Design terminology - Part 5


Mid-Century Modernism:  Popular from the 1940s to the 1970s, now recognized by scholars and museums worldwide as a significant design movement. This style uses colourful plastics, vinyl, melamine, Formica, plywood, wood veneer, fibreglass, steel, aluminium and wrought iron.  It was all about organic shapes, clean lines. Lighting designers chose more practical and industrial looking light fixtures, such as stem lamps, glowing globes on pendants and brightly coloured lampshades. Mid-century modern design also goes by the name "California Modern" due to people across California, especially those in Los Angeles and San Francisco, embracing the style so enthusiastically.

Mission:  The word mission references the Spanish missions throughout colonial California and it originated in the late 19th Century when people were looking for relief after the excesses of Victorian times and the influx of mass-produced furniture from the Industrial Revolution. This style was popularly associated with the American Arts and Crafts movement and features heavy dark-finished oak furniture with straight and simple rectangular lines.

Modern:  A clean, streamlined furniture style from the 1930s with roots in the German Bauhaus School of Design and modern Scandinavian design. This style is characterized by sleek geometric shapes, asymmetry, simple, and functional forms. White or shades of white are used for the walls, although colour is sometimes used for dramatic effect and small splashes of colour are added with accessories. Furniture is upholstered in neutrals or tone-on-tones, with leather to add richness to the space. The kitchen features lacquered cabinets from natural woods or green products and countertops are granite, stone, stainless steel or a green laminate made smooth and shiny. Floors emphasize smooth stone, hardwoods, or bamboo. Majority of modern homes have large glass windows which are usually bare and furniture is low, simple, and modular.

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