Mid-century is an architectural, interior, product and graphic design style that describes mid-20th century developments in modern design from 1933-1965. This movement in the U.S. is an blend of the International and Bauhaus styles. Scandanavian architects and furniture designers were very influential at this time. The architectural style emphasized open floor plans and ample windows, with the intent of opening up interior spaces and bringing the outdoors inside. Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, R.M. Schindler, Eero Saarinen and John Lautner were prominent architects of the era who changed the look of modern architecture. Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California feature many great examples of mid-century architecture by Schindler, Neutra and Lautner. The houses were often long, low-slung structures, usually one story, with floor-to-ceiling windows and open floor plans.
In terms of furniture design, the American husband and wife team of Ray and Charles Eames are perhaps the most famous. They are well-known for the Eames lounge chair and molded fiberglass lounge chairs. The pair worked in every imaginable medium - architecture, furniture, industrial design, graphic design, film and art. Some of their iconic chairs are seen below.
There are too many great furniture designers to mention in this short blog. Many architects, including Le Corbusier and Saarinen, also designed iconic furniture. Below, I have created images of mid-century furniture that one could place in a home to re-create the look of this timeless design style.
Lautner's style developed into a more organic style than many of his peers because he was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright (see pic below) and heavily influenced by Wright's work. Lautner's houses are often referred to as "organic architecture." Throughout his life, he admired his mentor and referred to him as "Mr. Wright."