Mid-Century Modern Style Gifts
Modern and Mid-Century Style
Modernism is more than a "look" and those who love it have more than a taste for a style... it's an attitude and a way of life.
The best Modern design has functionality with a clean simplicity of form and line that never goes out of style - and modern design often has wit, humor, and playful color that makes it a lot of fun to live with!
This Lens has a few suggestions for gifts that these discriminating folk (you?) may enjoy. A treasury of modern, er, Modern! objects and household goods designed from a mid-century modern point of view.
Take a style journey!
(On the wacky side of mid-century style, try Mid-Century Menu
A fun site full of recipes with waaaay too much gelatin in them!)
In the early 20th century, California became a sort of Futureworld - home state for all things Cool and Modern. The rest of the world dreamed of classy, casual, modern living... with oranges and sunshine...
(The fact that architects/designers Charles and Ray Eames lived here helped put California on the map.)
A fascinating and well illustrated blog post at retrorenovation.com about a museum exhibit on California Modernism as a way of life.
A wonderful site about one particular California house built by developer/builder Joseph Eichler with great images, a floor plan, and further information on Eichler and the house's architect A. Quincey Jones.
A useful research page on the style.
The husband and wife team of Charles and Ray Eames designed EVERYTHING. Their home was the epicenter of the style and life-style we now call Mid-Century Modern. But they were just the most famous of the period's many designers..
A good book on Charles and Ray Eames - love the pictures of their influential house!
Chair as drawing as art.
Mid-Century Modern Explained
A brief explanation of the rise of Mid-Century Modern in America, with reference the Charles and Ray Eames among other designers. Worth watching!
Perfect for on that Saarinen table.
Modern artists also turn their talent to household goods... like this bowl.
I love these variations of the theme of "basket"... This one is nicely dense and geometric.
What says "modern times" better than a clock? Here are some beauties! Designer George Nelson is famous from his mid-century modern clock faces.
Elegant yet unpredictable.
And what are hat and coat racks but structural frames?
I love this!
Kinda gorgeous and whimsical.
Art and Scupture
Mondrian. Klee. Georgia O'Keefe. Calder! Modern sculpture. Some of the most playful and most delightful to live with may be the mobiles - the moving sculptures - pioneered by Alexander Calder. Some of the following designs are inspired by his work.
A book on this modern master.
Modern Art Jewelry
Sculptor Alexander Calder made over 1800 pieces of jewelry. Here's a fascinating online museum show of Calder's jewelry design:
A sampling of this modern sculptor's varied jewelry work at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Jewelry is a natural outlet for modern and architectural design. Artist Alexander Calder made jewelry for the women in his life and the designs of many other modern artists, designers, and architects have been adapted into jewelry.
The Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art in New York is more or less the Seal-of-Approval for modern design. When a designer or artist has their work THERE... they're officially Cool.
Take a look at their museum shop - click the pic.
Art Museum Shops
Art museums are terrific places to shop for modern gifts. Look at some of these!
The Mid-Century Modernist
The Bauhaus taught a modern viewpoint in arts, crafts, and architecture.
When World War II loomed, many of the teachers, designers, and architects at this famous German school of modern design fled to American... bringing Modernism with them.
Ultimate elegant minimalism. (Such a sculptural shapes doesn't need to be used for smoking.)
Frank Lloyd Wright
While the home-grown American talent, like Frank Lloyd Wright, kept on designing their own brand of Modern.
I love the sheer majesty of this not-that-big clock.
Decorative vases are another rich field for modern designers, among them Alvar Aalto of Finland, whose glass vase is a famous Modern icon.
Read all about it! A beautiful book about the modern style of design as embodied in American tract housing....
"Atomic Ranch" doesn't that just sum up the period?
I gotta get this book! Such stylish drawing.
Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. Quintessentially Modern.
Links to Modernist Retailers
Hunting around the internet, I'm gradually finding places with a modern sensibility.
Please check back again later, as this list grows.
A mix of all sorts of goods - many with a very Modern point of view.