03 November 2013

Compact Cabins by Simple Living

If you follow my facebook, you may have noticed that I put up a post about the Compact Cabins* book mentioned in the title.

Purely, by chance, I happened to see it while I was walking thru Lowes and was fairly impressed by it. However, I had no idea how cool it really was, until my loving in-laws gave it to me as a gift. So, lets go over the book a bit.

Honestly, the first thing that drew my attention to the book was a combination of factors. These where, that the cover illustration was a tonal architectural rendering of a cabin, and the second was... that the book is about cabins. While we all know that there are many books on architecture and so on, Cabin building is one of the most iconicly Mid-Century genres of architecture there is. (This is a topic for another time.)

So, not expecting much... I figured the photo on the cover was to pull you in, and then the rest would be glossy photos of contemporary cabins that no one could afford. I picked up the book (in the store before owning it), and looked briefly over the contents. To my surprise I found a really solid retro inspired looking cabin book. While I can't count it as completely Mid-Century Modern in design, I can guarantee that the author of this book was keeping in mind the original mid-century cabin books.

What I found inside is a really interesting and well balanced book. It takes on some of the more traditional styled cabin looks and simplifies the completion and construction of them with more current innovations.

One way that the book brings in current innovations into these retro styled cabins is by taking into consideration prefab and ready made units in the construction process. Some of these concepts are: using travel trailer and camper shower/bathroom units, using shipping containers, and using pre-made kitchen units to facilitate construction of the compact interiors while cutting your cost and time for design and install way down.

While some concepts may be a bit to contemporary for those of you who are reading this post, do not fear. This book has those contemporary concepts separated from the more traditional designs. However, it is good to remember that one of the big motivations in the MCM world was pushing design to incorporate new engineering concepts.

Compact Cabins* also gives very solid advice on modular units, and how they can be designed to construct the perfect cabin for your needs. Included in the book are 62 cabin plans, a number of tips on how to source materials (in todays world), how to find out about the building codes that exist, and a number of space saving concepts.

I do think it is very important for anyone reading this to understand that the maximum size of the cabins covered in this book is 1000 sf. Therefore, if you are looking for a book that covers larger cabins, this is not the book for you. Still, this book is incredibly practical, and will make you rethink the building of a larger more expensive cabin for the practicality of one of the ones shown in this book.

In conclusion, I would say that the content of this book is more than just interesting. I would say that is super practical and very inspiring. Being that I'm somewhat of a Mid-Century book snob (not just any old book gets in my collection), any book that I suggest must fit a few important criteria.
   First- Any book to be displayed must fit in with my other mid-century books. 
   Second- It must be practical and lend toward Mid-Century styled living.
   Third- It needs to be an easily understood book that is useful to anyone who may pick it up. 
Compact Cabins* is all of the above without a doubt. While it isn't suitable for Mid-Century Purist, it will be a great and wonderful addition to the average Mid-Century enthusiast. In fact, just looking at this book has inspired me to reconsider the possibility of building a cabin. Who knows, it could happen...


10 August 2013

OH...Oh...Oh... Mid-Century Modern Home Plans

Ok, so over the years I've seen all the cabin and ranch or vacation house plan's books out there. While they are all titled Mid-Century Modern home/house plans, it only takes a few seconds to see that they are only partly what they claim. In the end, buying them is more for collection than for need or a true fit. That though is no longer the case. Why? Let me show you.

I was just browsing my favorite mid-century modern book store on ebay*, Populuxe* books, and I happened to run across this awesome book.


This Sunset Books offering from the early 60's is not the typical, so it would seem, book that they put  out on, "mid-century modern", house plans. You know, the book I mentioned above, where there are two mid-century  modern styled houses buried in amongst a ton of plain and simple homes of the mid-century period, that are the furthest thing from modern. No, this book, at least from what Populuxe has posted on the photos portion of the sale, shows a true potential for being able to fufill our desires of having one book full of mcm house plans. 

Just to help you get an idea, check out the following photos. 

If you think these are cool, go check out the other photos Populuxe* has up. You won't be disappointed. While there take a gander at the other books and toys they have up on auction.  Who knows, they may just become your favorite Mid-Century Modern books store too. 

