Design Details: Mid-Century Modern Design’s Movers and Shakers

Mid-Century (or Mid-20th century) modern design basically describes architectural, interior and products dating from 1933-1965. This significant movement in design was coined by Cara Greenberg in 1983 in her book titled “Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s”. As fans of Mid-Century modern design, we wanted to share with you some of the key players who helped shape a generation of architectural and design geniuses.

Leading the mid-century modern pack were designers George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom (see below). These style makers’ designs, which helped usher in the new modern era, are still trendy forty years later. 

Photo featuring left to right - George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom

Some of these designers, such as Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames, took part in one of the most influential movements happening on the West Coast, Art and Architectures’ Case Study Homes. The West Coast was in the midst of a revolution in residential design and the great Art and Architecture magazine and their case study homes were changing the course of architecture. One of our favorite Case Study Homes is the Stahl House (Case Study House #22) designed by Pierre Koenig. This modernist styled house is situated high up in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, California.

1960s Stahl House designed by Pierre Koening. Photos: Julius Schulman

Eero Saarinen, one of the masters of American 20th Century architecture, was a visionary in his own right. His collaboration with Knoll led to such iconic pieces as the “Tulip Chair”.

Eero Saarinen's Tulip Chair

For all you trekkies out there, this chair played a highly visible role on “Star Trek” in the 1960s, where they appeared on the bridge set of the “U.S.S. Enterprise”. Eero Saarinen also played a significant role in architecture with his design of the “Gateway to the West”- Gateway Arch in St. Louis and he also served on the jury for the Sydney Opera House commission. Saarinen played a crucial role in the selection of the internationally known design by Jørn Utzon.

Saarinen also collaborated with fellow mid-century designer extraordinaire Charles Eames (who Saarinen named his son after) on a Case Study House, #9 to be exact.

Case Study #9, Entenza House, Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen

Eames, also a renowned furniture designer along with his wife Ray Eames, released their Eames Lounge and Ottoman in 1956 for the Herman Miller Furniture Company.

Eames Lounge and Ottoman

Stay tuned for more on our favorite Mid-Century Designs.

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