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Iterations of Mid-Century Modern Design

Updated: Feb 12

My current clients would like end tables and they are hoping to have a mid-century modern design approach. I work by thinking first, drawing second, and building third.

For me, design success is about balance. I can think of something forever. I need to act, but to act before I am resolved in some way is pointless.

Thinking looks like nothing is going on. Who knows how long it will take? People around me have no idea that I am working. I also will admit I do my best processing while driving but with these gas prices, I have to cram it in! This type of thinking is not like 'what groceries do we need?', or thinking about cleaning out the garage. It's something that happens between being present at the moment and being somewhere else. It's a bit like daydreaming with physical parameters coming in and out. Driving is an act we all do with consciousness and unconsciousness. I find that state of mind to be the best balance to design in.

At first, I am simply trying to climb inside the project. I want my furniture to inspire and elevate the whole presence of the room. I want to make each aspect look intentional and of course, it needs to function. In this case, I have about three examples in my mind of mid-century modern. I add to what I think I know by looking online, in homes, in stores anywhere I can find examples. In this case, I took a current example and created my version of it.

What I notice:

-The top edge of the table, the wood, and the finish.

-The knees of the legs are lower than the bottom of the tabletop.

-The radius of the bend in the leg differs from the outside of the knee to the inside.

-I am noticing and checking joinery to make sure there are no construction issues to resolve.

The drawing process always brings to mind my college assignment in 2-d design. I misunderstood the assignment, big time. We had a drawing of fruit or some image as a starting point. The assignment was to create several images each more abstract than the previous. I don't know why but I heard that we had to do 20 and I think the assignment was 5. It took the length of the room to hang mine. I had fun creating these iterations. I did however get a bit of feedback from fellow students. Yikes.

In this case, I took the above product idea, made several versions of it, and included a drawer and lower shelf.

After looking at couches and sitting in the room, I had one idea: to make the top circular. My thought was a circle cut in half. The couch has a very square presence so I wondered how this geometric concept might look. In my mind, it was exciting. After drawing it up I thought a 1/2 circle did not leave enough room for the lamps. Two circles were too much in the space. But what about an oval?

Oval side table concept

An oval is more gentle to the eye in a room where lines take the viewer from one thing to another. Circles can trap the view and create bulls' eyes. Ovals allow transitions. Then I wondered if these tables could be set apart (as end tables) and also go together when game night around the fire is on! And we now have my next project.

 clean lines of midcentury inspiration
Marcus by Ethan Allen introduces "clean lines of midcentury inspiration"

The couch above is their new living room addition!

both tables join together to make one table
24" end tables

tables assembled together
Two End Tables united create one oval table

Taller end table
31" high side table for a high arm couch

This marks the end of this journal post. Next, I will calculate the amount of wood, fasteners, drawer guides, and finish I need. While I do that I am walking through the build process which will help me arrive at a cost for these beautiful end tables.

Stay tuned!

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