Please Note: Populuxe* Books has not compensated or encourage in an manner to promote their books or products in this post. Also please note that links with an (*) beside them are affiliate links as are the product apps on this site. For more information on the how receives it's income, please visit our income page.

11 July 2013

A bit of Danish in Books

*Note: I have choosen to feature Populuxe books on my own accord. Populuxe books is not rewarding me, nor paying me for featuring their material on

I thought: "While my time is short for posting, I would put together a simple, but image/informational filled post for you nice folks." Also, while I'm not turning into a danish modern only site, I am doing double duty, trying to get my facebook group Mid-Century Danish Modern up and going. So stop by and check it out, and join.

My favorite online bookstore, Populuxe books, has just what I needed today for a bit of inspired staring. Today I looked up, in the search box, the topic Danish Modern. Below are some of the books and images that I came across. Hope you enjoy.






While these are just a few books that feature Danish design, there are a number more that have great interior design that incorporate Danish modern as well. So, stop by, look, and pick a book for the road. 

The Following links and apps. are affiliate apps. These links and apps help keep Amidst mod going. If you would like to know more about these links and how they work, please stop by the income page on

24 June 2013

Mid-Century Danish Modern

Photo Source:
In my searches for great facebook groups to share my interests with, I've found the following: Mid Century Modern, Mid Century Modern Chicago, Modernists, Midcentury Items Buy Sell or Trade, Mid Century Modern Design, Friends of Atomic Ranch, Mid Mod Muse, Retro Shopping, Space Age Bachelor Pad Music, and West German Pottery just to name a few. What I didn't find, was a group that focused on Mid-Century Danish Modern Design.

I spent some time looking for a group like this due to a post that I have written recently; Functional Art: Mid-Century Modern Danish Lamps. When I didn't find what I was looking for, I decided to start my own group. You got it, Mid-Century Danish Modern. What might you find, or what might you add to this group? Well, any Danish pieces that are Mid-Century Modern or pieces that fit the Mid-Century Modern Danish styling, including ones designed and made today. Lets talk about a few examples.

My recent post on Danish Mid-Century Modern Lamps: Functional Art: Mid-Century Modern Danish Lamps shows some good examples of lamps that are clearly Mid-Century Danish Modern. However, there are many pieces that are made today that follow that same train of thought, and design style. Sofas, beds, end/coffee tables, dressers, and lamps are all being crafted that scream Mid-Century Danish inspiration. Some of these pieces are from actual Danish designers. Some are not. Still, what really matters, is if the design fits. Not the age or origin.

Below, I'm going to show a few pieces that are original Mid-Century Danish modern pieces. Take a good look, and really study these pieces. With each piece, I'm going to add my own personal design observations and what draws me to each piece.

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Here we have a beautiful example of Mid-Century Danish Modern Sofa Design. For me the first thing that catches my eye is the balance between sharp corners and soft rounded curves. I love the sweeping curve on the lower right and left corners, the back, and on the top of the side cushions. If left to themselves, these soft curves could overpower the look of this couch. However, the addition of the very thin lower structural line and the sharp corners create a strong and checked balance. Such a long sweeping curve on the back of the couch and the long radius soft curves on the lower corners with the super flat cushions have the potential of creating a monolithic shape for this sofa. However, in typical Danish design precision, this sofa has a wonderfully light and almost floating appearance due to the well designed, thin legs. By using such simple, but shaped legs, this piece now lives in the room. Floating instead of weighing the room down. Using the teal also helps with the visual weight so as not to create an overbearing appearance.

Photo Source: Revitalized Artistry on
Revitalized Artistry has taken the effort to restore this piece so that we can enjoy it in it's almost brand new glory. How happy, and thankful we are to them for their incredible, and hard work.

This piece always catches my eye because of the great visual balance that it achives. Having a bone white base, with contrasted drawers and legs gives it a nice look that sits solid, but not to heavy. Using the white on the center drawer backing also accentuates the dimension used on the geometrical drawer accents. Allowing us to see the piece in a true 3d form.

Using softly rounded drawer pulls on each side, tie in the center piece and legs nicely, while braking up the sharp edged rectangle that makes up the outside case. Even the slightly sculpted legs are great. Placement and color of the legs lend to a blending in into the shadows and floor, yet still providing enough design to not distract from the overall aesthetic if and when in viewing range.

