Mid-Century Modern Furniture Then and Now - Paradigm Gallery Blog

Mid-Century Modern Lighting for Every Style

Posted by Charu Gureja On January 23rd

We welcome our friend and guest blogger, Charu Gureja. “I’m an interior designer, passionate about interior spaces, architecture, furniture, lighting and art. Generally speaking, I enjoy anything and everything related to art and design! Growing up in countries like Egypt, Japan, Sri Lanka, India and Singapore, I’ve come to appreciate a wide variety of design principles.”  Pocket Full of Design . Charu brings to us her global point of view and her specific interest in modern lighting.


Like other elements of Mid-century Modern design, lighting fulfills both the aesthetic and functional needs of a space while eliminating the need for extraneous decoration. The fixtures have simple yet sculptural forms, which make them versatile enough to fit into spaces of any style, be it traditional, industrial, eclectic or contemporary.

Through the following examples I hope to inspire you to create your own unique look using Mid-century Modern lighting. The Paradigm Gallery website and blog are a great resource in terms of inspiration and products to help you along and I’m thankful to them for inviting me to share my thoughts here!


Read the rest of this entry »

Cheers and Chairs 2014!

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On December 31st

Paradigm Gallery is proud to offer products from several new partners. While we are restyling our website we have not shown the full  array of our new modern furniture options, but they will be coming soon. The new year, 2014, is an important beginning for Paradigm Gallery’s emphasis on modern designs manufactured in the USA and Europe. The emphasis is on environmental awareness in sourcing the materials and quality furniture.



The Osaka Chair



Lounge22 retail furniture and rental furniture is hand crafted in Los Angeles, California. Lounge22′s product is designed and fabricated with the highest level  of integrity.

Osaka Chair:  The Osaka makes use of future-forward technology to literally bend matter; in this case, sustainable bamboo. This beauty’s smart design and unequaled craftsmanship make it a timeless addition to any room. A signature addition to our collection, the Osaka Chair is part of Lounge22′s Green Line. Made from sustainable bamboo.






B&T       B&T B&T

The Nuans Collection is very young, utterly attractive modern furniture collection.Commercial grade, minimally designed, very unique furniture line. Nuans Collection specializes in hospitality seating in general and dining chairs in particular. The entire line is manufactured under one roof in our factory in Turkey, following European specifications.

B & T Design the words better, desirable, and worthy of choice lie at the heart of the brand

 Kubicoff artgallery

With use of modern materials Kubikoff Italy was able to reinterpret authentic icons of design. In this restyling, they collaborated with brilliant young architects, such as Sander Mulder, Ruud Bos, Jutta Friedrichs and the Stolt Design group.

The Kubikoff project is the result of international spirit and Italian labor. The winning commercial idea is to release immediately recognizable products at an accessible price. Today, Kubikoff manages to be one of the most attractive European design firm. Kubikoff is manufacturing tomorrow’s classics.





Zifg Zag Armchair Designer: Shell: Kubikoff lab / Base: Jutta Friedrichs

Zifg Zag Armchair Designer: Shell: Kubikoff lab / Base: Jutta Friedrichs





Diamond Patchwork Rock




 Made In Detroit  Möbel Link

 At Möbel Link, the passion for design is matched only by an unflagging commitment to operate in a manner that preserves and protects the earth’s resources. All Möbel Link furniture is made from sustainably grown and harvested, formaldehyde-free, multi-veneer Baltic birch plywood. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has certified the plywood used in Möbel Link furniture as environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable for  management of the world’s forests

Founder Alan Kaniarz is known around Detroit as a brilliant craftsperson and an innovator in the world of furniture design. Alan’s furniture can be seen at the Detroit Institute of Arts in the Modern wing. He was also recently chosen to re-create furniture for the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Turkel-Benbow House in Detroit.



The ZagZig chair responds to your movements. Handcrafted in Detroit, and made from sustainably grown and harvested plywood

The ZagZig chair responds to your movements. Handcrafted in Detroit, and made from sustainably grown and harvested plywood





Made in Detroit: Impeccable Craftsmenship

Made in Detroit the new modern look of American Furniture

Paradigm Gallery wishes all of our readers a New Year of Peace, and good health….cheers!


