Episode 102 - Mid-Century Modern

Text by Lukas Machnik Interior Design

This week's challenge was to fully remodel a pair of Mid-Century modern vacation homes in Palm Springs, California. The designers remained split into two teams, each challenged to reinterpret this iconic style.

Mid-Century modern (MCM) is a style that typically describes developments in architectural, interior and product design from the 1930s to 1960s. In postwar America, MCM was a reflection on the International Style and Bauhaus movements, and was an attempt to bring European modernism to the nation's masses.

1950s America saw its architectural and residential landscape redefined by a drastic housing boom. In Palm Springs, 1957 - Architects Dan Palmer and William Kristel approached the Alexander Construction Company with a new concept: to build stylish modern tract homes, with clean lines and simple elegance that were both affordable and efficiently producible. Alexander homes quickly became the new standard of living, with over 2,000 residences built over the span of 10 years.

Each given an Alexander home to restore, the two teams of designers approach this challenge with very distinct, unique perspectives. Led by Andrew Flesher, Team Blue creates a warm ambience with eclectic, contemporary accents; Team Red, under Lukas Machnik's direction, produces an organic, minimalist atmosphere with additional hints of modern art and furniture.

STYLE GUIDE - TEAM BLUE: Eclectic/contemporary interpretation on Mid-Century modern home. The team goes for a mix of contemporary and modern aesthetics, updating the home's interior and exterior to what's "now" and current. In the mix you will find a balance between contemporary furniture­­, modern art, soft surfaces, Asian influences, playful accents and a new take on period wallpaper. The overall palette has a rich, warm aesthetic, filled with strong pops of saturated color, and ultimately results in an updated, vibrant MCM look that's both cozy and casual-chic.

STYLE GUIDE - TEAM RED: Minimalist approach to the interior and exterior architecture; without complication and visual clutter, the interior is open and bright. A new point of view gives this Mid-Century modern design a timeless feel, just as the MCM style was intended to be. The minimalist architecture truly sets the stage for the team's central focus: to establish a strong collection of MCM furnishings and objects, found in this local mecca of design. In addition to the spaces they were responsible for, each team member was assigned a challenge - set by Machnik - to create an original piece of art. This point of view is truly reminiscent of Bauhaus and Mid-Century modern thought: to combine all disciplines of art and design in order to make a "total" work of art, a forward-thinking masterpiece.

To see photos and more commentary about this episode, click here.

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