins by Simple Living



If you follow my facebook, you may have noticed that I put up a post about the Compact Cabins* book mentioned in the title.

Purely, by chance, I happened to see it while I was walking thru Lowes and was fairly impressed by it. However, I had no idea how cool it really was, until my loving in-laws gave it to me as a gift. So, lets go over the book a bit.



Honestly, the first thing that drew my attention to the book was a combination of factors. These where, that the cover illustration was a tonal architectural rendering of a cabin, and the second was... that the book is about cabins. While we all know that there are many books on architecture and so on, Cabin building is one of the most iconicly Mid-Century genres of architecture there is. (This is a topic for another time.)

So, not expecting much... I figured the photo on the cover was to pull you in, and then the rest would be glossy photos of contemporary cabins that no one could afford. I picked up the book (in the store before owning it), and looked briefly over the contents. To my surprise I found a really solid retro inspired looking cabin book. While I can't count it as completely Mid-Century Modern in design, I can guarantee that the author of this book was keeping in mind the original mid-century cabin books.



What I found inside is a really interesting and well balanced book. It takes on some of the more traditional styled cabin looks and simplifies the completion and construction of them with more current innovations.

One way that the book brings in current innovations into these retro styled cabins is by taking into consideration prefab and ready made units in the construction process. Some of these concepts are: using travel trailer and camper shower/bathroom units, using shipping containers, and using pre-made kitchen units to facilitate construction of the compact interiors while cutting your cost and time for design and install way down.



While some concepts may be a bit to contemporary for those of you who are reading this post, do not fear. This book has those contemporary concepts separated from the more traditional designs. However, it is good to remember that one of the big motivations in the MCM world was pushing design to incorporate new engineering concepts.

Compact Cabins* also gives very solid advice on modular units, and how they can be designed to construct the perfect cabin for your needs. Included in the book are 62 cabin plans, a number of tips on how to source materials (in todays world), how to find out about the building codes that exist, and a number of space saving concepts.



I do think it is very important for anyone reading this to understand that the maximum size of the cabins covered in this book is 1000 sf. Therefore, if you are looking for a book that covers larger cabins, this is not the book for you. Still, this book is incredibly practical, and will make you rethink the building of a larger more expensive cabin for the practicality of one of the ones shown in this book.

In conclusion, I would say that the content of this book is more than just interesting. I would say that is super practical and very inspiring. Being that I'm somewhat of a Mid-Century book snob (not just any old book gets in my collection), any book that I suggest must fit a few important criteria.
   First- Any book to be displayed must fit in with my other mid-century books. 
   Second- It must be practical and lend toward Mid-Century styled living.
   Third- It needs to be an easily understood book that is useful to anyone who may pick it up. 
Compact Cabins* is all of the above without a doubt. While it isn't suitable for Mid-Century Purist, it will be a great and wonderful addition to the average Mid-Century enthusiast. In fact, just looking at this book has inspired me to reconsider the possibility of building a cabin. Who knows, it could happen...


 

10 August 2013

OH...Oh...Oh... Mid-Century Modern Home Plans

Ok, so over the years I've seen all the cabin and ranch or vacation house plan's books out there. While they are all titled Mid-Century Modern home/house plans, it only takes a few seconds to see that they are only partly what they claim. In the end, buying them is more for collection than for need or a true fit. That though is no longer the case. Why? Let me show you.

I was just browsing my favorite mid-century modern book store on ebay*, Populuxe* books, and I happened to run across this awesome book.

 


This Sunset Books offering from the early 60's is not the typical, so it would seem, book that they put  out on, "mid-century modern", house plans. You know, the book I mentioned above, where there are two mid-century  modern styled houses buried in amongst a ton of plain and simple homes of the mid-century period, that are the furthest thing from modern. No, this book, at least from what Populuxe has posted on the photos portion of the sale, shows a true potential for being able to fufill our desires of having one book full of mcm house plans. 

Just to help you get an idea, check out the following photos. 

If you think these are cool, go check out the other photos Populuxe* has up. You won't be disappointed. While there take a gander at the other books and toys they have up on auction.  Who knows, they may just become your favorite Mid-Century Modern books store too. 

Please Note: Populuxe* Books has not compensated or encourage www.amidstmod.com in an manner to promote their books or products in this post. Also please note that links with an (*) beside them are affiliate links as are the product apps on this site. For more information on the how www.amidstmod.com receives it's income, please visit our income page.
 




11 July 2013

A bit of Danish in Books

*Note: I have choosen to feature Populuxe books on my own accord. Populuxe books is not rewarding me, nor paying me for featuring their material on Amidstmod.com.

I thought: "While my time is short for posting, I would put together a simple, but image/informational filled post for you nice folks." Also, while I'm not turning Amidstmod.com into a danish modern only site, I am doing double duty, trying to get my facebook group Mid-Century Danish Modern up and going. So stop by and check it out, and join.

My favorite online bookstore, Populuxe books, has just what I needed today for a bit of inspired staring. Today I looked up, in the search box, the topic Danish Modern. Below are some of the books and images that I came across. Hope you enjoy.

