Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Preorder Mid-Century Modern design gift set while you can

Midcentury modern as a design style is way past the likes of trendy and far and away an interior design mainstay that mixes with many different periods. No surprise then that iconic midcentury designs have been reproduced in a collectible and affordable three-volume set (each sold separately) by a UK publisher and design studio. 

The set, Mid-Century Modern, from Thames & Hudson, pays homage to a classic tome—Dominic Bradbury’s Mid-Century Modern Complete (also available below) but reproduced as a coffee-table friendly selection of fun illustrations, conversation-starters and frameables. 

The books will be available in the US mid-May, but you can preorder now using the Amazon Affiliate links at the end of this post.

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s outside and in…


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Left to right, the volumes include:

  • a slipcased set of four notebooks
  • a book-styled box of 100 postcards
  • another slipcased volume of four unique reference books



A wonder to unfold


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All four reference books are done in concertina style and showcase 20th century design icons by the likes of Charles and Ray Eames, Eileen Gray, and Dieter Rams, to name a few. Subtitles include:
  • “Tables & Storage” 
  • “Product & Industrial Design” 
  • “Lighting”
  • “Chairs”
Together they traverse the modern era internationally, from Louis Poulsen’s 1958 “Artichoke” lamp to Gio Ponti's 1950 “Leggera” chair. Frances Amber, guest editor at MidCentury Magazine, wrote the accompanying text for each illustration throughout.

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Though many of the illustrations are black and white or monotone, furniture and homewares are rendered in straightforward outlines, recognizable at once to the design savvy as well as to babyboomers who cut their teeth figuratively (and sometimes literally) on these very designs. Examples shown here are enough to whet any mid-mod appetite!

Above is “ESU” by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller, 1952, and the familiar form of the “Polyprop” chair by Robin Day for S Hille & Co., 1963. Below is the “Dalu” table light by Vico Magistretti for Artemide, 1965. The latter reminds me of the collapsible hairdryers of that era that every woman wanted to own; I was still using one of them in high school, just before the lightweight handheld blow-dryer made it big!

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Post-its with the mostest


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The matching postcards are just as modern, often sporting more detailed renderings of designs from the concertina books. Who wouldn’t want to send and/or receive, for instance, the polka dot print from the 1956 “Marshmallow” sofa by George Nelson for Herman Miller, or a repeated image of that 1958 classic, “The Swan,” by Arne Jacobsen? 

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Even so, best hang on to each and every one, because this set is going to become a collector’s item faster than you can say “tulip table.”


Take note


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The notebook set itself is a key example of how the colors of the era inspired Here Design Studio. But the entire set makes ample use of mustard yellows, turquoises, bold reds and salmon pinks we've come to love.

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As a writer, I’m always captivated by a new notebook and its clean, smooth, virginal pages. But alas, I'm also perenially faithless. My desk drawers and office shelves are full of notebooks I’ve sullied then tossed aside for the next “pretty face.” 

These notebooks? I'll mar nary a page. Perhaps I can simply store ephemera between their pristine pages? It will be difficult for me to control myself, I fear, collectible or not.


The ultimate styling accessory


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This handsome set will look smart on any coffee table, bookshelf or desk combined with the likes of a “boom” sculpture, a brightly colored rotary-dial phone, a blown-glass bowl or vase, or your own signature tchotchkes. 

Starting along about June or July we should see this beauty populate the tables and shelves of homes featured in our favorite design magazines, but by then it may be too late to get your own copies. Midcentury modern design is certainly here to stay, but it's likely this collectible set has a limited run, so preorder yours now and follow my blog with Bloglovin.


To preorder all 3 volumes + the classic tome the set is based on:


           


More midcentury modern fun...


While you're at it, start a miniature midcentury collection


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