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Iconic Mid-Century Modern Furniture Designers (Part 1)

Whether you’re restoring an MCM home or you just love collecting amazing pieces, there are a few designer names you’ll come across again and again. These iconic designers have left their mark on the world of furniture, and their products are consistently in demand. Even pieces with some damage or wear tend to be valuable if they can be attributed to one of these five iconic mid-century modern furniture designers.s

1. Charles & Ray Eames

eames lounge, eames ottoman, rosewood, charles eames

They might sound like a duo of brothers, but Charles and Ray Eames were a married couple active in all aspects of design, art, architecture, and furniture between the late 1940s and the early 1970s. If you only know one name associated with MCM style, it’s probably Eames. Although countless designs can be attributed to the Eames pair, they are best known for their classic fiberglass chairs and their lounge and ottoman set. Eames designs are some of the most in-demand MCM pieces, the most valuable items, and, unfortunately, the most copied. If you find an Eames-style piece that looks too good to be true, check to make sure it is the real deal and not just a replica.

2. Arne Jacobsen

Born in Denmark, Arne Jacobsen was one of the leaders of the Danish modern movement. Like many furniture designers, Jacobsen began as an architect, and his focus was on clean lines and perfect proportions. Today, Arne Jacobsen is best known for his Swan Chair and Egg Chair, two iconic chair forms that are recognized around the world.

3. Eero Saarinen

When people think of Eero Saarinen, the Finnish American architect, they often picture his iconic architectural works. Even if you’re not a serious MCM buff, you’ve almost certainly seen or at least heard of the St. Louis Arch or the TWA Hotel, two of Saarinen’s many creations. If you want to bring the elegance and style of Saarinen into the home (and a replica arch isn’t your style) then check out the iconic Tulip table or the unbelievably comfortable Womb Chair.

womb chair, saarinen, st. louis arch, mid century designer

4. Hans J. Wegner

hans weger, danish chair, rare mid century

One of the “unicorns” of the MCM world might just be the Papa Bear Chair, an iconic piece designed by the Danish designer Hans J. Wegner. Papa Bear Chairs are some of the most frequently copied styles in the furniture world, and some of the replicas are difficult to separate from the real thing. Of course, since these pieces are so revered, you can expect them to come with some exceptionally high price tags. At furniture auctions and estate sales, it isn’t unusual for investors or designers to show up ready to pay any price for the chance to own a Papa Beach Chair.

5. Adrian Pearsall

Adrian Pearsall was an American furniture designer and architect, and his designs are still widely found and enjoyed across the globe. Pearsall was a prolific designer, and he specialized in custom pieces, which can make identifying his designs a tricky task. Every year, countless pieces of furniture are incorrectly attributed to Pearsall, particularly his stunning Jacks tables and his sleek wooden sofas.

adrian pearsall, jacks table, mid century glass coffee table

Trying to narrow down the top mid-century modern designers is no easy feat. This rundown of the top MCM designers is a good place to start, but keep the momentum going by checking out Part 2 of the series, or by checking out some of the MCM furniture currently for sale here at Trystcraft.


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