Much of what we do here at Atomic Magpie is treasure hunting. Scouring markets, thrift stores, rummage and yard sales, we’re always on the lookout for the perfect mid-century pieces.
Recently, we stumbled across a treasure that made the hunt all the more sweet. A set of stunning hand crafted Russel Wright American Way wooden plates. Perfection!
Widely considered one of the fathers of mid-century modern design, Russel Wright was an industrial designer from the 1920s to the 1960s. Wright was known for his simple, modern lines, and designed furniture and homewares with the goal of bringing modern design to everyday homes. He is possibly best known for his line of dinnerware, the “American Modern” collection. His ceramic tableware, produced by Steubenville Pottery, is still wildly popular among collectors.
In the mid 1930s, Wright designed a limited line of handcrafted wood serving pieces, manufactured by the Klise Woodworking Company. These pieces, known as the “Oceana” collection, were part of a larger collection called “The American Way,” and are considered some of his most collectible, sought after pieces. Extremely rare, this collection is typically only found in auctions or on display in museums – and it is easy to see why. These hand turned pieces, made from Walnut, Olive Wood and Maple are sculpturally stunning.
The excitement of finding these pieces is a huge part of why we do what we do. We love the prospect of unearthing something special and sharing it with the world, and on this occasion, we were not disappointed!
My love of all things Mid Century left me with little choice but to get sucked into the vortex that was Mad Men (binge watching TV series on Netflix is a favorite past time round these parts) And as sad as I am to see it finish, its impact on modern design trends is undeniable. Even Target has come out with a range of Vintage Modern homewares and furnishings. Which is lovely, but to me, nothing beats an original piece. A sumptuous lava drip glazed lamp from the 50’s, a walnut end table from the 60’s…these things sing to me in a way that a replica can’t.
Of course much of the time spent watching each episode of Mad Men was spent coveting the gorgeous furnishings and backdrops. From divine credenzas to burnt orange sofas to atomic ashtrays and bronze crane statuettes, it was Mid Century perfection. Oh to be a set designer on Mad Men!
I seem to do this a lot. Another perfect example recently was Hitchcock’s 1958 movie “Vertigo”. Yes, the movie is visually stunning and the story captivates, but it was the little details that grabbed my attention. The coffee percolator in James Stewart’s apartment, the cocktail glasses in the restaurant, a pin on Kim Novak’s coat. All eye candy for the accessory obsessed. It’s not lost on me that a good portion of the movie was spent trying to determine the manufacturer of the white chair in Midge’s apartment – was it Woodard or was it Knoll – rather than following the storyline. It’s a bad case of mid-mod design ADD.
But…surely I can’t be the only one? What movies have hit you in the design bone? What movie or TV set would you love to ransack? Or replicate? We’d love to know!