To understand and appreciate in the most correct way the style of the 50’s furniture it is necessary to open a little parenthesis to understand what happened in those years with us in Italy. In fact, one cannot ignore the historical events and the social context that paved the way for Italian design in the 1950s and, in particular, decisive events such as war, reconstruction and post-war well-being cannot be overlooked.
- A look into the past
- Italian 1950s furniture: new shapes, colors and materials of the time
- The most illustrious examples of 1950s design in Italy
- Vintage 1950s furniture today
- Recreate the atmosphere of a 1950s living room
- Vintage in the kitchen: 1950s kitchen cabinet and sideboard
- The bathroom in the style of the 50s
- 1950s sanitary ware for a perfect vintage bathroom
- The bathroom tiles from the 1950s
- Classic bathrooms: a refined design for your journey through time
- How to furnish the bedroom in the 1950s style
A look at the past
After the world conflict, Italy is faced with the need to get back on its feet both from a social and an economic point of view: there is a need to rebuild streets, houses, cities and there is a need to put it back together a production system that until recently was based on channeling all its energies especially on military interventions. The war industry, which until then had been the fulcrum of the national economy, becomes a resource to be transformed and in which to invest in a completely new way. Placing the steel industry at the service of industrial production for construction and consumer goods seems to be an almost obligatory choice.
In our country, unlike other countries where design was already talked about in the previous two decades, in the 40s the concept of design still does not exist and the production of furniture is still linked to craftsmanship. The economic boom and the need to transform industrial resources from war to civil, combined with the successful combination of designers and entrepreneurs, lay the foundations for a rapid development of the mass production of furniture and furnishing accessories.
There is a need to have everything, easily and immediately, the housing concept has changed and the houses must be practical and efficient. After the economic hardship in wartime and the bombings that caused the loss of many homes and furnishings, we can finally look to the future with a spirit full of optimism. The post-war enthusiasm and the newfound economic peace give the impetus to conceive the home space as something that goes beyond what is strictly necessary, which can also be equipped with every comfort.
While technological development gives way to the production of the first household appliances, new materials such as plastic enter the production of objects of common use and artisanal production gives way to industrial design as we conceive it today. Cars, sofas, refrigerators, plastic and metal lamps, modular bookcases, typewriters, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, armchairs, food processors, chairs, toasters: everything can be designed and planned on a large scale. And the birth of Italian design, accessible not only to a small circle of consumers, but to what will become the national middle class. These are the golden years of Made in Italy, these are the years in which the Vespa and the Fiat 600 are born. Italian 1950s furniture: new shapes, colors and materials of
Beyond the innovations in the field of household appliances, and probably in the living room area, the Italian furniture of the 50s manages to express the best. Thanks to the birth of the TV, and in the living room that we spend most of the time, in the place where guests are welcomed. And therefore the living room is the room where one’s economic well-being is exhibited through the best objects.
The design language that was born in the 1950s is innovative both in the comfortable and essential shapes, and in the colors and their contrasting combinations: from pastel tones such as blue, lemon yellow, sage green or pink, to colors intense like orange, saffron and ruby red, up to darker shades like dark brown.
Despite today the lines of the 50s designmay appear retro, we must think that for the time they represented a completely innovative language: all the stylistic features and decorations of heavy handcrafted furniture are drastically abandoned, we try to experiment with a more functional and light language, to express to the maximum the creativity of the designers and to exploit the technological skills of the time as much as possible. In light of this, the minimalism and essentiality of the 50s appear even more evident as elements of rupture and revolution and one can appreciate more the innovation in the curved shapes of the seats, in the ergonomics of the enveloping armchairs, in the use in plastic, wicker, foam rubber and rush or in the bold chromatic combinations of materials and fabrics. Furniture that can adapt, to be moved, to be used in everyday life. This is thanks to the continuous search for quality and innovation.The most illustrious examples of 1950s design in Italy
There are many 1950s design products that have been so successful that they have entered the history of furniture as cult pieces. Let’s make a quick excursus just to refresh the memory of those who do not know that in those years these objects saw their conception and realization.
