We clearly have mixed feelings about Mid-Century Modern furniture here at Core: on one hand, it's past its heyday (as its very name suggests); on the other hand, it has become a classic—if not altogether timeless—aesthetic in itself.
The recent rediscovery of Hans J. Wegner's "Oculus" chair—designed in 1960 but forgotten until 2009—then, is effectively beyond criticism: of course it hearkens to a previous era, precisely because it is from the middle of last century. The New York Timesreports that the chair resurfaced in "an e-mail from the Wegner studio [to Carl Hansen & Son] with a picture of the chair from a 1968 magazine."
Yet it's considered a new model, because the long-lost design never made it to production; apparently a single prototype survived the past half-century:"Normally, when we develop or relaunch an old product, we buy it at auction and cut it in two to see what it's like on the inside," Mr. Vagner [President of Carl Hansen Corp.] said. But since it was the only one, they had it scanned in 3-D, so they could see the interior.
Where staid brands such as Fritz Hansen have invited established designers to expand the horizon of their offerings within a minimalist aesthetic, there is certainly a sense that the style itself is not quite. (Carl Hansen & Son, for their part, have been more conservative with their recent designs.)
And while it's strange to imagine Wegner designing beyond the grave, it's not often that you hear about posthumous furniture design... Who knows what other design gems have been lost to the sands of time?
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