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Stephen Coles (Stewf)
Oakland, CA
Interests: typography, bent plywood, hoop rolling
Recent Activity
http://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/index/leisure/museums-galleries/william-morris/development-project.htm “The William Morris Gallery is closed for redevelopment until July 2012.” Sad.
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This feed is now discontinued. A newly remodeled Mid-Century Modernist is at the same web address, but the new RSS feed is: http://feeds.feedburner.com/mid-mod . Update your readers! Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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This is a BT637 calendar clock by Pierre Bodet, produced in the ’70s. Here’s the patent (PDF). It sold on eBay today for nearly $400. This tasty bit of eye candy for flip clock fetishists brought to my attention the piece that was probably its inspiration: the Dator 5 designed by Gino Valle and manufactured by Solari Udine in the mid- to late ’60s. Here’s one in blue: And as luck would have it, a generous Dutchman, Raymond Van Orsoy de Flines, has published video of the Dator 5 and its dateless cousin, the Cifra 5, in action. Witnessing all... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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A member of our Flickr group submitted his latest acquisition, and it’s a humdinger: an ES 102 Intermediate Swivel Arm Chair. This is an Eames design I’d never seen before. A close relative of the Executive Chair, the ES 102 office chair was born in 1968 but discontinued five years later due to “high production costs”. A look at the complex intersection of the arm and side rail may explain why. Still, it’s a lovely thing with a much lighter feeling than the Executive. Romesh’s shot showcases the unique frame beautifully. A fine specimen of the Intermediate Chair is now... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
That's a top notch jury there. Really fine honor. You have arrived, sir.
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This shot of Steve McQueen posted by LIFE this week is the first image that has ever made me want to have a gun. But really, I’d rather have his pad. Found via Maury Postal Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
Stephen Coles (Stewf) is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 15, 2010
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M. Freeland of Los Angeles submitted this shot of her living room to our group years ago, but I just ran across it again and feel compelled to publish it here. This piece is such a graceful combination of the Danish classic coffee table and slat table. Anyone seen another like it? Update: May 1, 2010 — If you’re in the Bay Area, you can pick up this table right now. Jacob Zukerman spotted a nice one, along with a matching side table at Midcentury Modern Finds. They also ship. Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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Gallant & Jones of Vancouver make their beautifully simple deck chairs from black walnut and 100% acrylic fabric for years of use at the beach, park, or concert. Two models, one with pillow and removable fabric. Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
Perfect use of Softmachine: http://www.fontshop.com/fonts/singles/shinntype/softmachine_ot/
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2010 on ABC Paper Cup at TheDieline.com: Package Design
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This blog rarely delves into the 1970s, but Flickr group member Jessica.Nicole’s yellow Broyhill desk and dresser against an equally bold green wall was striking enough to cross us into that decade. A quartet of Planetron and Weltron 8-track players complete the journey. I can find very little on the web about this line of plastic Broyhill furniture. The company is known primarily for its wooden case goods and is a Dullsville, USA manufacturer these days. Update: Feb 1, 2010 — Jessica writes with more info about the set: The desk and dresser were part of a bedroom set. I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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“Ever the realist, he built his table for one.” — Unhappy Hipsters A new blog has arisen, and it’s brilliant. Yes, you can love every interior and still chuckle at every caption. Author, reveal yourself! Perhaps it’s a Dwell editor letting off steam. Perhaps it’s the photographer himself. Either way — speaking for modern design freaks — I condone taking ourselves less seriously. “Eames, Aalto — her most significant relationships were with dead designers.” — Unhappy Hipsters The sofa is by Mark Goetz, who is very much alive, but the joke is still funny. Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
“Rose Hall now/then”, recently submitted to our photo group by uwgb admissions And another great "then and now" shot from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay campus: Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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Desi is a new brand of contemporary carpets that are quite at home in mid-century modern interiors. Pictured: Tent Rocks. I haven’t really written about rugs and flooring on the blog because, frankly, I hadn’t found anything worthy of living under an Eames chair or Juhl coffee table. Unless you’re going the eclectic route, oriental rugs are generally out of order for modern design. And rugs with contemporary styling are often made by machines, using bleached and synthetic fabrics. They are mass-produced and they look that way. Of course there are always corners of the world where one can find... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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I’m lukewarm about West Elm. Their hollow, veneered case goods are at IKEA’s level but their prices are not. Still, I do have a few of West Elm pieces and I’m happy with them. And they are one of the few catalog companies producing original and affordable design that stays true to a minimal modern aesthetic. I also think they create some tasteful, if slightly sterile, rooms for their product photography. The latest West Elm catalog just arrived and it introduces a new color to their spare palette: yellow. Even their logo has changed to reflect it. Perhaps the brand’s... