You finally found it – the perfect mid-century modern Upper East Side loft that would make Don Draper weep into his whiskey. The natural light is pouring in through the floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Park, the hardwood floors are gleaming and the vast expanse of white walls are just begging for a de Kooning. You can’t wait to have guests over to christen the wet bar but first – furniture. How do you create a livable, comfortable space that enhances the clean lines of your digs rather than overwhelm or inhibit the design? Luckily, the mid century modern aesthetic celebrates comfort, simple luxury and high quality. These are basics are anything but.
The couch is arguably the most important and most used piece in any mid century modern apartment. It is an investment that gets incredible cost-per-use and needs to be comfortable, durable and subtly stylish. The white Le Corbusier Sofa bed fits all three criteria and with a pleasingly reasonable price tag to boot. The genuine Italian leather is a soft and supple dream and the stainless steel finishes perfectly offset the bright white fabric. The added bonus is, of course, the ability to make the sofa into a bed and with space at a premium in New York City, multi-purpose pieces are not only welcome, but essential. A small (but mighty) detail of the couch is how well designed the back of it is (it may even be cooler than the front!). The careful, complete consideration of the functionality and aesthetics of a piece of furniture is a hallmark of mid century modern design. To shove the couch against a wall would be a cardinal sin of mid century modern design principles. No, the furniture must float just so in a space to make its presence known without being shouty.
If the couch is the grounding wire of the living room, then the Eames chair is the firecracker. And when I say Eames chair, I mean Eames Chair reproduction (unless you’re Jay-Z, I guess). The Eames is the sexiest girl at the bar because she looks self-assured and genuine, not fussy and try-hard. The Eames chair reproduction is all rounded, aerodynamic lines and luxurious, supple leather. Designed in the 1950’s by Charles and Ray Eames to mimic the look and feel of a “well used first baseman’s mitt,” the chair has come to embody the fundamental design principles of the era. Juxtaposing a black leather/Palisander wood Eames chair with the white Le Corbusier couch in the living room would be an elegant, striking pairing sure to make even the most jaded New Yorker swoon.
And so, when you’re sitting in your Eames chair replica, about to dig in to some Kurt Vonnegut, you’ll need light to read by, of course. And where floor lamps are concerned, there’s only one option. The Arco lamp reproduction. What a scene-stealer. The Arco lamp replica is yet another example of the mid century modern designer elevating both form and function to top billing when creating furniture. The Acro lamp is an immediately recognizable mid century modern staple and is on the wish list of every design junkie in New York. The Carrara Italian marble base gives the Arco lamp replica an extra boost of luxury, understated and sexy. The lamp’s dramatic arch is a dynamic, graceful slash through the air – it becomes a piece of art the way a Calder mobile would.
To complete the living room set up, you’ll need only a pair of Barcelona chair reproductions directly opposite the couch and a Tribeca coffee table between. The Barcelona chair embodies the famous “less is more” maxim with its clean lines and low profile, making it an ideal seating solution for a mid century modern living room. With its tufted leather and sleek, slightly curved stainless steel base, the Barcelona chair replica is aerodynamic and understated. The L-shaped design of the Barcelona chair replica mirror the couches own and creates an inviting and aesthetically pleasing space. The coffee tables glass top adds another layer of texture and material, creating depth of space.
The tulip table with four Saturn dining chairs is a cheery, playful solution to a mid century modern apartment dining needs. The design of the table and chairs is at once both retro and futuristic (you could see the set in the Brady Bunch home or on the Jetsons). These pieces are of classic design, blending easily into the mid century modern home. Plus, while a dining room table is functional and necessary, the set demands little space, making it an obvious choice for a NYC apartment. Finish off the dining area with an Artichoke Chandelier (designed by Poul Henningsen in 1958) to create a truly inspiring mid century modern vignette.
For the bedroom, the Oliver side table is a classic mid century modern piece for a bedside table. Add a Spotlight table lamp to create an industrial-but-warm look to complement a low profile bed frame decked out in crisp white linens (with maybe a geometrically mod throw pillow or two). A punchy orange Saarinen Womb Lounge Chair and Ottoman is an obvious addition to the bedroom – the name says it all! Comfort and serenity is paramount in a bedroom and the Womb Lounge Chair is a perfectly luxurious way to achieve both.
Clutter is a mid century modern no-no, so foyer and hallway storage solutions are a must. The Vive Console table solves the problem of errant gloves, scarves, bags and keys while still upholding the basic principles of the classic mid century modern apartment (which is especially helpful if it’s the first piece of furniture you see when you walk into a home, setting a tone for the rest of the space).
The mid century modern design lover endeavors to design an apartment where every piece of furniture, every painting and every detail is beautiful, meaningful and necessary. That’s not to say a mid century modern home lacks personality or warmth. No, the mid century design aesthetic is joyful and sincere. There’s no place for irony or indifference and there’s no such thing as form over function. The vibe is relaxed and easy. With classic pieces like the Le Corbusier couch, the Eames chair replica, the Arco light reproduction, the Tulip table and the Saarinen Womb Lounge chair filling our your floor plan, your apartment is just that: relaxed and easy. In other words – cool. Now, water the fiddle leaf fig by the window and open that bottle of scotch. It’s time to enjoy your newly appointed pad.