Moulded plastics and plywood, tubular steel and light wood veneers are indicative of the mid-century furniture movement, which at the time of course, had no such label. Back in the 1950s the looks which were proliferating the furniture stores and magazines were simply considered to be new, innovative and by definition, ‘modern’. The stiff backed, dark woods and heavy formality of the preceding era’s styles were pushed aside in favour of the experimental designs and shapes that harnessed the new technologies and materials developed during the war. Not only did furniture become sleek and elegant, but better still, it became functional. Chairs and sofas were (finally!) transformed into items you could relax and lounge on, and the new democratic modular mix and match ranges of furniture freed up the consumer from buying things in matching ‘suites’. Now furniture could be re-arranged, interchanged or even folded or stacked away… Such changes to how people thought about and used furniture was absolutely revolutionary, so much so that some of the best designs from the era remain relevant and highly sought after to this day.
And so, with its sweeping curves, long, low lines and unadorned surfaces – save for the odd choice splash of colour through a well-chosen vase or lamp – the style of the mid-century perfectly lends itself to the smaller dimensions of our modern homes today. Factor in the ‘new normal’ of fast changing room requirements as our homes are expected to morph from home office and home school to chill out sanctuary, then the appeal of versatile furniture which can zone and multi task becomes even more acute.
John and Sylvia Reid’s S Range was designed in 1960 with exactly that kind of functionality in mind. Take their re-issued S203 Storage Unit… super stylish and functional, it is perfect as a console table, small sideboard or even as a dressing table. But, place two side by side, or in parallel and a room is suddenly given some substance and drama. Alternatively combine the S220 Shelf Unit with an S202 or S203 Storage Unit and you can create a design conscious dresser, perfect for a modern kitchen or dining room. And so the permutations continue…
Zoning can be achieved through the use of screens, storage and shelving units and light portable furniture such as the S401 Two Seater Sofa. Add colourful rugs to demarcate the zones along with impactful accessories such as large plants or tall vases filled with Pampas grasses to create instant luxe.
A further, often overlooked, champion of versatility is the dining room table. John and Sylvia Reid anticipated the conundrums this – essentially large – item of furniture can cause in a smaller proportioned modern home, which is why the S Range continues to offer three different styles of teak and brushed steel legged table. Where space isn’t an issue, the S211 Square Table is the perfect choice, extending to nearly two metres via a separate leaf which is stored within the table. Oval and round tables often work better where space is less generous and so the oval S210 has the best of both worlds, also including an additional extension leaf within. For homes which need a formal table only occasionally for special dining or indeed home schooling, then the S212 Drop Leaf is a stylish take on the archetypal gate leg, proffering the versatility of one or two leafs and ultimately extending from a mere 41.5cm to a generous 129cm.
For further styling inspiration take a look at our Instagram page @nathanfurniture2016
To view the full range or purchase, visit: www.johnandsylviareid.com