Let’s start with the seats, with light and ergonomic shapes, captivating and essential in their pure lines: like the modular Lady armchair produced by Arflex and designed by Marco Zanuso in 1951, for example, unmistakable for its metal structure, the solid wood armrests. and foam padding; or Margherita, the curved cane armchair by designer Franco Albini, famous for its sinuous and soft lines, also produced in 1951; the famous Superleggera by Cassina, designed by the happy hand of Gio Ponti in 1957, which takes its name from the extremely light structure in ash wood and seat in rattan cane; the Lounge Chair produced by Vitra, with back and seat made of plywood, then upholstered in leather, designed by the Eames in 1956; the Cubo armchair,
Always among the creations of the Italian 50s furniture we also find the table with T10 glass top which made history for its typical chromed brass, produced by Azucena in 1957 on a design by Luigi Caccia Dominioni and the Infinito bookcase, designed by Franco Albini for Cassina in ’56, light and flexible due to its modular wooden composition, still today one of the most imitated furnishings among the products of the time. How can we forget the light design sector, with masterpieces such as the Luminator lamp and the Arco lamp by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, both produced by Flos in 1955 and 1962 respectively.we must also strictly mention the leading role of household appliances such as the unmistakable Smeg FAB28 refrigerator from 1950. Much imitated and still current today, this type of refrigerator, with its rounded shape, important handle, lively color and logo in evidence, does not at random and a classic from the fifties still in production by the company in class A +. Vintage 50s furniture today
For lovers of retro style, choose to include some object of vintage 50s furniture inside your homeit can turn out to be a choice of great style. Without falling into the excess of recreating completely themed environments, it will be more effective to select a few details that, in the ensemble of a minimal atmosphere, can add an extra touch of character.
You can really indulge yourself in choosing the most suitable detail for yourself and your space: a piece of furniture with metal inserts to give a light point to the living room or a pastel-colored sideboard to make the dining area more cheerful, a sophisticated coffee table with a crystal top with a Nordic design or armchairs with soft lines to combine perhaps with an antique table, stools with vinyl seat for a peninsula kitchen or an arc lamp to illuminate the sofa area. If it could be more complex and expensive to find original pieces in modern antique shops, alternatively there are many examples now on the market of furniture and accessories inspired by vintage 50s furniture ., you just need to know how to choose quality products that can come as close as possible to the original style. Recreating the atmosphere of a 1950s living room
In the space of the living room all the peculiarity of the aesthetic language of the 1950s is expressed. This is the place that welcomes friends and acquaintances, where the taste of the homeowners is best shown and the first taste of the atmosphere of a home is given. To give life to the charm of a 1950s living room, it is necessary to pay attention to the characteristics of some fundamental elements of the furniture. Alternatively, an object with special lines and shapes, reminiscent of the ferments of the post-war decade, can be enough to ignite the flicker of suggestion.
The king of the living room, the inevitable piece of furniture that elects a room to the dignity of a living room and undoubtedly the sofa, a soft, comfortable, reassuring refuge where you can spend moments of serenity after an intense day in the office, after the study and during the ends week. To give the right retro touch to your 50s-style living room, you can first of all focus on the face impact of the sofa, lying on a soft carpet in a neutral or compact color with bright colors.
The typical 1950s sofainscribes in its forms a hymn to comfort. The high backrests, the swollen armrests, the abundant padding that determines the rounded volumes make the post-war sofa the perfect bed in which to doze off, but also the most comfortable seat to try to keep your eyes open in front of a film, with greater or less success depending on the ability of director and actors.
The upholstery of a 1950s-style sofa can be in leather, brown, with an aged effect and iridescent shades. Another classic of the post-war decade style is the sofa upholstered in velvet, a sturdy material, which gives rise to a characteristic brightness and is preferred in darker shades. For the more eccentric there are patterned fabrics, in pastel shades, which envelop and enhance the majesty of the seat.
If the sofa in the style of the 50sshe plays the part of the sovereign in a retro living room, her handmaids are the armchairs, which are themselves fundamental elements of the most convivial room in the house. Also in this case, in choosing the model that best suits your tastes, to marry the vintage styles it is good to prefer sinuous shapes and rounded volumes. The upholstery of the 1950s armchairs can be in soft colors, such as apple green, blue, cream yellow.
To complete the harmony of a 1950s-style living room or to give a retro suggestion to the most on display place in the house, it is possible to combine the rest of the furniture with a prism coffee table, with a geometric support structure reminiscent of the polyhedron of the same name, or a reading lamp with a floor base, or an ornament like the old Bakelite telephone, with that big wheel to turn to dial the numbers and the rounded handset.
