Don't Turn Your House into a Mid-century Modern Time Capsule



Madmen has been off the air for years now. When it came out, I was totally hooked by the flawlessly designed Mid-century Modern sets and costumes. So was everyone else. Sputnik lights and teak furniture flooded the market as people began decorating their houses like they hoped to become Don and Betty Draper, which was fun but also a little depressing because they were both such perfectly horrible people. And now, rather than having an awesome authentically 60's house, all the pseudo Drapers are stuck with already out of fashion time capsules of the era of Madmen nostalgia. So you like “modern” stuff? Hasn't everything been totally “modern” in its day. Architects, good designers and art historians call today's stuff contemporary and spell “modern” with a capital M to distinguish pieces that fall into the artistic movement now called Modern. And there are lots of artistic movements categorized as Modern: there's French Modern, Art Modern, and Scandinavian Modern to name a few. Then there are some movements that predate these, but lead to their happening. A few of these are Art-Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, Futurism, and my favorite, the Viennese Secession. Look up pictures of the Viennese Secession and you'll find it was brutally modern. It celebrated those sleek hard lines we love in Mid-century Modern (MCM) work, but its creators hadn't yet fully departed from an underlying tradition of symmetry and classical proportioning. If you are going to create a time capsule and you want it to be cool in the next five or 10 years, I'd make it a Viennese Secession time capsule. If you heed my advice and steer clear of that sort of stage set life, check out the Apparatus: Lantern 3 Chandelier by Jay Jeffers. At $26,000, it's not for every wallet, but it's a good model of a successful contemporary interpretation of an earlier period. The thing about a piece like this, as opposed to a brass Sputnik light or something similarly MCM, is that this could be equally compelling over a dining table from the Regency Period, as it could over one from the Arts and Crafts era, or perhaps even over the brand new Revolve 48” Round from Crate & Barrel I've shown above. For inspiration on a contemporary Secession influenced room, check out the room by Juan Montoya Design in the 2018 Kips Bay Decorator Show House.