Gotham Lounge Chair from J Persing made in Pennsylvania

Gotham Lounge Chair from J Persing made in Pennsylvania

Architectural Lighting Nuances Nature

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On December 18th

The beautiful Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

The beautiful Solvesborg bridge in Sweden       

 Completed in 2013, the Solvesborg Bridge in Sweden is the longest pedestrian bridge in Europe. The bridge consists of a higher part made out of three characteristic vaults and a long wooden bridge for pedestrians. ljusarkitektur has developed a unique lighting scheme to enhance its landmark status. the use of color changing LED fixtures from lumenpulse graze the suspension cables of what is considered Europe’s longest bicycle and pedestrian viaduct.

The team of architectural lighting experts planned the lighting “with respect for the birdlife and is inspired by the migration of the birds during the whole year. In this way the character of the bridge changes over the year and the night. In addition to this there are a number of scenarios to be used for different events in the city.” http://www.ljusarkitektur.com/en/portfolio/solvesborg-bridge/

“The overall design was achieved without impacting on the local wildlife – to limit glare, the firm integrated deep, custom glare shields, which also hide the light sources. influenced by the surrounding fauna and flora, ljusarkitektur pushed the fixtures’ flexibility and controlability to program different color sequences throughout the year. managing to be both dynamic and understated, the glowing, reflective installation has turned the bridge into an attraction in its own right.” http://bit.ly/1hlrDLJ


I close with the words of Louis Kahn who was an architect known for his philosophy of incorporating natural light in his architecture. Indeed this project is LED lighting but the use of light takes it to another level and enhances the architectural grace of the structure and it’s setting.

“I sense a Threshold: Light to Silence, Silence to Light – an ambiance of inspiration, in which the desire to be, to express, crosses with the possible … Light to Silence, Silence to Light crosses in the sanctuary of art.”

Those who cross this bridge may not say these exact words but I am certain they experience “the sanctuary of art” this bridge gifts to the world.


Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

Solvesborg bridge in Sweden



Due to the length of the bridge, at intervals along the way parts of the nature have been accentuated with light, for example trees and reeds are lit.

Due to the length of the bridge, at intervals along the way parts of the nature have been accentuated with light, for example trees and reeds are lit.




Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

The Essence of a Miesian Dwelling

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On November 22nd

A winter view of the house in 1971, showing the original insect screening of the porch, and the roller shades added by the owner after the curtains were damaged by flood waters. image via Wikimedia Commons

A winter view of the house in 1971, showing the original insect screening of the porch, and the roller shades added by the owner after the curtains were damaged by flood waters. image via Wikimedia Commons

The Farnsworth House is a 1,500 sq.ft home designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1945-51. It is a one-room weekend retreat in a once-rural setting. The design is recognized as a masterpiece of the International Style of architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006, after joining the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.  The cost of project was $74,000 in 1951 ($648,000 in 2012 dollars). There was a cost overrun of $15,600 over the approved pre-construction budget of $58,400.  This created havoc,  lawsuits and counter lawsuits  ensued until the courts ordered Dr Farnsworth to pay her bill.



At his inaugural lecture as director of the department in 1938, Mies stated:

“In its simplest form architecture is rooted in entirely functional considerations, but it can reach up through all degrees of value to the highest sphere of spiritual existence into the realm of pure art.”

  This sentence summarized what had become Mies van der Rohe’s consistent approach to design: to begin with functional considerations of structure and materials, then to refine the detailing and expression of those materials until they transcended their technical origins to become a pure art of structure and space.

The dominance of a single, geometric form in a pastoral setting, with a complete exclusion of extraneous elements normally associated with habitation, reinforces the architect’s statement about the potential of a building to express “dwelling” in its simplest essence.


As Mies stated on his achievement, “If you view nature through the glass walls of the Farnsworth House, it gains a more profound significance than if viewed from the outside. That way more is said about nature—it becomes part of a larger whole.” Farnsworth House is the essence of simplicity in the purest form, displaying the ever-changing play of nature.




image via farnsworthhouse.org http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm

image via farnsworthhouse.org http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm


Information for this post was obtained from the following resources:   Wikipedia          http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm

Imperfection: A Look At Wabi Sabi

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On November 1st





  “Instinctively I was drawn to the beauty of things coarse and unrefined; things rich in raw texture and rough tactility. Often these things are reactive to the effects of weathering and human treatment.

