Earlier this week I wrote about which were the most used colours palette during the mid century modern period to decorate houses and why. Today I will complete the topic with some more info. Commonly blocks of bold colours were animating, dividing or unifying different areas of the house and the most common material was certainly the colorful and light reflective linoleum. Even though the use of more than one element was usually not advised, linoleum tables, sideboards or screens were furnishing whole houses. On the other hand, combined with wooden furniture and other organic pieces the new material helped to highlight their textures. Probably the most popular palette during the 50s was the Harlequin. It consisted of a range of bright colours widely used for kitchen appliances, textiles, wall panels, flooringetc. They even became popular as tints for facades. The use of the Harlequin rainbow of hues made easier and fashionable to bring together a wider range of colours than before; even if clashing with each others.
The increasing popularity of abstract expressionist paintings -where the harlequin palette was widely used- legitimated the use of such colours and their combination. Regardless of the colours, the interior decoration industry used coordinated colour schemes and patterns to create matching interior textiles, wallpapers, surfaces,(AGGIUNGI LINK A BOARD PINTEREST) ceramics and even plastic laminates. An example were the panel prints of botanical motifs designed by Vanderborght Freres in Belgium that were combined with fabrics containing the same motifs. In the early twentieth century white was one of the most used and appreciated colours due to the Bauhaus functionalist influence and the sober feeling it gave. During the mid-century modern, however, white has been replaced by other light and brilliant colours as the cream-ivory to provide the same clean and crisp feeling without looking antiseptic. Edward Wormley -a well known American designer- used white walls as frames for textiles and furniture in contrast with light coloured floors or dark mahogany pieces. In general, since the mid 50s the concept of what a neutral colour is, changed a lot. White, Grey and Black were included in neutral colours’ range without considering beige or earth-tones as part of them like we do today. As done with other tints and palette, also black and white were used in combination and often in contrast to each others to give a sense of dramatic tension within the room; that’s why black and white floors for mid-century kitchens and bathrooms were so common. The expressionist and abstract colours used for mid century interiors foreshadowed the ‘pop’ and psychedelic colours of the following decade and later in the 80s by designers as Ettore Sottsass and his Memphis movement during Italian post-modernism.
So that’s all, I hope you enjoyed this short story of the most used colours in mid century modern interiors. If so, please leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts about it.
All the pics in this post come from one of the best books abut mid century modern I read so far Mid-Century Modern: Interiors, Furniture, Design Details.
Not only the pics but also the detailed story of the mid century modern design period makes this book a must have for all the enthusiasts of post war interiors. You can find it here. Check it out now!