Mid-Century Furniture Design Reimagined to New-Century Modern: 7 Guiding Principles For Today’s Living

It seems the word “reimagined” has found its way into the vocabulary of nearly every industry, process or outcome these days. It appears it might even be driving an entire cultural transformation. With certainty, it headlines the work of an array of designers who devote themselves to the creation of beauty and function in the world around us.

Perhaps it’s greatest presence is in the artistic realm of the reimagination of mid-century modern design.  Whether it’s an architectural makeover of a classic mid-century Palm Springs home, the complete transformation of an interior space, or the reinterpretation of mid-century furniture design, this loaded word dangles perpetually in the forefront of the conversation.

 

Bob Hope’s home Palm Springs

Bob Hope’s home Palm Springs

But what does it really mean? Look it up in the dictionary and you’ll see “reinterpret imaginatively, rethink”. That’s a start. But we were looking for a little more. In fact, we were so curious about this weighty word we use to describe our craft everyday, that we wanted to further understand what it means in the context of our own design world: reimagining luxury mid-century modern into new-century modern furniture design.  Looking back at what spurred the original mid-century design movement, we gave some thought as to how the original imaginations influence how we reimagine it today.

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“Trousdale Estates” by Steven M. Price, Lopez Residence

 

Mid-Century Furniture Design Reimagined

We came up with 7 principles that guide our “reimagination” of mid-century modern furniture design:

  1. Creativity is the driving force. It was creative thinking and vision that originally spawned the mid-century modernism movement. This creative vision brought forth the new aesthetic and idea that form should follow function. It was creativity that triggered the shift to clean lines, functionality and simple forms.  And so, we believe, it should continue. At the top of our list, as Jeff Vioski, founder and designer of VIOSKI furniture, so aptly stated “reimagination means the continuation of creativity”.
The VIOSKI Tuulla Chair is inspired by the creative reimagination of tufts. The chair looks as if it is made entirely of tufts. One element creates the whole chair.

The VIOSKI Tuulla Chair is inspired by the creative reimagination of tufts. The chair looks as if it is made entirely of tufts. One element creates the whole chair.

 

2. Design for living. Back in the 1950’s and early 60’s, the idea of designing for living was new. It was what shaped the widespread revolution in furniture design. Forms became lean and modern. Sleek in style, yet completely functional. Functional enough to fulfill the practical needs of ordinary people. It brought simplicity and a new kind of enjoyment. But, as we all know, life back then was much more formal. That was the era of mom’s reminding their children to “keep your feet off the furniture”. Yes, feet belonged on the floor.

Fortunately, life’s a lot more casual today. People have changed the way they live and work. Climbing into a chair or sofa (feet included) is not only normal, but completely acceptable. Supporting the way people live and use their furniture today is really the reason for our business. It’s why we’re constantly reimagining for today’s sensibilities.

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3. Comfort is a must. The number one sensibility for today’s lifestyle is comfort. After all, who wants furniture that’s not supremely comfortable? We consider every sitting position possible. Sitting up. Lounging. Slouching. Napping. You name it.  Despite ours being a luxury collection, each piece is completely accessible. We design in extra depth.  We customize high density foam in each piece to max out comfort. It’s like we’re reimagining comfort for today’s most discerning “couch potatoes”.

 

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Star home by Kenneth Brown Designs in the Hollywood Hills, CA, Vioski Chicago I Sofa and Lounge

4. Necessity first. Simplicity rules. When we start a design, we strip away anything that isn’t necessary. What’s left is simple structure, and form. Only then do we begin to apply creativity to reimagine elements to add back into the design. Any design detail must be there for a reason. There’s nothing extra. No over the top ornamentation. Just like the mid-century design originators, we think reimaginations should be characterized by clean simplicity.

The buttons on the VIOSKI Chicago I Sofa back cushions are really there to hold the fabric so it won’t bunch on the curves. These buttons were a necessity first, but then they become a decorative design detail.

The buttons on the VIOSKI Chicago I Sofa back cushions are really there to hold the fabric so it won’t bunch on the curves. These buttons were a necessity first, but then they become a decorative design detail.

 

5 . Clean lines. We believe furniture should be calm, subdued. It should not scream at you, or assault your senses. The last thing we want is for someone to walk into a room and see nothing but a single piece of furniture. The great mid-century designers, through structure and materials, were enabled to achieve extraordinary visual harmony with autonomous furniture pieces. We’re very inspired by this idea and believe it should be the carried forward in any reimagination. Each element should have clean lines. They should balance, and not dominate.

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6. Spatial design. The mid-century modern design movement was responsible for bringing spatial design to an entirely new level. In its architectural form, it produced a construct where space from the interior and exterior worlds intertwined. It brought the outdoors indoors. It introduced a new way of seeing space. Many of the original mid-century designers viewed each piece of furniture as an element that supports an architectural space.

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Today, the concept of space is evolving once again. Enter our love for wide open floor plans, where a single room functions as a kitchen, dining room and living room. Often extending into the outdoors.  Like the original designers, envisioning how each piece of furniture will support surrounding interior is increasingly important in all that open space. All sides of each piece should also be considered, so it looks beautiful from any angle.

 

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The VIOSKI Shea Sectional features three distinct seats. The aesthetic and function have been considered from all perspectives. The back looks like the front. All seamlessly blends together.

 

7. Timelessness The era of modernism brought us good design. The balance between aesthetics and utility gave way to functional beauty that is still relevant today. Many of these pieces were truly timeless, as we think all good furniture should be.

Yet the world is dominated by poor quality mass produced product. That’s not for us. Quite the opposite. Fortunately, we’re not the only ones who believe in quality, original creations, and old world artisan handcraftsmanship. (Hats off to all designers who have great taste.)  We love real wood. Natural materials. We think materials should withstand the test of time. Combine old world quality with modern functional beauty, and this is what timelessness reimagined means to us.

If you find yourself or those around you using the word “reimagined”, let us know what it means to you.  VIOSKI Blog

Learn more about our new-century modern luxury VIOSKI furniture collection.

VIOSKI is an experience of artistic expression brought to life in timeless furniture design.  Unique in style, charismatic and sensual. Each piece is masterfully created to be simple yet complex. Proportional yet fluid. It’s handcrafted in California by master artisans who devote themselves to extraordinary quality. VIOSKI IS NEW-CENTURY MODERN.

 

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