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This piece is a bit difficult for me to find, or define, what attracts more of my attention. However, if I have to choose, I'd say that the legs are, by far, my favorite aspect of this piece. While I'm sure they hold this piece quite securely. I love how they look so laid back, fragile and jetset. This table just flows so well together. In fine Danish modern style, the tabletop has a beautifully "sharp", but extremely fluid reversed beveled edge. Giving a false perception of it being ultra thin, while providing a very sturdy and rigid table top.  Then there's that floating table top that looks super futuristic. Creating a dimension that exists, but at the same time, almost doesn't. If the the dimensional top wasn't fantastic enough, they had to throw the traditionaly sculptured taper to the glass table supports, creating a sense of confusion. Making one wonder if this table should actually be used or not. Doubting if it's a piece of furniture or just a really nice sculpture in the shape of a table.

As you can see from the above, there is no shortage of pieces that fit into the Mid-Century Danish Modern group description for your choosing. If you have any information on pieces, or sites that give details on designers and technical aspects, share them too. Even though I made no mention of them earlier in this post, sculptures, accents, decor objects, architecture, and art are also all welcomed as well. So, please feel free to join the group,  or just simply stop by and see what's going on.

Functional Art: Mid-Century Modern Danish Lamps

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From the very first moment that I looked at a Danish modern lamp, I was in awe. That's been some 15 years or so ago now. In fact, this incredible appeal hit me before I even knew what Mid-Century Modern was. At the time, I just knew what I liked, and what drew me. Over the years, I've seen an extensive display online of incredibly designed mid-century lamps. In fact almost all of my preferred lamps are Danish modern. So, I thought it might be good to look at why these lamps are so captivating to me and so many others.

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One of my favorite aspects of design, in any form, is the texture that is considered, developed, and then applied to each creative piece. Danish Modern lamps from the mid-century era have a large range of textures that are employed with elegance and grace. As with many lamps, the shades typically are textured. However, different from most other lamp styles, the shades themselves are primarily translucent. Not using a solid card or paper backing to reflect light up/down, and not trying to hide the light bulb completely. Allowing the light to pass, but not allowing for a clear affirmation of what lies inside creates a sense of dimension that can draw you in. Use of these textured materials in a screening capacity creates a high contrast effect on the textured materials use within the lamps design. Magnifying the already notable texture to an almost unreal proportion. By using meshes of different materials, loosely woven strongly textured fabrics, frosted glasses, fiberglass, or thinly molded ceramics, in the lamp design almost always helps give these textured lamps shades a very light visual aesthetic. Mixing a soft feel amongst the harder feeling materials such as woods and metals.

Uses of different woods, ceramics, metals, and glass, are another aspect of these lamps design that contribute to their textural appeal.

Photo Source:
Visually Light
Danish Modern lamp shades are not the only aspect of the lamps that give them their light or airy visual look. Selection of the right kinds of materials also help in this effort to minimize their visual weight.

Wood, in it's varied options are probably the most evident of materials used in Danish Modern Lamps. Using hardwoods, such as the commonly thought of Teak, in the lamp construction is one way in which the lamps maintain there light and airy visual appeal. Such hardwoods allow for thin surfaces,  sharp angle changes, load bearing at irregular angles, long sweeping curves, and hardware fastening without any major compromise to the structural integrity.

Choosing wood also allowed for very fluid and soft lines in the design of the lamps. Creating points, edges, and curves that fold and fade into various angles helping to keep the light visual appearance that makes these lamps a truly sculptured piece of home accessories.

Metals of different styles are also commonly found in the construction of these lamps. Being used in various facets. Metals are found from the finest details, such as custom made dowels, screw nuts, lamp shade banding, and light bulb stands, thru decorative ornaments, and right down to the structural aspects, such as legs that plant the lamp firmly on the ground and their vertical supports.  Metal, needless to say, plays an integral part in the visual appearance of these inspiring lamps.

Use of metal is a very important aspect in the overall design of these lamps. Do to the use of metals in the various details and construction, these lamps can maintain strong but thin lines. Using metal also facilitates ease of color palette options, allowing for a more tailored and specific overall look.

