Mid-century modern is an umbrella term that describes the popular industrial design taste ranging from the mid-1940's to the mid-1970's across all disciplines—architecture, interior design, product design, and graphic design. It was huge shift in its time, orbiting around the desire to strip away excessive ornamentation and get things down to their most basic shape elements. Despite the changing aesthetics of the 1970's onward, it continues to endure—in the words gallery owner Patrick Parrish, "It’s been the new cool thing five times in the last 50 years."
Of course, no design era is the pinnacle of perfection. Elements of mid-century interior design can oversaturate our eyeballs—does anyone else completely overlook the Eames chairs placed in the corner of perfectly-styled rooms on Pinterest—and after living in post-Soviet East Germany for a year, I gotta say that the stark minimalism of Brutalist architecture can get really depressing in a snowless winter. (I also have to admit that sometimes even the word "design" is so overused that it feels like a gnat swarm to the face on a muggy day in August.)
Yet, I can't help but love the work of French-born, NYC-based designer Raymond Loewy (1893–1986). You probably don't know the name, but the guy was so prolific that unless you've been living in a cave, I guarantee you've seen his work. Let's take a look at some of his greatest hits.
Several months ago, I moved offices at my job. I threw up a couple pictures of the family and brought all my documents into my new space. And that's how it's been since. Fast forward six month,s and my walls are still barren. I travel a little bit for work and I spend a lot of time at my client’s offices, so I don’t always notice how empty the walls look. Finally, my office administrator walked into my office and told me that it was time to hang something up to make my office look a little more personable.
Most of the people in my office have artwork that was bought online or a stock photo of a beautiful scenery, but that’s not really my style. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I knew I wanted to build it myself and make it unique. So, I searched Pinterest and finally found something that I thought had a nice professional but masculine look that fit my style.
I got this idea soon after some friends visited and forgot their charger cords for their phones. Since I had my own to use overnight, we had to fish around for other solutions. One day, in my shop I was reflecting on this dilemma when I remembered there were these new USB wall sockets that would be perfect to turn into a portable DIY charging station whenever I need it.
When I came across this awesome vintage-inspired trestle desk this week, it struck all my favorite things: warm wood tones, a modern industrial vibe, and nothing extraneous, just a nice big surface and some shelves. It was "inspired by an antique French architect's table," and it's just all kinds of industrial cool.
Except there's one problem...
Frustrated with unnecessarily high prices for unnecessarily flimsy discount store kitchen carts, Andrew decided to get creative and whipped up an industrial-styled bar cart.
I've recently been doing a bunch of woodworking and lamp-making for Luke Hobbs Design here in Los Angeles, so it wasn't long before I found myself looking at what else is out there in the DIY lighting universe. Instructables user darbinovar didn't seem to have too much of a plan when she started in on this industrial-looking copper and leather lamp, but the final result really is beautiful.
I find lighting to be one of the more difficult parts of creating a masculine or industrial interior, especially when it comes to DIY projects. While you can
You've no doubt familiar with that one aisle in the home center with the track shelving: the tracks and brackets that can be assembled in a variety of sizes. Which are great, except the finished product looks like a bunch of stuff from that one aisle in the home center with all the track shelving.
Molly from Almost Makes Perfect figured out a cool way to update these easy-to-find affordable materials and give them a warm, rustic industrial look you'd actually be happy to have in your home.
The Aeron, named after the Celtic god of war combined with aeronautics and aeration, is perhaps the most ubiquitous office chair ever produced. Initially created as a breakthrough in ergonomic design by Don Chadwick and Bill Stumph for Herman Mailer, the Aeron was so successful that its image was quickly co-opted by the dotcom bubble and associated with 90's web startup corporate excess. Even before its initial unveiling in 1994, the Aeron chair had already been acquired the Museum of Modern Art for its permanent collection. Why?
When Sean came across this model 94646-E “Northwind” oscillating electric fan by Emerson Electric, dated to about 1955, he knew it'd be a stylish, character-filled replacement to his recently busted cheap plastic box fan. So, he got it home, plugged it in, and it whirred "like a cheetah."
And within ten minutes, he totally cut himself on the sharp, spinning metal blades. Yikes.
There's an awful lot of DIY posts around the web for building amazing industrial shelving with a raid of pipes from the local hardware store. This project takes it to the next level with some solid concrete shelves!
I don't know about you, but I've never given a second thought to the process or reasoning behind one of the most ubiquitous product designs: the aluminum beverage can. We're constantly surrounded by them in the modern world, and the decision making process behind how the aluminum can began as a storage container and how its efficient shape has evolved over time turns out to be a fascinating one.
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination." So says acclaimed auteur Jim Jarmsuch, and I think it's something every design-oriented man ought to take to heart. So here's a little inspiration to fuel your imagination.
ManMade reader Mark Devlin, founder of the DIY site DesignsbyDevlin, came up with this great technique for an "open warehouse" -style industrial track lighting project that's easy to implement in your own home. So we asked Mark to walk us through the process, materials, and techniques. Here's what he had to say.
Having low ceilings and zero crawl space makes for a challenge when designing lighting for the main room in the house. If you love a good DIY project that involves electrical and industrial lighting, I designed a cheap and unique way to install custom industrial track lighting using simple products from Amazon.com and the hardware store.
We love a good furniture makeover, but we're even more excited by repurposing totally unrelated objects into practical items you can use in the home. ManMade reader Braden sent us a picture on Instagram with a "Hey, I think you'll like this project." Well, we did, so we asked Braden to walk us through it. Here's what he had to say.
As a kid, I loved making those paper ring garlands to help count down the days to Christmas. They weren't much, just strips of red and green construction paper, one looped inside another and held together with a swipe of glue stick, but, buddy, I loved the ritual of ripping those suckers off as soon as I woke up every morning.
So, for this holiday season, I wanted to embrace the idea of a countdown craft, but update it to something a bit more adult, a bit more masculine, and reusable season after season.
If I could have my druthers, I doubt I'd live in a house. I wouldn't go for a loft, necessarily, but some sort of converted work/live space filled with architectural and industrial details instead of a chair rail. But, likely, I'll end up in a standard single family home, hopefully with a great kitchen and a little yard. Doesn't sound so bad, really...