Is There Value in Names?

by George Schwab

Is There Value in Names?

To answer my own question right off, yes.
Have you ever heard of The Beatles, Billy Joel, Rolex, Tiffany or Faberge’? Do you recognize the names, Bentley, Ferrari, Bugotti, Mercedes Benz or Jaguar? Can you remember Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Steve McQueen or Ava Gardner?

Sophia Loren and Steve McQueen

I could go on in this vein for days but I think I’ve made my point. The names above all have a reputation for high quality and not just high quality but the highest quality. Generation after generation, decade after decade, year after year these names have conjured up images in our minds and hearts of the very best, most beautiful, most creative, of the highest craftsmanship and with the aching beauty that makes our soul sing and at the same time leaves us with a dagger in our hearts.

Well midcentury modern furniture is no different. The genre’ has its own superstars, their names are Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, Arne Vodder, Ib Kofod Larsen, Kai Kristiansen, Greta Jalk, Adrian Pearsall and George Nelson just to name a few. There are many more, and just like the lists above, the products that are associated with their names are of the highest quality in design and craftsmanship.

Arne Vodder desk with Folke Paisson side chair.

Story: We have a very good friend who is an outstanding musician. He has the delicate sensibilities of a Mandarin about music and the skills it takes to produce it. But when it comes to furniture, he can’t tell good from bad, quality from dreck or the transcendental from the mundane. We are trying to educate him and may be making some headway, but the work is hard. And he is not alone, even among us who love MidCentury Modern Design.

Jens Risom arm chair.

The comments we see in social media, when it comes to modern design, run the gamut from downright stupid to keenly insightful and from mindless rants to delicate nuance. The photos fall in a similar continuum, from grossly ugly to furniture of sublime beauty and the meaninglessly decorated to objects so gorgeous that they stop you in your tracks. Some of you, out there, may call me an effete snob. I’ll argue with the effete part but I am definitely a snob, and I don’t think that’s bad. In fact, Barbara and I have struggled for over 50 years with the physical and graphic environment to find beauty and meaning. We’ve studied, practiced, worked, sweated and cried, both of us, over the years, to be true to and achieve the highest standards. We haven’t and don’t always make it to our standards and goals but we haven’t given up the fight.

MidMod Decor now and in the future will continue to try to bring you the best in Mid Century Modern design.

Header picture top: High backed lounge chair (GE-290A) by Hans Wegner was designed in 1953. Harry Bertoia was one of the great cross-disciplinarians of 20th-century art and design and a central figure in American modernism. He is known for the wire-lattice “Diamond” chair and its variants such as the tall-backed “Bird” chair  (shown here) designed for Knoll Inc. and first released in 1952.


Jørgen Bækmark arm chair. Greta Jalk end table. Ib Kofod Larsen bent plywood arm chair.