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String and wire are two more materials that allow these lamps to have a light, but sculptured appearance. While neither of these two materials are the norm, there are many examples of these beautiful lamps that have been designed with these materials as an integral part of the artistic pallet.

Wire and string are typically used to create a unique and custom shade, or to fill a spacial void for  balance, these materials also lend to the visual appeal of these lamps.

Color, while not being the most prominent aspect of the these wonder lamps design, also plays a very important part of the overall effect that these incredible lamps have on the space they occupy. Use of highly contrasted tones on carefully selected pieces allows for these lamps to convey looks of being firmly planted, floating effortlessly, or look as though they are in motion. While the lamp shades may include the heaviest portion of the lamp, a white translucent shade made of glass or ceramic may appear to be light and effortlessly held in space by the much darker and visually heavy wooden base. These visual effects are very precise and create a beautiful balance in the art.

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When colors other than white or wood tones are chosen, they tend to be brighter and well contrasted. Most metals are coated with, or are of, specific metals types/colors that flow well visiually with the overall design. While sharp, strong toned metals, such as Stainless Steel or cold steel are used, Copper and Brass and Gold are generally preferred. Not only are these colors of these metals more subdued than standard cold steel or stainless, but they've always been more luxuries in look, and held in higher artistic value.

In the end though, I guess what makes me find these lamps truly great is that they are adequate for just about any setting or design style. Mid-Century Danish modern lamps offers styles, designs, and textures that will match everything from your velvet couch, to your brass Tiffany candelabras, right down to your favorite lounge, whether it be Eames or not. So, if you in the market for a new lamp, you might want to check out whats available in the Danish modern.

Just below, you will find 10 personally selected Danish modern lamps that I found on*.

The items in this* app are temporarily available. After these items have been sold or the bid time has ended.* will propagate search term listings. 

*Note:* is an affiliate of Amidst Mod. For more information on the affiliate programs that participates in, please see our income page.

Knoll @ - Modern Furniture & Lighting

19 June 2013

Simplified Woodworking: 2 Tone Coat Rack Full Project

Over the years, I have read quite a number of books, magazines, and articles on woodworking. I've also watched a number of videos and shows too. From these, I have learned a lot about how to execute different tasks and techniques, as well as some principles of woodworking. However, something was missing from ever show or article I saw or read. What was it?

Alternatives are what was missing. In what way? Well, while each show/article had photos and instructions, and while all were well written, they didn't teach people how to use simple tools to do the same job that the big professional tools do. These shows do often use simple tools in these projects. However, the focus was on the most efficient, precise, and easiest way to do the job. In wood working ease equals expensive, and therefore, is out of the range of many do it yourselfers.

Efficiency and ease are great, but only if the cost of tools and materials don't out weigh the need/function of the item being built. I've thought about, and calculated many times the cost versus need of the tools shown on these shows. In every case, I decided that, while I would love to have the table saw, bench planer, or drill press, I couldn't justify the cost. Once again, I don't have anything against these tools. There may come a day when I start to sell my works and I may just buy these for efficiency sake. For the time being though, I can build what I want, and need with simple tools. With a little creativity, a few extra hours, as well as some hard work, you can build just about anything with inexpensive hand tools.

That's why I'm starting Simplified Woodworking. The "simplified" doesn't refer to the projects that will be tackled, rather the tools and materials needed to tackle them. Since I'm no Pro, this will give me the chance to learn, help others, and make mistakes so that all of us can better our abilities.

One thing to keep in mind is that these projects are based on things I need for my own house. Even if you don't need these same items, you can use these projects to learn the techniques, and methods of wood working with simple hand tools.  These methods are used in many of the woodworking projects that you will want to complete. Something I've learned about woodworking is that any project can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Keep in mind, that many times, simple is just as good as complicated, or even better. Others times, you will need a more complex method to allow for strength, durability, and quality. In the world of woodworking there are very few variation in methods of joining, cutting, and finishing. Techniques of each of these procedures can vary greatly. Still, each one serves a very important purpose.

As the projects are completed, I will do my best to explain all the methods used to the best that time allows in the videos. Also, I will explain these same methods in a written post. My explanations will include: why I am doing what I am doing, and also, what else could have been done instead.