Vintage in the kitchen: 1950s kitchen cabinet and cupboard The 1950s kitchen was made up of several modules, detached from each other and simply placed side by side. Thus the characteristic piece of furniture of the 1950s kitchenand actually a set of wall units with long doors with sinuous lines and rounded cube blocks where there are burners, ovens, storage spaces and other appliances that you want to add.
The atmosphere of the place must be harmonious, relaxed and welcoming. Pastel shades or white are preferred, colors that accentuate the brightness, but leave a feeling of softness of the whole, of moments of friendly and family conversation. In fact, in the kitchen, dishes are prepared for the whole family, which are sometimes eaten in the intimacy of the home just a few steps from the stone or wooden worktop, amidst the scents of spices and freshly baked biscuits.
To make the place of delicacies and flavors even more retro, it is possible to choose one50’s style sideboard , one of those with many drawers in painted wood, with round knobs, and some shelves open, or closed by a transparent glass door. The bathroom in the 50s style
The bathroom in the 50s style plays on the contrast of black and white, light and shadow. The lines of the bathroom fixtures are sinuous, rounded. The washbasin is not recessed, but extends into a ceramic support structure that covers the connection to running water. The mixer knobs are gold or silver.
The overall effect is that of a functional sobriety that stands out in the rounded volumes. In a retro bathroom reminiscent of the 1950s, you can install a chain flush toilet, one with the mechanism enclosed in a plastic or ceramic container, not inserted in the wall.
Another important element is the mirror above the sink, large and simple, without elaborate frames, rectangular, round or oval. 1950s sanitary ware for a perfect vintage bathroom
A bathroom completed in the 1950s vintage style and characterized by the use of cold colored materials. The combination with different black wrought iron accessories is really a must if you want to perfectly follow the style of the atmosphere of those years. The 1950s sanitary warethey take on the role of protagonists together with the washbasins, imposing and rounded elements. The sanitary facilities are not minimalist at all, on the contrary: they have massive and bulky shapes, but always elegant, perfect for the vintage taste. The 1950s bathroom tiles
The coverings of a 50s style bathroom are preferably made with neutral colored tiles. Light gray and white are suitable colors for the walls, while the alternation of black and white, as in a checkerboard, is the best choice for the floor, which can be embellished with geometric patterns, perhaps by choosing small hexagonal tiles.
Tiles in a 1950s style bathroomthey are an inevitable element and they revive all the essential elegance of the stylistic code of the post-war era. The bathroom tiles from the 1950s still tell of a space linked to function, which remains discreet and does not use intricacies to catch the eye. Classic bathrooms: a refined design for your time travel
If you totally love the style of the 50s, you just have to surf the web and discover all the brands that produce classic bathrooms of that period. You will discover washbasins, tubs, bathroom fixtures and floors with attention to the smallest details, to allow you to perfectly recreate an environment that is almost immune to the passage of time. A classic 1950s bathroomit is not necessarily not very functional, but on the contrary now they are articles with a precious and absolutely excellent design. Modern techniques combine with the shapes of a distant time, so as to create vintage furnishings perfect for a 2020
home . sobrieta in the heart of the house. The material that best interprets the time is wood in its warmest shades. The furniture with tapered legs and simple volumes are suitable for enhancing the retro taste of the room.
A large chest of drawers can be the right choice to equip a wall, underneath a mirror. The 1950s-style bedroom bed abounds in proportions, has a comfortable headboard, possibly padded, and is complemented by bedside tables with narrow drawers and brass handles.
Retro – style reading lamps are a functional and inevitable complement to complete a room full of suggestions. They look like colorful, eye-catching hats that protrude from slender metal support structures reduced to the essentials. The main lighting of the room can be constituted by a chandelier applied to the center of the ceiling, which in the essential lines recalls the sumptuousness of the candelabra.
The wardrobes of a bedroom in the style of the ‘yearsthey have a certain visual weight. They are made of wood, supported by thin feet, with profiles sometimes worked with overhanging decorations. A full-height mirror is applied to one or more cabinet doors, a useful trick to take a quick look at yourself in the morning before going out, but also to give visual breadth to the spaces.