The UK’s affinity for Mid-century design | Midcentury Magazine
Houzz put it nicely when they ask ‘What is it about mid-century modern design that has so many of us in a decorating tizzy? In this digital age of innovation and technology, why are we scouring flea markets, antique stores and the Internet in search of pieces that were designed 50-60 years ago? It goes on to conclude that ‘tough times produce innovative designs out of necessity’.
As the article discusses, the 1950s left many financially and emotionally depleted, designs had to be simple to be produced, and are timeless as a result of it. Now we’re all looking for that fuss-free optimistic aesthetic in our homes again… so it’s handy that Midcentury Magazine is on the scene to help us explore it!
An independent UK-based biannual, Midcentury Magazine celebrates the best of 20th Century interiors, furniture and architecture, featuring the likes of G-Plan, Orla Kiely, Lucienne Day, Mary Medd and Sheila Bownas.
Editor Tabitha Teuma often found herself bemoaning the omission of a publication on the topic in the UK and, finding herself renovating a 1960s London apartment, the next step became obvious – Issue 1 went out in 2011. The ‘magazines’ themselves are actually beautifully bound chunky publications, ones to collect that definitely earn their place on the design shelf!
Thousands of followers on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook later, a community of like-minded aesthetically driven creatives and admirers contribute to the Mid-century scene.
Tabitha, why do you feel the UK has such a strong affinity for mid-century design?
I think there is a strong affinity for mid-century design in the UK for a few reasons. Firstly, our manufacturing heritage brought brands like Ercol, G-Plan, Hille, Stag, Race, Archie Shine and Merrow Associates into the mainstream. Mass-produced furniture was once a thriving British industry – the post-war period saw extraordinarily rapid social and cultural change in the UK; this is perhaps epitomised by innovation in materials and techniques used for furniture making.
And this brings me to the second reason: mid-century furniture helps to evoke a sense of nostalgia for the past, while sitting comfortably in the present. Enough time has passed for many to look at these designs with renewed appreciation – we are collecting the pieces that our grandparents would have treasured.
In these times of economic uncertainty, there is some comfort to be gained from what we know and from introducing a slice of the (not-too-distant) past into our homes. And lastly, London is the fashion capital of the world, and its design community isn’t far behind in its international status. As a nation, we are attracted to the quirky and the unusual and I believe that this is borne out in our love of mid-century design today.
You’ve got a great Source Directory on your website and it’s exciting to hear about modern artists inspired by the 50’s & 60’s too. What should we look out for when buying this Christmas?
Well, this December Midcentury Magazine wanted to give back to its readership by creating its own special advent calendar. Each day, we’ll be offering readers and online followers the chance to purchase some carefully selected Christmas gifts at discounted prices. Essentially there will be a different product each day at a discounted rate in the 24 days leading up to Christmas. Limited brand products will be available for a 24-hour period only so it’s definitely first dibs!
What can we expect to find in this advent treasure trove?
We can’t give too much away, but we can tell you that there’s a mix of mid-century classics from the likes of Stelton and Rosendahl and pieces by our favourite independent makers whose work is inspired by the 1950s and ’60s, many of whom have featured in the magazine in the past. Everything has been individually cherry-picked and there are some really great brands involved offering exclusive rates for Midcentury Magazine followers.
After all, who doesn’t need a bit of extra help in the lead up to Christmas?
To buy back issues or the magazine visit the online shop