Scandinavia in the 1950s produced many innovative furniture designers who worked with modern shapes and materials to create simple dining table designs that became a huge home decor trend. These designs are still in demand today; the lucky shopper can sometimes find original pieces in vintage shops, and furniture manufacturers are producing reissues of the original designs.
"Mid-century modern" is a term that covers interior design from around 1933 to 1965. It was a reaction against the more decorative styles of the '20s and an exemplification of designers' excitement to be working with new materials, such as bent plywood. Scandinavian design was a big trend at this time and was characterised by simple shapes, influenced by the Bauhaus design aesthetic.
Key shapes to look for are simple, flat wood tops, either oval or round in shape. Often smaller, round tables will have tulip-shaped bases, while larger oval tables will have legs that taper toward the floor. The overall design should be simple, elegant and without any unnecessary decoration, so no carving or embellishment should be in evidence.
Rosewood was often used by Danish designers in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, and often the whole table, including the legs will be made of it. Some designers, especially Eero Saarinen, worked in marble, particularly marble tops. In the 1950s, toward the end of the mid-century period, designers began to use metal for the legs of the table.
Designers to Look Out For
Names to look out for in mid-century Scandinavian dining table design are Arne Jacobsen, who specialised in moulded plywood furniture, but whose dining table designs would often be in rosewood with metal legs. Also notable are Poul Kjaerholm, who became famous for his contributions to the "Formes Scandinaves" exhibition in Paris, Eero Saarinen, who created the famous tulip table, and Hans Wegner, whose dining table designs tended to be made solely of rosewood.
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