At the bottom of the list you will see all the videos Parts 1 thru 6 of the project: Simplified Woodworking: 2 Tone Coat Rack. It goes over the design and the materials. Above each video, you will find a description of what each video contains.

Here is the list of tools and materials you will need. You can download the drawing that I did in Illustrator. (see image above). Hope you enjoy the videos, and let me know what you think.

The materials use for this project are:
- Plywood piece 7"x30"x1/2" (1) Note: Any wood can be used as long as it is the dimensions listed
- Plywood piece 6-3/4"x29-3/4"x1/2" (1) Note: Any wood can be used as long as it is the dimensions listed
- Wood Glue, epoxy, or Liquid nails
- 1/2" Dowels, smooth or grooved (1 stick=3ft long) Note: Smooth dowels will have a more finish and polished appearance. You can also use aluminum or steel dowels with an epoxy
- Flax seed oil / Small can  Note: Stains, polyurethanes, lacquers or varnishes can also be used if you choose to.)

- Circular Saw (Hand saw can be used)
- Hand Saw
- Drill (electric, manual, or cordless)
- 1/2" Drill bit / sharp
- Hammer (Wood, Rubber, or lightweight steel)
- Jigsaw (a Coping can also be used)
- Orbital Sander
- Sand Paper: 80, 100, 120
- Square
- Measuring tape
- pencil
-Application method for oils or coatings of choice. Consult your local hardware store for each product you may want to use.
- Safety gear: Safety glasses, ear plugs, and dust mask (suggested)

Before you watch video number one, please note the following information. 

I just realized that I had not gone over the part of how to cut the wood to the 7 inch height that I am using. Well, my suggestion would be this.

First, go get the plywood. If you do not plan on making/building multiple pieces of furniture, then just buy the pre-cut stuff from Lowes or HomeDepot. I've found that generally speaking, Lowes has a better selection of plywood. Remember, I'm not talking about particle board (MDF), or Chip/Press board (OSB). I mean real plywood.  Then go and read this link on how to make a straight edge for your circular saw. Measure down from the factory edge 7 inches on one of the corners of the 48 inch width, and then do the same on the other end. Using the straight edge again, cut the 24 inch by 48 inch board into a 7" ("=inches (just in case you didn't know)) by 30" board. Repeat until you have two boards of 7" x 30".

Now that you've thought about the sizing, it's time to think about the materials. There are a couple of easy options. Remember, there is nothing wrong with using pine plywood. Just remember that is scratches and dents fairly easy. That means that in less time your finished project could need to be repaired, or replaced. My personal preference of easily accessible plywood is Birch Plywood or Red Oak. These would be great on this project. Birch would work wonderfully as the natural back piece, and the Red Oak would look very nice as the designed 2nd layer piece. Please note that these two plywood's are my favorite, easily available plywood's, and ones that you can generally get from your local big box home improvement store. There are many more much attractive and different grained plywood's that are popular for wood working available also at any number of furniture quality lumber yards, or wood brokers.

You also can buy red oak in 2'x4' and 4'x8' plywood, just like the Birch. If you want a real 2 tone look that is 100% natural, buy one sheet of the Birch and one of the Red Oak. Using the Red Oak on top. However, if you want to save a little money, you can cut the 2'x4' Birch sheet into 2) 7"x30" pieces and stain one piece with a cherry, mahogany, ceder, or walnut stain. Just something to contrast the boards with.

If you choose to stain, just make sure you stain the top board after you cut the design out, and stain all the edges, and about an inch onto the back all around. This way it will be less noticeable that it was stained.

Please forgive the quality of these videos. This was my first tutorial, and the video equipment I was using was not the greatest. However, I've been told by many, that the project and information is very good. I'm working to improve my videos for the future. 

Now we're on to part 2 of this project. In part 2, I go over cutting the front and back boards and drawing out the design. There's not much to explain for this part, so I'll leave you with the video below and let you continue on your way.

Here in part 3 learn about cutting the design out of the top board.

Part 4: Here you will learn about the sanding process and choices that I decided on.

Part 5: In this part, I go over the assembly process of the coat rack.

Part 6: This is the video where I go over the finishing process of the coat rack.

