The mid-century modern design era was and still is one of the most influential design eras in history. Many famous architects and designers emerged during this period bringing along with them unique, bold, and beloved designs.
When you’re ready to start decorating your home with mid-century furniture, it’s important to know your designers. Spotting an original or a replica means you need to be familiar with top designers, along with some of the lesser-known choices. Here’s a look at some of the top mid-century furniture designers everybody should know.
The name Eames comes from designers Charles and Ray Eames. Arguably the most influential furniture designers of the mid-century era, Eames has become recognized as the go-to choice for many seeking great mid-century modern pieces. In fact, many pieces with no maker’s mark get labeled at Eames-era pieces for attention.
Many of the pieces designed by Charles and Ray Eames were manufactured by Herman Miller. This husband-and-wife team certainly added their stamp to the mid-century modern furniture landscape.
A Finnish-born American architect and designer, Eero Saarinen was responsible for designing the St. Louis Arch. While the arch isn’t a piece of furniture, it was probably the most iconic design added to the mid-century modern era by Saarinen. Other designs include classic executive chairs and the tulip table, which were designs in the 1950s.
Saarinen and Charles Eames were actually close friends and pushed each other with their designs. The Womb Chair was another one of the furniture designs credited to Saarinen and was mass produced by Knoll.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Some of the most interesting furniture designs from the mid-century era came from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. While he may be best-known for the quote, “I don’t want to be interesting, I want to be good,” he has fans spanning several generations.
The designs from Mies were manufactured by Knoll Associates and included the Togendhat lounge chairs and the Barcelona chair. The Barcelona chair may be the most famous design from Mies and was originally created for the International Exposition of 1929.
Inspired by traditional folk art forms and new technologies, Paul Evans became well-known for his designs using metal. His most famous designs are cabinets faced in high-relief, patinated steel mounts with metal glyphs. His willingness to go against the grain and work with metal, not wood, makes Paul Evans one of the most unique mid-century modern furniture designs.
A few other mid-century modern furniture designs you should be familiar with include:
- Poul Kjaerholm
- Florence Knoll
- George Nakashima
- Arne Jacobsen
- Marcel Breuer
- Harry Bertoia
- Gio Ponti
- Hans Wegner
- Charlotte Perriand
- Alavar Aalto
- Jens Risom
- Edward Wormley
- George Nelson
There are many great choices when it comes to mid-century modern furniture design. Whether you’re looking for a statement piece for your living room or the perfect dining room table, you’re sure to discover the right designer to fit your style.
Some of the most well-known designers, along with some lesser-known options are found on our list above. Take the time to check out the pieces they contributed to the movement and you’re sure to discover the right style for your home.