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The Classic Touches of Mid-Century Modern Design

March 4, 2014
The Classic Touches of Mid-Century Modern Design

If you’re an admirer of mid-century modern design, you’ll find a striking collection of reimagined pieces throughout NIZUC Spa & Resort. Architect and interior designer Alejandro Escudero has added chic mid-century touches to his twenty-first century design by including an ensemble of handcrafted seating that recalls the elegant and timeless furniture of the late 1940s and ‘50s.

As America reveled in the prosperity and optimism of post-World War II, the era saw a profusion of creativity and invention in architecture and design. Furniture designers and craftspeople explored new machine-made materials to create innovative forms, textures, colors, and effects; and the result was understated furniture distinctive for its clean lines, gentle organic curves, classic aesthetic, and sense of sculpture. Combining tubular steel or wooden framework with upholstery or plastic in vivid colors such as red, blue, or green, the furniture was an embodiment of a ‘modern’ America.

The style has enjoyed a popular revival in the last two decades, and the works of illustrious mid-century craftspeople continue to inspire contemporary designers today. Look around NIZUC’s magnificent lobby, gorgeous restaurants, and luxurious suites and you’ll find many of their influences as Escudero and design companies such as Urbana, Gervasoni, and Janus et Cie reinterpret iconic mid-century pieces in tropical wood and recycled teak.

In the restaurant Ni, solid wood stools mimic the form of Charles and Ray Eames’s molded plastic DAR Dining Chair with Eiffel Base (1948), their bucket seats raised on four elongated legs. In the Spa, superbly comfortable wingback chairs, rendered in neutral colored cord and black metal, are a modern version of Hans Wegner’s Papa Bear Chair (1951), originally upholstered around a solid beech wood frame. A large rough-hewn seating bench near the lobby is akin to the exquisite furniture of woodworker George Nakashima, and a variety of chairs throughout the resort embody sculptural forms similar to models by Finn Juhl, Vladimir Kagan, and Arne Jacobsen, amongst others.

Distinctively designed and lovingly crafted, the visual and tactile qualities of these clean, curvilinear forms, warm colors, and comfortable materials contribute to NIZUC’s understated style and welcome familiarity.

Written by: Rebecca Gross, Graduate student, MA in the History of Decorative Arts and Design, Following a Six Week Tour Of Latin America