It’s 2017 – the end of February to be exact, and we can all agree that its time for all this rain (and snow for some folks) to subside.
Another thing on my mind – 2017 Interior Design Trends.
In recent years we’ve seen an array of highly stylized interiors – from the very industrial, steampunk-meets Prohibition aesthetic, to the playful-meets-symmetrical, color-contrasted Hollywood Regency style. We’ve been witness to almost every era in the 20th Century, like a passenger in a fast-traveling time machine. And as Doc said from Back to the Future, “your future is what you want, so make it a good one”. And designers did. Did they ever.
So what is the new big thing for 2017? For starters, we’ve set our first and most anticipated stop on our time machine to the 1950’s and 60’s. It was a time of re-claimed prosperity – a new era for a new generation of baby boomers and a re-awakening of form and function, all centered around the middle-class American home. That style is Mid-Century Modern, and we’re all about it!
In honor of our very first and true love, Mid-Century Design , we want to educate you on this new trend and…. what better way to do it than featuring one of the greatest – Paul McCobb.
PAUL McCOBB 1917-1969
Paul was born to Raymond and Winifred McCobb on June 5, 1917, in Massachusetts, shy almost 10 years of the wake of the Great Depression. Paul, from a very young age, knew his passion was art and therefore studied art, drawing, and painting at the Vesper George School of Art in Boston. As the War came to fruition, he left to enlist in the Army as a Private but in 1942 but was medically discharged in 1943.
Just 5 years later, he came to prominence as a design and decorating consultant for Martin Feinman’s Modernage Furniture in New York City where he met furniture distributor B.G.Mesberg, later becoming his business partner.
Mesberg and McCobb developed 2 new affordable, modular, and very practical lines – Planner Group and Directional Group, earning him an American household name – literally! Subsequently it was one of the top selling furniture lines of the 1950’s and in production from 1949-1964. Paul McCobb became known as “America’s Decorator” as he launched these lines America had fallen in love with.
His designs were as sleek as they were practical, affordable, and versatile in compact spaces. Their beauty from every angle was meant to evoke the psychological effect making the space look bigger.
From there, he was enlisted to design radios and televisions for CBS-Columbia, Hi-Fi Consoles for Bell & Howell, along with wallpapers , tableware, lighting, and even electric organs! Yes – organs the whole family can play today!
As a result of his achievements, he was the honored recipient of the MoMA’s Good Design Award 5 times between 1950-1955. He also received the Philadelphia Museum of Arts’ Contribution to Better Design Award in 1959. He later went on to form partnerships and design collaborations with the Calvin Furnture, Custom Craft, Metric Group, CBS, H. Sacks & Sons, Electro Voice, Goodyear, and St. John Seating Corp. – just to name a few!
Paul McCobb Design Characteristics
- Tapered lines, especially seen in furniture legs
- Low heights
- Thin metal furniture legs
- Back to basics approach
- Use of teak, walnut, and shiny leathers in olive, robin’s egg blue, and textured upholstery
- Bare-bones construction
And… if you find you’re being visually transported to a Mad Men episode, you’re certainly not alone, darling! McCobb’s designs pioneered this minimalist and mass-produced furnishing movement, leading the way to the Celebrity Designer, in which the named pieces they designed became icons that have stood the test of time, such as the Eames and LeCorbusier – names synonymous with their actual designs. McCobb was also well known for his “Living Walls”, which are very back in style, and allowed one to have moveable storage systems that also created a modular space separator. The effects of WWII allowed him a plentiful market for moderately-priced, design-savvy pieces that the Middle Class could afford during this time of recovery.
Back by popular demand, these mid-century designs, such as a McCobb console, are now readily available among trendy and mall furniture retailers. But, if you want the “Real McCobb”, you’ll have to snatch up them at retailers such as ours;) We hope you enjoyed this education just as much as we did and are excited to move onto the 60’s in our next groovy blog!