Yes, it’s part two in my definitions series. My last post talked about Architectural styles of the mid century, now we move on to decorating and furniture. Most people think of “modern” but frankly that was one small part of midcentury style, so here’s my attempt at the styles common to the time.
French Provincial comes, as the name implies, from the French Provinces. In the late eighteenth century, when the French Court was formally devoted to the elaborate designs typical of the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV, this much simpler style was growing up. Marie Antoinette, with her play at “country life” was partly responsible for its popularity, but the backbone of the movement came from the country people. (from “Ladies Home Journal: Book of Decorating” 1957)
Scandinavian design had its great period between 1925 and 1975, hence the name Danish Modern. After World War II, Scandinavia became synonymous with the forward thinking aspects of postwar design and craft that emanated from these Northern countries. Suddenly, Danish Modern became an exportable commodity. In contrast to the severity and utilitarianism of design inspired from the theories of Bauhaus, Scandinavian designers proposed a greater emphasis on natural materials and organic shapes. In this way the geometric lines and hard contours gave way to softer and more irregular biomorphic shapes in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. Instead of steel and glass, plywood (generally a light color) was used as raw material which provided suggestive shapes that adapted better to the human body. To the delight of domestic connoisseurs, architects and manufacturers entered into a unique and rewarding collaboration during this period of design; in turn, this raised the standards, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. Noteworthy names associated with Danish Modern include but are not limited to: Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, Hans J. Wegner, Kaare Klint, Poul Henningsen and Verner Panton.
Now, the one missing here is Colonial. I have yet to find a good definition for the style, so please let me know if you find one, and as always, please comment if you have additions/changes or suggestions! We’re always adding to this new section on the website!