During its peak in the 1950s, the midcentury modern movement swept through the United States, fundamentally changing the landscape of the design world forever. With an emphasis on simplicity, functionality, and integration with the natural world, this iconic style brought modernization into the homes of everyday, average Americans. However, by the late ‘60s, the clean lines and simple designs of midcentury modern had fallen out of vogue, replaced by more whimsical, futuristic forms. And yet, here we are in 2018, in the midst of a great resurgence in midcentury modern’s popularity that shows no signs of stopping. What brought it back, and why do we love it so much?
We have primarily nostalgia to thank for the renewed interest in midcentury modern that arose in the 1980s. At the time, ‘50s nostalgia was strong, and when Cara Greenberg published Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s, she tapped into that feeling. The book sold over 100,000 copies. By the 1990s, vintage midcentury furniture was highly sought after by collectors and other enthusiasts. Many designs had gone out of production, and original pieces often sold for unprecedented prices—one such item, a George Nelson Marshmallow sofa, was purchased for a staggering $66,000.
Since then, midcentury modern furniture and homes have remained in high demand. Furniture manufacturers Herman Miller and Knoll restarted production of many of their most famous midcentury modern pieces, making them available to consumers once again. Original vintage editions, however, still fetch incredibly large sums at auctions and online marketplaces like 1stdibs and eBay. Recently in Boulder, Colorado, a 1958 home designed by acclaimed architect Tician Papachristou sold for over $1.7 million. The sellers received eight offers—six cash—from eager midcentury modern enthusiasts, and sold the house for $200,000 more than their asking price.
Today, television shows like Mad Men keep our love affair with midcentury modern alive, but this love isn’t merely the effect of a pop culture phenomenon. Midcentury modern design holds a special place in our hearts because it’s simple, elegant, and timeless. Classic pieces of furniture like the beloved Saarinen Womb Chair effortlessly combine form and function in a way that will seemingly never go out of style. Furthermore, midcentury modern’s streamlined pieces look great in all kinds of homes, from urban apartments to mountain mansions.
Midcentury modern’s enduring style unites past, present, and future. Since its revival in the 1980s, its popularity has only grown. Its influence can be seen everywhere in contemporary design elements, with clean, sleek lines, minimal accents, and the blending of indoor and outdoor spaces. IKEA’s entire concept relies heavily on midcentury modern’s design principles. Back in full force, midcentury modern is here to stay, and we couldn’t be more delighted.
Jennifer is a Realtor at Porch light Real Estate Group and specializes in Luxury neighborhoods, home builders and current market conditions. Visit jenniferegbert.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303.619.3373.