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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Marimekko is about to celebrate its 60th birthday and it feels as young as it did when it took modern textile design by storm in the ’60s. The Legendary Finnish brand continues to produce new and original design, yet everything still feels very Marimekko. Perhaps it’s because they are able to court designers who fit so well into their graphic mold. Maija Louekari is a fine example. After winning a Marimekko-sponsored design competition in 2003, she’s designed several prints and textiles for the brand. Her latest work is emblazoned on a new line of tableware called In Good Company: Oiva.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2010 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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Lookmodern has four cubes of Palaset storage from the 1960s in excellent condition. These sturdy cubbies are a simple way to add color to the office or kid’s bedroom. And you know they are tougher than today’s IKEA fare if they’ve survived over 40 years of use. Tough to find a good set of wide, shallow drawers too. The man behind the boxes is the Finnish Ristomatti Ratia. He’s the son of Armi Ratia, the founder of Marimekko and is still designing today. Read more about the Palaset series at Design of the Century. Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2009 at The Mid-Century Modernist
Prof. Michael Stoll writes: This signage from the ’60s I got from eBay a few years ago. It’s 2.60m wide and 0.5m tall. “Medicus” is the name of an orthopedic shoemaker. The signage had been on a building in Nürnberg/Bavaria. Like so much of mid-century modernism, this upright roman/script style of lettering has become quite en vogue these days. It’s lettering, of course, designed specifically for the the logo/sign, not from a typeface, but there are a few fonts which have a similar flavor. I made some lists at FontShop recently to lasso this and related genres: upright script fonts.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2009 at The Mid-Century Modernist
Prof. Michael Stoll writes: This signage from the ’60s I got from eBay a few years ago. It’s 2.60m wide and 0.5m tall. “Medicus” is the name of an orthopedic shoemaker. The signage had been on a building in Nürnberg/Bavaria. Like so much of mid-century modernism, this upright roman/script style of lettering has become quite en vogue these days. It’s lettering, of course, designed specifically for the the logo/sign, not from a typeface, but there are a few fonts which have a similar flavor. I made some lists at FontShop recently to lasso this and related genres: upright script fonts.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2009 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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I’m shocked and honored to see The Mid-Century Modernist is nominated for Apartment Therapy’s Homie Award. Head over and pick your favorites. You can nominate as many blogs as you like until December 29, then the top six from each category will advance to an official round of voting. Thank you to the kind souls who threw me into the ring! Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2009 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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This Jens Risom piece from Lookmodern is the kind of thing that would never be made today. Why have seat/table combinations disappeared? The angled magazine holder is a nice touch. Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2009 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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Designed by the NEL collective and manufactured by avant-garde Mexico City-based design firm Pirwi, the Quetza is a bookshelf that roughly resembles the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, who was shaped after a feathered snake. The piece can be leaned against a wall or supported by a table or chair, though no bolts or internal supports are needed. The design is available in a large (6-box) or small (3-box) version. Krik Gallery also has Priwi’s APC Lounge Chair. More from Pirwi below. Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2009 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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Everyone knows George Nelson’s whimsical wall clocks, but not until I ran into Wright’s latest auction did I realize how many models he made for the desktop. Creating a clock that has to sit upright on a table presents scores of design opportunities beyond just the face. Each of these pieces is a charming little trophy of mid-century modernism. Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2009 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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Speaking of Plycraft’s take on the Eames lounge, here’s one I’ve never seen before: a recliner with a built-in footrest. Many Plycraft lounges have the ability to do something an Eames 670/671 can’t do: tilt back. But this one extends a footrest as it reclines, doing the job of an ottoman in a fraction of the space. That’s right, a la Barcalounger. This is as close as you can get to a La-Z-Boy and still stay somewhat true to mid-century modernism. This naugahyde and walnut Plycraft was built in the ’60s. The seller makes the point that while you can... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2009 at The Mid-Century Modernist
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Plycraft is known for producing the most common mimicry of the famous Eames Lounge, but Über Modern has a less common version of Mulhauser’s lounge chair without tufting buttons and with a plywood base. As far as I know, it’s incorrectly labeled a “Mr. Chair” — that was the moniker for this Mulhauser model. Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2009 at The Mid-Century Modernist