24 June 2013

Mid-Century Danish Modern

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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.

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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. 

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Knoll @ - Modern Furniture & Lighting