MID-CENTURY MODERN MARVELS OF INSTAGRAM

September 12, 2019

While the rest of the world is tagging their MCM Man-Crush-Mondays, we have our eye on the original acronym holder: Mid-Century-Modern. If you’re a Mid-Century Modern obsessive, you’ll know that Mid-Century Modern is really more than a design trend; it’s a lifestyle. We’ve collected ten of our favorite MCM marvels from Instagram that are making us fall in love with the style all over again.

Planchart Villa, Caracas

Commissioned by art collectors Anala and Armando Planchart, the Planchart Villa is a work of art in itself. Designed by the legendary Gio Ponti, this Venezuela estate in the hills of Caracas is filled with custom furniture created specifically to complement the space and Planchart’s art collection. One glance at the beautiful mosaic marble floor, the delicate glass mosaics along the walls, and the space visually consumes you, as elements like the octagonal dining table fool you into believing their direct extensions of the walls and floor. Overhead, the room gets another dose of fearless style with the yellow striped ceiling which visually pulls the room together without feeling like a spectacle. A wondrous testament to both the Mid-Century Modern and Italian Modernism movements, the Planchart Villa can be toured today thanks to the unyielding efforts of the Planchart Foundation.

Solo Office House, Matarraña

Sitting on top of a plateau in the mountainous region of Matarraña, Spain, the Solo Houses are a group of contemporary holiday homes that blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. The Solo Office, designed by Kersten Geers and David Van Severen, is a simple circle with a diameter of 45 meters, supported by columns that separate living spaces into distinct sections. The space offers complete 360-degree views, with glass and mobile metal mesh panel exterior walls that offer both shade and privacy. The epitome of indoor/outdoor living, every detail (such as the transparent pool furniture) has been considered to highlight the crystalline pool and pine-brushed landscape beyond. If you’re looking for the ultimate, one-of-a-kind getaway, the Solo Office is booking now.

TWA Hotel, New York

Designed in the 1960s by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, this one-time John F. Kennedy airport terminal was originally built for Trans World Airlines, which operated until 2001. Following the closure of Trans World Airlines, the terminal it went through a major overhaul and in May 2019 it opened as the TWA Hotel. Lubrano Ciavarra Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle worked on the renovation of the structure, while INC Architecture & Design took to rethinking the internal spaces. Step inside and you’ll find that innovation abounds at every turn in the hotel. A curved roofline and glass curtain walls were carefully constructed to block out runway noise, while the sunken lounges in the lobbies were literally crafted on site with poured concrete.

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Los Angeles

With its quadrant of cylindrical towers, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles is a Postmodern icon, but step inside and an undeniable Mid-Century Modern influence takes hold. With floating balconies jutting from massive spiraled walkways, this space mimics a giant labyrinth, with hidden gems waiting to be discovered around every corner. Integral to the design is the natural light. Glass ceilings let in L.A.’s near perpetual sun, highlighting the contrast between the building’s industrial materials and more luxurious accents, such as the channeled red leather benches adorning the floating balconies. This space is truly like no other, simultaneously nailing Mid-Century Modern and futuristic vibes.

Puro Hotel, Warsaw

The Puro Hotel, located in Warsaw, Poland, captures the spirit of centrally-located Warsaw, with a striking mix of vintage European finds and traditional Asian influences. The mind behind it all was London-based studio DeSallesFlint, who not only bridged two cultures, but intermixed elements of Warsaw’s traditional tenement houses and its modern high-rises. Nowhere is their masterful curation more apparent than in the hotel’s lobby, where futuristic wingback chairs are backed by wood-paneled walls and massive archival maps of the city. Elsewhere, ottomans and sofas showcase modern silhouettes, but integrate traditional embellishments like tassels and channeled tufting as an homage to the city’s storied past. With its inviting sense of eclecticism, the Puro Hotel lobby is the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring a new city or to catching up with old friends.  

Cloud of Luster Chapel, Himeji

This futuristic building is the Cloud of Luster Chapel, the latest addition to the popular La Viena Wedding Ceremony Hall in Himeji, Japan. Designed by Tetsuya Matsumoto, the chapel looks like an actual dream, as sleek curves form a cloud shape and a backlit glass aisle ties in the all-white color scheme. The interior consists of minimalist benches with no back or armrest, and softly curved columns that seem to drip down from the ceiling. All the technical details, like air conditioning and sound systems, are skillfully hidden in the curved walls, creating a completely clean space. Instead of adding ornamentation or accessories to the interior design, the focus lies in the unique building itself, reflected onto the surrounding pool of water.

Palácio do Planalto , Brasilia

Turning the notion of grim government buildings on its head is the Palácio do Planalto, located in the capital city of Brasilia, Brazil. Designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1958, the building was recently restored in 2009. A masterful play on perspective, the building features sail-like columns which support an elevated walkway that surrounds the perimeter of the glass-walled building. Thanks to the multiple elevations and soaring columns, the building yields marvelously contrasting views depending on where an onlooker is standing. This simple and elegant shot captures the essence of modern design: dynamic silhouettes with a natural integration into the surrounding landscape.

Sheats Goldstein Residence, Los Angeles

Nestled into the side of a Los Angeles canyon, the Sheats Goldstein Residence is a glass and concrete work of art. In 1961, architect John Lautner designed the home meshing the outside and inside, before passing on the torch to current owner James Goldstein, who has continued to innovate the space. Though Goldstein hasn’t changed much about the original design of the building, he has added hidden surprises throughout, such as a glass sink with no faucets and a wooden ceiling that conceals a drop-down TV. Among the most spectacular elements of the residence is the home’s tessellated ceiling which extends from the interiors over the outdoor pool. At once cave-like and gravity-defying, the ceiling harks to Mid-Century Modernism’s eye for elevated function. In 2016, Goldstein announced that his landmark Los Angeles residence will be donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, percolating hopes that one day we’ll be able to see this masterpiece in the flesh.

Stahl House, Los Angeles

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Proving Los Angeles is the ultimate Mid-Century Modern goldmine is the Stahl House, also known as Case Study House #22. When Clarence Stahl bought the picturesque hilltop lot in 1954, he had big plans, and in 1959, he found the perfect architect to help him execute them. Enter: Pierre Koenig. Using unconventional materials like steel, Koenig was able to achieve the dream home Stahl had imagined and then some. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows offer unobstructed views of downtown L.A., and create a perfect transition between the indoors and the pool area. This Historic-Cultural landmark of Los Angeles is open for visiting several days a month, making it a mandatory stop for any Mid-Century Modern devotee.

Frey House II, Palm Springs

Imagine waking up next to a rock. Albert Frey took indoor/outdoor living to a whole new level with the design of his second Palm Springs home, known as Frey House II. Parked on one of Palm Spring’s lunar-like hillside, the Frey House II was completed in 1964 and at the time was at the highest elevated residence in the city. In designing this space, Albert Frey took every aspect into consideration, measuring the movement of the sun to ensure optimal lighting and book-matching the home’s color scheme to the native flora of the desert. In order to build the home’s bedroom, he carefully surveyed the contours of the protruding boulder to ensure the glass wall would fit snugly around it. Similarly, the angle of the roof was set to match that of the terrain. Today, the Palm Springs Art Museum operates tours of the home for anyone vying to get an up-close look at this real life Bedrock.

Lead photo by Anna Stathaki / Photo courtesy of Puro Warszawa Centrum