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A Love Hate Relationship: Mid-Century Modern

[ By Diyana J , 27th May 2021 ]

I had no idea what to think of him when I first met him- (my) MCM or better known as Mid-Century Modern. He’s a concept who is ever-evolving and never stagnant. He always changes his tastes and preferences. From time to time, he might even experiment with industrial touches or modern minimalism, sometimes even bohemian. I don’t know what to think of him- he’s intriguing but also borderline reckless.

Photo by Irfan Rosli

The ‘he’ I’m referring to is by far, the interior design style that has garnered the most interest in design geeks and home interior fans alike. He gives off a lived-in aura, much different to what a strictly modern or industrial style can bring to the table. Think warm and homely, versus cold and sterile. Experimental yet purposeful, versus direct and stagnant. These I think, are the key qualities that the mid-century modern concept can bring into a space.

“But what intrigues me is how intimidating he truly is; he brings upon limitless possibilities.”

Photo by Irfan Rosli

The first time I spoke to the crew about him, I was absolutely overwhelmed- it felt like I’d gone bungee jumping or been dragged along into a haunted house for the first date. It was clearly unfamiliar territory but the more I learn about him, the more comfortable I begin to feel. From color palettes that span from neutral colors of beige, cream and black to your pops of olives and golds, teals and royal blues, blush pinks and oranges. The same goes for materials; black iron industrial pipes, marble table tops and dark concrete floors. He loves trying new styles and features and is never afraid to step into unfamiliar territory.

He’s very selective towards placement though. One wrong move and a space can look a little too modern, less spacious and more closed off. Sometimes, one might even make the mistake of turning a space into an ostentatious representation of your own character, rather than letting personality fill up the space naturally with its own charms, in a subtle and graceful manner. Think about the showrooms you’ve seen that look a little too staged and artistic. Ultimately, I personally prefer spaces that look lived in yet functional and inviting to its inhabitants.

The way I see it, I can describe MCM as having a balance in between two differing, directly opposing characteristics. For instance, the balance between the amount of teak and black iron in a space or green neutral hues on the walls against a dark concrete floor. It seems to me that there’s a certain ratio you need to hit to achieve this sort of balance in design. It’s been replicated thousands of times; for instance, using modern sleek lighting fixtures to light up wooden pin leg dining tables or contrasting statement longue chairs against terrazzo walls.

“However, this all leads to one question; will this relationship become one worth the investment?”

Photo by Irfan Rosli

As with real-life relationships, I don’t hold the answer for you but I might be close. Let’s face it, there are so many styles to choose from that you’re absolutely spoilt for choice. But and this is a big but, if you’re the kind of person who likes to change it up every once in a while, throw in a little bit of color to an otherwise neutral palette or play mix and match with dining chairs and couches, coffee tables and console tables, I’d highly recommend looking into mid-century modern- he always has something new to offer after all.


Photos by Irfan Rosli (@_roniin)

Location: Urban Salvation Main Gallery

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