In Part 1 of this series, we explored some of the most iconic and influential mid-century modern furniture designers. Eames, Pearsall, Wegner, Jacobsen and Saarinen are just the tip of the iceberg, however. In the second installment, learn about five more incredible designers that shaped the world of MCM furniture for the better.
6. Jens Risom
The Danish designer Jens Risom is a remarkable example of an artist who can effortlessly fuse American and Scandinavian styles. After moving from Denmark to NYC, Risom worked alongside Hans Knoll to create some of the most iconic Knoll pieces that were ever released, many of them found in he inaugural “600” line. Museums now hold retrospectives of his work, but you can still snag some of Risom’s iconic pieces, like his webbed chairs and his unique magazine racks.
7. George Nelson
Even without any formal experience or training, George Nelson was hired by Herman Miller in 1945 as a director of design. Clearly that was a fantastic move, because Nelson brought in countless world-class designers, such as Bertoia, Eames and Noguchi, while working for Herman Miller for over 30 years. Nelson did more than just manage, however, and he is known perhaps best of all for his desks and iconic benches. Sleek and simple, these timeless designs are a staple of the most design-savvy homeowners the world over.
8. Issamu Noguchi
This American born designer with Japanese roots was one of the most influential characters of the American Modernism movement. Active in furniture design since the 1920s, Noguchi began to gain serious recognition in the late 1940s, when he was brought into Herman Miller under George Nelson. Today, Noguchi is best known for his glass-topped Noguchi coffee table, a stunningly simple and beautiful design.
9. Kofod Larsen
The Danish designer Kofod Larsen is noted for his sculptural lines and his clean designs, and he also made a name for himself by utilizing high-end materials. Many of his most famous pieces are made with teak or rosewood, and these have done an excellent job of standing the test of time and looking as beautiful today as they did in the 1950s. Upscale collectors love Kofod Larsen’s work because of the high-end nature of their construction, and it doesn’t hurt that England’s Queen Elizabeth II famously purchased some pieces herself. Keep an eye out for chairs like the U-56 and the Penguin Chair.
10. Harry Bertoia
Harry Bertoia may have been born in Italy, but he left for Detroit at 15 and quickly fell in love with the USA. By the 1940s, he was studying alongside icons like Ray and Charles Eames, and by the 1950s he was designing the now iconic Bertoia Collection for Knoll. His wire frame pieces are light and sculptural, making them popular for both interior and exterior use. Perhaps the most famous of his designs are the Diamond Chair and the Bird Chair.
This wraps up the series revealing the world’s most iconic mid-century modern furniture designers. Snagging one of their pieces is like bringing a piece of design history right into the home, and their worldwide recognition only adds to the value of these chairs, tables and benches. Comment if we’re missing any of your favorite designers who didn’t make the list!