By Karen Parr-Moody
Furniture in the mid-century modern style possesses an intriguing blend of clean lines, space-age feel and organic shapes. This architectural, interior and product design that spanned from the 1940s to the 1960s was born of various influences. These included the sleekness of Danish design, the carefree lifestyle of the Baby Boomers and the space-age magic of the Apollo program. Mid-century modern remains incredibly popular, as any GasLamp dealer will tell you. Nashvillians love it.
From Vintage Vortex at GasLamp Too, you can see comfort blended with style in this vintage high-back armchair by Broyhill Furniture ($99; Booth T-363). This near-mint chair is upholstered in a velvet velour fabric that exemplifies the mid-century modern period. To top it off, it’s tailored with button tufting, which gives it an extra sprinkling of glamour. Bonus: We love that there were no shortcuts on comfort with this chair.
At GasLamp Too, there are two Broyhill Furniture end tables, circa 1965, that epitomize the period ($199 each; Booth T-357). From the Brasilia collection, the walnut tables were inspired by Brasília, the capital of Brazil that was founded in the modern era (1960 to be precise). Oscar Niemeyer, the architect of many public buildings in Brasília, created a modern look for the city and inspired sculpted arch bases in tables such as these two. Broyhill Furniture, located in Lenoir, North Carolina, was a key producer of mid-century furniture such as the Brasilia line, which features the exaggerated curves so illustrative of the era. The solid wood construction of walnut makes these end tables completely functional, which is just one more compliment to their incredible design.
This 1960s floor lamp screams mid-century modern ($425; Booth T-357). It is a unique piece that was popular in the 1960s due to the unusual formation of the globes: They are made of spun acrylic Lucite shaped liked overlapping folds of ribbon. Some people call these “spaghetti lamps” or “candy ribbon lamps.” This one is made of walnut and features three globes in a tulip shape (see the leaves?) with brass accents. This large lamp is imbued with atomic age charm while simultaneously possessing a natural look. We love the versatility of its three-way wiring, too.
This high-back armchair is another find from Vintage Vortex at GasLamp Too ($325; Booth T-363). A 1970s piece from Broyhill Furniture, it is upholstered in an unusual fabric printed with hexagon shapes in tones of moss green and aqua (two colors that were frequently joined during the mid-century era). During the 1970s, there was a philosophy that went like this: The more colorful, the better. Such prints were common. We like this one, however, because it is more muted than is typical of the era; it will easily blend into a variety of décor schemes.
There is a mood surrounding mid-century modern design that is born of the new optimism after WWII. It’s kind of sexy and rebellious, unlike anything that came before it. Despite no longer being technically “modern,” it looks as fresh as ever.