Ennis Fine Furniture

Mid-Century Modern Makes a Comeback

The mid-century modern look is more popular than ever. You see the sleek furniture lines everywhere–from television’s ‘Mad Men’ series to Elle Décor Magazine. On ‘The Daily Show’, you will see the guests sitting on classic Knoll office chairs. If you go to a contemporary restaurant, there’s a high likelihood you’ll sit on a chair designed in the 50’s, be it Bertoia, Cherner, Eames, or Saarinen.

Mid-century modern is a complex term to define. It describes furniture, architecture, and graphic designs from the mid-twentieth century. It was an era alive with everything from the industrial revolution to the world war. It was a time of great departure from the classic European style of furniture design mostly pioneered in the 1950’s. The design has remained popular since its inception and has gained more followers in the last ten years perhaps because it speaks to an entire generation. Manufacturers and retailers embrace its polished look. The pieces are exclusively designed and have a timeless look. Millennials, whose parents grew up with these designs, are part of the market for both the original pieces and the reproductions. For today’s generation, the designs are a direct connection to the past that still feels fresh and modern. Mid-century tends to integrate especially well with today’s less complicated aesthetic and the current trend of urban living.

Some iconic designs like the Eames Lounge Chair never went out of production, but many other designs fell out of popularity in the 90’s and were no longer available. Things began to change when Knoll, a chief manufacturer of mid-century designs, opened a SoHo showroom where pieces were sold to designers and architects only. His direct to consumer strategy was to increase the customer base to compensate for the lost office business. He did away with special prices for designers and architects, which was 40% less. Instead, the company offered lower prices to all clients. Knoll noticed a huge improvement in his business. This prompted him to convert the showrooms into more visible customer-oriented sales hubs. With time, more pieces that were only sold to designer and architectures became available to the average clients.

Herman Miller, a furniture manufacturer, was synonymous with the iconic design when it was first introduced. Under the supervision of George Nelson, Herman Miller was among the first businesses to deal almost entirely in office furniture. The firm did not produce residential furniture for 30 years. Herman Miller noticed the trend of people creating home offices and recognized the opportunity to return to the retail market. The firm decided to release some pieces from their archives and offer them directly to the clients. The new pieces had the original designs and are stamped with a medallion to differentiate them from the vintage pieces. However, they’ve been updated to use modern fabric and material technology. To battle a market being flooded by poor quality knock-offs Herman Miller brought the classic designs back in production to protect the company’s reputation and satisfy consumer demand for better quality.

You can find updated and classically styled mid-century pieces in many of the lines carried by Ennis Fine Furniture. A great example is the Stickley “Elroy” chair pictured above. It has the spare lines and space-age sensibility of the 50’s era. But it takes a giant leap into the modern consumer era — allowing you to choose from an entire library of fabrics to suit your taste. Additionally, Ennis offers artwork, accessories, lamps, rugs and more to complete your mid-century style. Whether you want just a few pieces to harken back to that golden era — or you’re remodeling your entire space — the designers at Ennis will work to find the options just for you.

Get started today by browsing the choices of the vast Ennis Fine Furniture collections on-line. www.ennisfurniture.com

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