When does decorating your home turn into degree-level research? The moment that we hone in on a particular design or era, we all suddenly become interior detectives; hunting out images of original homes, re-pinning old adverts of the decade on Pinterest, studying technical drawings of furniture and Wikipedia-ing popular designers of the era.
Lampcommerce Artimede lights – the Dalù range
This has happened to me over the past couple of years. I started off with an inkling that I quite liked garish patterns and the combination of orange and teak. I watched a couple of documentaries about mid-century design and began to realise that my home looked rather similar to the G-Plan images I was seeing. I dug a little deeper and discovered a whole world of mid-century modern design out there –image sharing, fan forums, specialist shops, pinterest boards – it was all there for me to enjoy and to learn from. And as a student who was reluctant to ever leave education; this was all very exciting to me.
The most interesting part of my new-found love of everything MCM was learning about the designers. As someone who had studied a few modules on architecture in college, I was familiar with a lot of the architects from the era and felt a little smug when I recognised a few utopian designers’ names while reading articles on the subject. With this slight head-start, I found myself getting more and more involved in design research and with every new purchase from the junk store I rushed home to Google the name on the bottom of the piece, hoping for another priceless find. Of course, replicas are everywhere, but I much prefer to find original items or invest in a genuine reproduction.
A design that has continuously caught my eye over the past few years is the Eclisse table lamp (below). It was designed by Italian architect and designer Vico Magistretti whose homeware designs were hugely popular during the 60s and again at the end of the 20th Century. The space-age shape was what initially drew me to this light, as I am a big fan of the Googie style, and the subtle orange shade is ideal for my MCM living room. This lamp is hard to find as an original but thankfully it has recently been reissued and can now be purchased brand new from Artemide.
Artemide products carry the VMOD trademark to guarantee that they conform to the original design. This lamp is therefore authorised by the Vico Magistreii Foundation and, although it is a brand new product, ensures that it will retain its value as a design classic and is therefore a safe investment for any mid-century modern home. Fans of this style are so loyal to Magistretti’s designs that the foundation has launched an archive for product owners to submit their own images and stories of living with Vico’s designs and the archive, called My Magistretti, continues to grow year on year.
Just reading about this archive makes me want to be a part of it and own my very own Magistretti piece. It doesn’t have to be this lamp in particular – I also love the Dalù table lamps above (in transparent orange, of course) and the Selene stacking chairs (above) were the first elegant plastic chairs to be designed, back in 1961 – so an original one of these would be an amazing find; although probably quite out of my budget!
I really enjoy learning about each mid-century designer as I stumble upon more designs that I love and I’m sure I can’t be the only one. How about you? Do you enjoy a little bit of recreational interior design research every now and then? Have you discovered any design gems that you’ve bought second-hand and later discovered to be a classic piece? I’d love to hear from you so please leave me a comment below or tweet me @Cassiefairy.