Modular shelves in the mid-century styleTimeless elegance and simple form – these are the main features of the mid-20th century design. That is why modular shelves inspired by the mid-century style delight with their aesthetics and functionality. It can be assumed that this is the secret of their popularity – lovers of practical solutions and characteristic vintage aesthetics are very happy to use them to arrange their homes. How did the history of modular shelves in the mid century style begin? And how have they changed over the years?
At the beginning it is worth explaining what exactly is the mid-century style. It is a direction in interior and architecture design that took shape after the Second World War. It is assumed that in its original form it was in force until the second half of the seventies. Furniture and other elements of interior design, designed in accordance with this concept, were characterized by functionality, ergonomics and excellent durability. Let’s take a look at how modular shelving designs in the mid-century style have changed over the years.
Charles and Ray Eames – Eames Storage Units
In 1949, American designers created an innovative system of free-standing shelves and countertops, which today we would simply call modular shelving – at that time it was a revolutionary solution. Storage Units were quite cheap, enabling functional arrangement of smaller apartments. However, the American storage system, created from metal frames and plywood, was discontinued after only a few years. Fortunately, the idea of Charles and Ray Eames found followers.
Jaquin Tenreiro – Cabinet
In the early 1950s, the Brazilian designer built a slightly more massive but equally functional storage system. The segment made of rosewood resembled a piece of furniture that in Poland could be described as a massive “wall unit”. However, Tenreiro’s offer was undoubtedly practical and beautiful piece of furniture in the houses of the time. Since then, modular shelves have begun to evolve taking on “lighter” forms.
Bogusława and Czesław Kowalscy – “Wall unit”
It’s time for the famous polish example of a modular system. Boguslawa and Czeslaw Kowalscy designed furniture that changed Polish interiors for a long time. “Wall unit” was originally created for the furniture competition for small apartments; in 1961 the project went into mass production. The “prototype” of the Polish modular shelf made it possible to combine many different furniture segments into one coherent and very functional whole. Polish designers responded to the changing conditions of housing at that time – after the war, large apartments were divided into smaller ones. “Wall unit” not only changed the concept of storage, but also set the trend of combining the functions of individual furniture pieces – shelves, countertops, couches, desks and more.
Rajmund Hałas bookcase
This piece of furniture was designed in the 1960s for Bydgoszcz Furniture Factories. Professor Hałas’s bookshelf is characterized by an even more sophisticated form, which without a doubt is also inspiring for modern designers who create modular shelving systems. The revolutionary piece of furniture by Rajmund Hałas allowed “clever” joining of the shelves with steel clamps. This made personalization and any arrangement of individual levels of the rack possible.
Modular shelves in the mid-century style / modular shelves system
While designing our systems, we were also inspired by the functionality and “lightness” of the mid-century style. Our idea was to create beautiful and durable furniture that can be configured in any way – to completely match the interior design to your needs. The possibility of combining the functions of various furniture was also important to us. After all, wall unit system features not only modular shelving, but also sideboards, cabinets with drawers, glazed display cases, desks, benches. Thanks to this, it is possible to create a beautiful and comfortable arrangement of the living room, or the study or the children’s room. Combining individual elements of the system is of course not obligatory – each piece can successfully stand as an independent element of your arrangement.
See our mid century bookcases or Modular shelves in the mid-century style