The 1950s design aesthetic is casually referred to as mid-century modern. While that is a very correct definition it's also a little limited. Most of the objects that made it into our homes in the '50s were inspired largely by events from the '40s. The post WWII mass production revolution, blending of European and American design ideologies, the philosophy of function and a good 'ole fashioned dose of optimism and Americanism .influenced more than most people know.
Did you know that the iconic Eames chair was actually designed to feel as comfortable as a used catcher's mitt?
Or that '50s appliances were either largely inspired by, or directly created by, automotive industrial designers?
Hello? American Baseball. American Automobiles. If they only could've designed our aprons from apple pie. Oh wait...
Another thing that is very American…Bourbon. And you can’t discount the resurrection of this very American beverage and the role that the series Mad Men had on it. Whiskey glasses like these DOFs (double old-fashioned will explain in another post) are must-haves in any respectable home bar. It’s also a nice little twist to use these as chocolate bourbon ball servers.
Point is. The '50s were inspired by the '40s and bled into the '60s. It kinda depended on where you lived and how quickly your community imported culture. The '50s, which spanned three decades as we remember it, shared several similar aesthetic personalities through the years. We explored mixed materials with natural wood and metal. We experimented with Scandinavian pastels in both our fabrics and our appliances.
Wallpaper just wouldn't go away. And still won't. And most of our visual world was largely geometric and rectilinear until the Eames started molding plywood and plastic to our bums.
The 1950s, or mid-century modern style can be incorporated into a home today pretty seamlessly. Some people refer to the style as timeless. Not true. Timeless means that you can look at an object and not know what period it came from. Maybe it fits in with everything else. Well you can clearly spot a mid-century piece when you enter a room. And it stands out.
Because it's supposed to. But that's perfectly fine. You don't need to redesign your home to introduce accent pieces for a little "oh that's cool" next time someone comes over. We have engineered our way into a pretty neutral aesthetic nowadays. The world is interested in a little more interesting. Just might not want to wallpaper all your ceilings or clad your entire kitchen in metal diner chrome.