Mid-Century Modern Design: A Complete Sourcebook | Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

A fabulous guided excursion through the world of design from the mid-1940s to the early 1970s - marred only by agonizingly small print.

Mid-Century Modern Design

Mid-Century Modern Design: A Complete Sourcebook

PUBLISHER:Thames and Hudson
AUTHOR:Dominic Bradbury
FORMAT:Softcover, 544 pages

Let's get my main gripe with this book over with - I found the print too darn small to read comfortably, even wearing prescription glasses. To be fair, it's an issue I've had with a lot of books over the past few years. 10-point text used to be the norm, now it seems that publishers have dropped to the 7-8 point range.

Apart from the print size issue this is a fabulous book - both 
informative and enjoyable to read. It covers the period roughly from the 1940s to the early 1970s. Design really began to skyrocket after the war (along with the birth rate) in response to a postwar economic boom, rapid growth of new technologies and materials, a dramatic cultural and social shift, and a lot more disposable income. 

It's during this period that iconic designers such as Arne Jacobsen, George Nakashima, Hans Wegner, Charles and Ray Eames, Otto and Gertrud Natzler, George Nelson and the like hit their stride, creating furniture, textiles, pottery and lighting that remains highly prized and influential today.

The book covers the work of nearly 100 major and influential designers from across the world and includes over 1,000 photos and illustrations. Many of the photos are full page. Each designer gets from 4 to 6 pages of commentary and photos.

While I found several furniture designers whose work I admire in the book, there were countless other treats waiting for me in categories I'm less familiar with. 

The designers are grouped into seven categories:

  • Furniture
  • Lighting
  • Glass/Ceramics
  • Textiles
  • Product/Industrial Design
  • Graphics/Posters
  • House & Interiors
At the back of the book is a helpful bibliography and index along with a more comprehensive A to Z list of mid-century designers.

You'll find other books on mid-century design, but I doubt if any are as comprehensive as Bradbury's compendium. If you're just getting interested in design this book is a goldmine; if you're a connoisseur this is the ultimate reference book. 




Carl Duguay
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