Diana Ribarevski, Head of Design Services NSW at Uocmas, speaks of her passion for Mid-century design, and shares how we can incorporate it into our own homes.
Diana: Mid-century is one of my favourite styles of all time. One of the main reasons I admire this style is because of its simple and timeless appeal.
The forms that you see in both mid-century architecture and furniture styles are uncomplicated and pared back, yet very functional. The materials that are used are very close to nature which not only exude warmth, but also add texture in many cases. It’s a style that is iconic and ageless.
You will recognise a mid-century piece of furniture the second you lay your eyes on it, and it’s usually because of two factors – its design or form, and the materials that it’s made of. Mid-century modern furnishings have been stripped down to their essential forms. There is no detailing or embellishments, or any unnecessary elements. And that is why they are considered timeless.
Mid-century style interiors would not be mid-century if they did not include colour! Seeing as though this style of architecture and furniture is considered to be minimal and clean, this leaves plenty of opportunity for pops of colour.
Not only are a vast range of colours used in this style, but also different tones of colour, from neutral to bold. Black and white are also prominent in graphic uses. But even though mid-century almost always involves an injection of colour, it’s never over the top, and often used only in small bursts.
Currently, I’m loving this earthy, retro colour palette for some mid-century inspired colour injection into modern interior living.
The post war period led to a great exploration of new materials, and the mid-century language often consists of a mix of natural materials and manmade ones, coupled with technical innovation. Plastic moulded furniture and metal, glass and resin, concrete and fibreglass, plywood and timber, vinyl and brass; almost every material that remains popular in architecture and furniture today was used in the mid-century period. This further emphasises why the mid-century style sits beautifully within modern style interior spaces.
The best way to achieve a mid-century look today is to use natural materials in the home. Materials like timber, natural stones and bricks will not only add warmth and texture in the home, but will also provide a connection to nature and provide a timeless aesthetic.
Timber is commonly used as the flooring material in modern homes today, but it can also be used as wall or ceiling panelling, as well as for door and window frames.
Natural stones are an alternative popular choice for flooring these days, however it can be used in so many other ways such as on fireplace surrounds, as kitchen benchtops and splashbacks, as feature walls throughout the home, or commonly as the material that the bathroom vanity and walls are lined in.
Bricks are wonderful because they add to the pared-back nature of mid-century style where the brick used externally for the structural component of the home can transition internally as the finished wall.
Glass and lots of floor to ceiling windows and doors add to the mid-century form and allow the connection of interiors and nature.
If you are one of the lucky ones that can afford to own a substantial mid-century piece of furniture, you will be able to successfully place it within any modern or traditional interior setting and have it work successfully with your other pieces.
By substantial pieces I mean chairs like the Saarinen Womb Chair, Arne Jacobson Egg Chair, or any of Grant Featherston’s chairs. The chairs are beautiful and timeless and work really well as vintage features in contemporary settings.
I love all mid-century pieces and I have so many picks of my own, however my all-time favourite dining table has to be the Saarinen Tulip Table. I was lucky enough to own one of my own and I teamed it with some lovely Bertoia wire chairs with a bright red padded seat!