ARTS OF DENMARK VIKING TO MODERN (1960)

 


 

CONTEMPORARY DANISH ARCHITECTURE Monies 1958






VERNER PANTON BY VERNER PANTON Limited 1986


While these are just a few books that feature Danish design, there are a number more that have great interior design that incorporate Danish modern as well. So, stop by, look, and pick a book for the road. 

The Following links and apps. are affiliate apps. These links and apps help keep Amidst mod going. If you would like to know more about these links and how they work, please stop by the income page on amidstmod.com


24 June 2013

Mid-Century Danish Modern

Photo Source: midcenturymodernfurniturethenandnow.com
In my searches for great facebook groups to share my interests with, I've found the following: Mid Century Modern, Mid Century Modern Chicago, Modernists, Midcentury Items Buy Sell or Trade, Mid Century Modern Design, Friends of Atomic Ranch, Mid Mod Muse, Retro Shopping, Space Age Bachelor Pad Music, and West German Pottery just to name a few. What I didn't find, was a group that focused on Mid-Century Danish Modern Design.

I spent some time looking for a group like this due to a post that I have written recently; Functional Art: Mid-Century Modern Danish Lamps. When I didn't find what I was looking for, I decided to start my own group. You got it, Mid-Century Danish Modern. What might you find, or what might you add to this group? Well, any Danish pieces that are Mid-Century Modern or pieces that fit the Mid-Century Modern Danish styling, including ones designed and made today. Lets talk about a few examples.

My recent post on Danish Mid-Century Modern Lamps: Functional Art: Mid-Century Modern Danish Lamps shows some good examples of lamps that are clearly Mid-Century Danish Modern. However, there are many pieces that are made today that follow that same train of thought, and design style. Sofas, beds, end/coffee tables, dressers, and lamps are all being crafted that scream Mid-Century Danish inspiration. Some of these pieces are from actual Danish designers. Some are not. Still, what really matters, is if the design fits. Not the age or origin.

Below, I'm going to show a few pieces that are original Mid-Century Danish modern pieces. Take a good look, and really study these pieces. With each piece, I'm going to add my own personal design observations and what draws me to each piece.

Photo Source: www.antiquehelper.com
Here we have a beautiful example of Mid-Century Danish Modern Sofa Design. For me the first thing that catches my eye is the balance between sharp corners and soft rounded curves. I love the sweeping curve on the lower right and left corners, the back, and on the top of the side cushions. If left to themselves, these soft curves could overpower the look of this couch. However, the addition of the very thin lower structural line and the sharp corners create a strong and checked balance. Such a long sweeping curve on the back of the couch and the long radius soft curves on the lower corners with the super flat cushions have the potential of creating a monolithic shape for this sofa. However, in typical Danish design precision, this sofa has a wonderfully light and almost floating appearance due to the well designed, thin legs. By using such simple, but shaped legs, this piece now lives in the room. Floating instead of weighing the room down. Using the teal also helps with the visual weight so as not to create an overbearing appearance.

Photo Source: Revitalized Artistry on Etsy.com
Revitalized Artistry has taken the effort to restore this piece so that we can enjoy it in it's almost brand new glory. How happy, and thankful we are to them for their incredible, and hard work.

This piece always catches my eye because of the great visual balance that it achives. Having a bone white base, with contrasted drawers and legs gives it a nice look that sits solid, but not to heavy. Using the white on the center drawer backing also accentuates the dimension used on the geometrical drawer accents. Allowing us to see the piece in a true 3d form.

Using softly rounded drawer pulls on each side, tie in the center piece and legs nicely, while braking up the sharp edged rectangle that makes up the outside case. Even the slightly sculpted legs are great. Placement and color of the legs lend to a blending in into the shadows and floor, yet still providing enough design to not distract from the overall aesthetic if and when in viewing range.

Photo Source: braxtonandyancey.blogspot.com
This piece is a bit difficult for me to find, or define, what attracts more of my attention. However, if I have to choose, I'd say that the legs are, by far, my favorite aspect of this piece. While I'm sure they hold this piece quite securely. I love how they look so laid back, fragile and jetset. This table just flows so well together. In fine Danish modern style, the tabletop has a beautifully "sharp", but extremely fluid reversed beveled edge. Giving a false perception of it being ultra thin, while providing a very sturdy and rigid table top.  Then there's that floating table top that looks super futuristic. Creating a dimension that exists, but at the same time, almost doesn't. If the the dimensional top wasn't fantastic enough, they had to throw the traditionaly sculptured taper to the glass table supports, creating a sense of confusion. Making one wonder if this table should actually be used or not. Doubting if it's a piece of furniture or just a really nice sculpture in the shape of a table.

As you can see from the above, there is no shortage of pieces that fit into the Mid-Century Danish Modern group description for your choosing. If you have any information on pieces, or sites that give details on designers and technical aspects, share them too. Even though I made no mention of them earlier in this post, sculptures, accents, decor objects, architecture, and art are also all welcomed as well. So, please feel free to join the group,  or just simply stop by and see what's going on.





