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Mod Classics

A few inspired folks share their favorite piece of iconic midcentury furniture

Every design devotee has a favorite piece of iconic midcentury furniture, loved for its luscious silhouette, expectation-shattering use of materials or formative role in history. Here, a few inspired folks share their faves.


“This console table designed by Gio Ponti, with rare colored tiles (also Ponti’s design) fabricated by the enamel master Paolo de Poli, is one of my favorite works. Its streamlined design with pointy legs—so typical of Ponti—is particularly wonderful.”
Hugh Grant, director, Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Denver, CO, kirklandmuseum.org


“Florence Knoll asked her friend Eero Saarinen to design a chair ‘that she could curl up in.’ The organically shaped Womb Chair [1948] uses the advanced (for the time) technology of molded fiberglass for the generous and curvaceous shell that floats on slim steel supports.”
Michael and Katherine McCoy, designers, Michael McCoy design, Colorado,  michaelmccoydesign.com


“My favorite midcentury piece has to be the Noguchi Table [1948] by sculptor Isamu Noguchi. It has such a simple form that’s organic but incredibly sophisticated.”
Elizabeth Tullis, owner, The Modern Hotel, Boise, ID, themodernhotel.com


“I love the Chieftain Chair [1949] by Finn Juhl. This timeless and rare piece showcases true Danish craftsmanship with its elegant, sculptural arms, and Juhl’s use of organic shapes and an innovative floating back and seat conveys movement.”
Jennifer Brash, owner, Fullhouse Modern, Vancouver, B.C., fullhouseconsign.com 


“This molded aluminum tripod chair [1953] by Poul Kjærholm is gorgeously simple with perfect integrity, smashing good looks, never-get-up comfort and a bit of fun. Plus, the man and his timeless mustache were genius.”
David Larabee and Dexter Thornton, furniture makers, DoubleButter, Denver, CO, doublebutter.com


“My vintage arc lamp [1962] is the most-talked-about piece in my house. Not only is it unique and gorgeous, but it has a vintage room key hidden within the travertine base. I can only guess why the key needed to be tucked away.” (Arco by Achille Castiglioni pictured right.) 
Dorian Ferlauto, sales representative, Mod Livin’, Denver, CO, modlivin.com


“I love the versatility of George Nakashima’s tables [1964] that are organic yet modern at the same time. They would fit beautifully into your mountain, beach or city home.”
Michael Bruno, founder, 1stdibs.com, New York, NY


“This lounge chair [1972] was initially designed for the Communist Party headquarters in Paris by architect Oscar Niemeyer. An unsung design hero of the 20th century, he proposed this chair of elegant beauty that echoes the fluid forms of his architecture.”
Michael P. Johnson, architect, Michael P. Johnson Design Studio, Cave Creek, AZ, mpjstudio.com



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