Furniture Design: The Originators

As I sit on my IKEA chair I'm reminded of an exhibit I visited in NYC last weekend, The Future at Home: American Furniture, 1940-1955, at the Museum of the City of New York. I expected to see some great mid-century modern pieces, and that I did, but I didnt expect to learn exactly how modern this stuff really was.

We talk about pre-fab designs today as if they are something revolutionary and about how modern and affordable IKEA is. Yet the featured designers were creating furniture that really was forward and fresh thinking. Furniture and fashion designs do not follow the same credit today: styles are hardly ever new and original, rather they are recycled silhouettes, textures, and color pallets based on what was once new and original.

Now, I'm okay with that since there were some beautiful things that came out of the twentieth century. What shocked me was that the high-priced and coveted mid-century furniture we find today, were originally designed and produced with an IKEA type philosophy: simple, flexible, cost-effective, and good design for all.

The photo below is of a TIMES article on a DIY living room set that I would love to find today.

I wonder if 60 years from now my plastic Oleby chair will sell for $2,000 at a vintage store....