Functional Art: Mid-Century Modern Danish Lamps

Photo Source: www.1stopretroshop.com
From the very first moment that I looked at a Danish modern lamp, I was in awe. That's been some 15 years or so ago now. In fact, this incredible appeal hit me before I even knew what Mid-Century Modern was. At the time, I just knew what I liked, and what drew me. Over the years, I've seen an extensive display online of incredibly designed mid-century lamps. In fact almost all of my preferred lamps are Danish modern. So, I thought it might be good to look at why these lamps are so captivating to me and so many others.

Photo Source: www.rocketcentury.com
Texture
One of my favorite aspects of design, in any form, is the texture that is considered, developed, and then applied to each creative piece. Danish Modern lamps from the mid-century era have a large range of textures that are employed with elegance and grace. As with many lamps, the shades typically are textured. However, different from most other lamp styles, the shades themselves are primarily translucent. Not using a solid card or paper backing to reflect light up/down, and not trying to hide the light bulb completely. Allowing the light to pass, but not allowing for a clear affirmation of what lies inside creates a sense of dimension that can draw you in. Use of these textured materials in a screening capacity creates a high contrast effect on the textured materials use within the lamps design. Magnifying the already notable texture to an almost unreal proportion. By using meshes of different materials, loosely woven strongly textured fabrics, frosted glasses, fiberglass, or thinly molded ceramics, in the lamp design almost always helps give these textured lamps shades a very light visual aesthetic. Mixing a soft feel amongst the harder feeling materials such as woods and metals.

Uses of different woods, ceramics, metals, and glass, are another aspect of these lamps design that contribute to their textural appeal.

Photo Source: Fab.com
Visually Light
Danish Modern lamp shades are not the only aspect of the lamps that give them their light or airy visual look. Selection of the right kinds of materials also help in this effort to minimize their visual weight.

Wood, in it's varied options are probably the most evident of materials used in Danish Modern Lamps. Using hardwoods, such as the commonly thought of Teak, in the lamp construction is one way in which the lamps maintain there light and airy visual appeal. Such hardwoods allow for thin surfaces,  sharp angle changes, load bearing at irregular angles, long sweeping curves, and hardware fastening without any major compromise to the structural integrity.

Choosing wood also allowed for very fluid and soft lines in the design of the lamps. Creating points, edges, and curves that fold and fade into various angles helping to keep the light visual appearance that makes these lamps a truly sculptured piece of home accessories.

Metals of different styles are also commonly found in the construction of these lamps. Being used in various facets. Metals are found from the finest details, such as custom made dowels, screw nuts, lamp shade banding, and light bulb stands, thru decorative ornaments, and right down to the structural aspects, such as legs that plant the lamp firmly on the ground and their vertical supports.  Metal, needless to say, plays an integral part in the visual appearance of these inspiring lamps.

Use of metal is a very important aspect in the overall design of these lamps. Do to the use of metals in the various details and construction, these lamps can maintain strong but thin lines. Using metal also facilitates ease of color palette options, allowing for a more tailored and specific overall look.

Photo Source: liveauctioneers.com
String and wire are two more materials that allow these lamps to have a light, but sculptured appearance. While neither of these two materials are the norm, there are many examples of these beautiful lamps that have been designed with these materials as an integral part of the artistic pallet.

Wire and string are typically used to create a unique and custom shade, or to fill a spacial void for  balance, these materials also lend to the visual appeal of these lamps.

Color, while not being the most prominent aspect of the these wonder lamps design, also plays a very important part of the overall effect that these incredible lamps have on the space they occupy. Use of highly contrasted tones on carefully selected pieces allows for these lamps to convey looks of being firmly planted, floating effortlessly, or look as though they are in motion. While the lamp shades may include the heaviest portion of the lamp, a white translucent shade made of glass or ceramic may appear to be light and effortlessly held in space by the much darker and visually heavy wooden base. These visual effects are very precise and create a beautiful balance in the art.

Photo Source: www.1stdibs.com
When colors other than white or wood tones are chosen, they tend to be brighter and well contrasted. Most metals are coated with, or are of, specific metals types/colors that flow well visiually with the overall design. While sharp, strong toned metals, such as Stainless Steel or cold steel are used, Copper and Brass and Gold are generally preferred. Not only are these colors of these metals more subdued than standard cold steel or stainless, but they've always been more luxuries in look, and held in higher artistic value.

In the end though, I guess what makes me find these lamps truly great is that they are adequate for just about any setting or design style. Mid-Century Danish modern lamps offers styles, designs, and textures that will match everything from your velvet couch, to your brass Tiffany candelabras, right down to your favorite lounge, whether it be Eames or not. So, if you in the market for a new lamp, you might want to check out whats available in the Danish modern.

Just below, you will find 10 personally selected Danish modern lamps that I found on Ebay.com*.




The items in this Ebay.com* app are temporarily available. After these items have been sold or the bid time has ended. Ebay.com* will propagate search term listings. 

*Note: Ebay.com* is an affiliate of Amidst Mod. For more information on the affiliate programs that Amidsmod.com participates in, please see our income page.


Knoll @ 2Modern.com - Modern Furniture & Lighting