18 June 2013

A Few Pieces I Thought You Might Dig

Amidst Mod is about all things Mid-century Modern in design, and influence and as I go thru all my searches, I find that there are a number of independent design studios, individuals, and small designers that create truly mcm inspired pieces. So inspired in fact, that if you can get past the designers name, the fact that it's not a known design, and that they are not 50-70's year old, you might just like having them as accents in your retro/mid-century inspired home. 

I dig thru a lot of sites looking to bring you all the best designs that I can find of the original Mid-Century Modern and the Mid-Century revival. This is no small feat, and I enjoy it immensely.

Today, I'm bringing you a grouping of items that I have found on Each of these items are inspired by, but not from, that wonderful space age era known as Mid-Century Modern. So, forget the vintage/collection value, the name, and the year. Just sit back and enjoy the design. I mean, that's what drew us to Mid-century modern before we knew about the designers, and their names, right?

*Before looking any further, please note that all photos are the property of the designers/studios/companies mentioned for each piece.  Also, none of the featured designers/studios/companies are offering any reimbursement for the publicity of their products on this site. All features of Amidst Mod post are done on a, "because I want to basis", and not based on a monetary agreements.

 This Stereo Turntable Cabinet  is from OrWaDesigns. It is a Mid-Century inspired stereo cabinet. One that, from the looks of it, could have actually been produced in the era of Hi-Fi stereos.

This one measures 48" long x 32" tall x 20" deep. It also comes in other colors of stain, so make sure you go by and check this pieces out.

These "Cats Cradle Coffee Table Bases" from Popcelona are a really nice piece to look at if you happen to find a great natural edge slab piece and want to use it as a table, but don't know a thing about wood working or leg making.
Having clean welds and nice paint marks these interesting bases with an even more outstanding looking.

This Boomerang Coffee Table from Arboriform is a really nice piece that could really set a mid-century or retro interior in the right mood. Arboriform offers this table with matching edges and in a couple of material options. Being as beautifully crafted as it is, it's a definite focal piece that desires to be shown off. 

Peter Deeble's Danish Modern Turned Leg Bed is a beautiful and useful bed that would complete the most modern of the mid-century bedrooms your could create. It not only looks great, but it can be made to your specifications. Such things as mattress height, mattress size, and height off the floor can all be adjusted to your desired specifications as this well crafted piece is being made. For more info, check out the links above.

Did you miss out on that awesome vintage mid-century modern buffet/credenza? Well, cheer up.  Yoshihara Furniture NW's Media Credenza could be sold in any MCM furniture with the most talented mcm furniture buyers wondering if this isn't just a model that they may have missed in their studies. So, take a look for yourself, and put your mid-century modern know-it-all friends to the real test. 

GoRetroMod has put together a Danish Modern styled sofa bed that will make any of us less distressed that we decided not to pick up "the one" Danish Modern sofa bed at that mid-century furniture store. Plus, with this piece, you can even choose color combinations, and the springs won't even be worn out. 

The Don Draper Desk by OrWaDesigns is, yet another design that this designer has defined by the use of clear  Mid-century influences.  As this desk is offered in multiple stains, you will be able to match your desk to the accessories you found from all those little shops over the years with out having to wait, hoping for the right desk to come your way by chance.

This gorgeous Mid-Century Modern Styled End Table by GCoulsonFurniture is very unique and beautifully finished. While making a very bold statement of individualistic style, yet keeping the line and symmetry classically mid-century modern, owning this piece would make your interior a truly unique showcase of mid-century modern styling and taste. Showing a truly artistic take on an old, but not dead design mentality.

Danish Mid Century Modern Bed by Peter Deeble is yet another breath takingly beautiful Danish styled bed that could pass off as an original Mid-Century Modern piece. Being made to specific size for each client, it shouldn't be hard to find the fit that you would want for your own room, or that of your design conscious friends.

Todd Fillingham has done it! He has created this wonder Deck Chair that will fit whatever Mid-century Styled cabin, vacation home, or residence you can buy or conceive. And that's no small feat. Believe me... I know from experience how hard it is to find decent outdoor deck furniture that fits the mid-century modern feel. With this chair though, there's no need to worry. It's a dead ringer for this genre, and looks comfortable too.

Knoll @ - Modern Furniture & Lighting

Screen printing