And lastly, I was attracted to the beauty of things simple, but not ostentatiously austere. Things clean and unencumbered, but not sterilized. Materiality, pared down to essence, with the poetry intact.”  Leonard Koren   http://bit.ly/1dtfdzh


thursday’s child: wabi sabi

wabi sabi is flea market finds, not michigan ave purchases. it celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. it reminds us that we are all transient beings, that our bodies as well as the material world around us are fleeting. through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace wrinkles and rust, grey hairs and frayed edges and the march of time they represent. it’s a fragmentary glimpse of the part, not the whole, the journey not the destination.

http://bit.ly/1bu20Z0    The Space Between Ms. and Mrs.  A Blog Post




Wabi means things that are fresh and simple. It denotes simplicity and quietude, and also incorporates rustic beauty. It includes both that which is made by nature, and that which is made by man. It also can mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole, such as the pattern made by a flowing glaze on a ceramic object.


Sabi means things whose beauty stems from age. It refers to the patina of age, and the concept that changes due to use may make an object more beautiful and valuable. This also incorporates an appreciation of the cycles of life, as well as careful, artful mending of damage.

– “The Classic Tradition In Japanese Architecture: Modern Versions Of The Sukiya Style”, Teiji Itoh, Yukio Futagawa

Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional. … The closest English word to wabi-sabi is probably “rustic”. … Things wabi-sabi are unstudied and inevitable looking. .. unpretentious. .. Their craftsmanship may be impossible to discern. “




If we have not included appropriate information about any text or images please notify us and we will correct it.

Starchitecture’s Positive Impact on Museum Traffic

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On October 16th



Maman by Louise Bourgeois in front of The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain image via koikile on Flickr

Maman by Louise Bourgeois in front of The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain image via koikile on Flickr


Today’s museums are as much about the architecture as they are the collections within. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain was designed by Frank Gehry and was the starting point of a trend that still continues, often referred to as the Bilbao Effect. Simply put, Bilbao’s $200-million gamble bringing the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to the Basque region of Spain paid off, culturally and economically.  The Guggenheim Museum’s success in Bilbao did more than perhaps any other cultural institution to convince leaders and developers that where mega-projects go, economic transformation follows. (The Atlantic Cities.com.).

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill writes that over the past fifteen years, other cities sought to imitate Bilbao’s success by building new museums or museum additions designed by starchitects as part of civic renewal projects. Examples include the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Finland designed by Steven Holl, the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, England and the Royal Ontario Museum addition in Toronto, both designed by Daniel Libeskind, the Denver Art Museum addition designed jointly by Daniel Libeskind and a local architecture firm, and the Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration in Hartford, Connecticut designed by César Pelli. The Ars Aevi Museum in Sarajevo designed by Renzo Piano is to be opened in Sarajevo in 2014. All of these projects are meant to use the drawing power of a spectacular building to attract tourists and other visitors to cities that would not otherwise be major destinations.s, by OMA. (Philanthropy Daily).

To learn more about the Guggenheim Bilbao: visit little aesthete wonderful images and information….


In addition to being an architect, Steven Holl is also a watercolorist who uses this medium to explore the possibilities of light. Above is a watercolor "sketch" of one of his studio's latest projects, the Nanajing Museum. Read more: INHABITAT INTERVIEW: 7 Questions with Architect Steven Holl

In addition to being an architect, Steven Holl is also a watercolorist who uses this medium to explore the possibilities of light. Above is a watercolor “sketch” of one of his studio’s latest projects, the Nanajing Museum. Read more: INHABITAT INTERVIEW: 7 Questions with Architect Steven Holl


I offer to you, just for fun, Wikipedia’s lists of: Starchitects, Former Starchitects, and Canonic Architects

Starchitects: feel free to offer any names you feel should appear on these lists

Former Starchitects

Canonic Architects


Royal Ontario Museum-Studio Daniel Libeskind

Royal Ontario Museum-Studio Daniel Libeskind


The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (beeld en geluid).Image by Iwan Baan

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (beeld en geluid). Image by Iwan Baan


Museum of Biodiversity (or Biomuseo) Panama City, located in the alleged epicenter of biodiversity, Panama’s Biomuseo strives to tell compelling stories about nature’s wonders and thus stress the importance of their safeguarding. Architect Frank Gehry

Museum of Biodiversity (or Biomuseo) Panama City, located in the alleged epicenter of biodiversity, Panama’s Biomuseo strives to tell compelling stories about nature’s wonders and thus stress the importance of their safeguarding. Architect Frank Gehry











The Watermill Center is a wondrous world. It was founded in 1992 by stage director, playwright and visual artist, Robert Wilson. With a degree in Architecture from Pratt Institute  and enormous talents in painting, sculpting, furniture and lighting design, he is a genius in many arenas.




He has been described as a pioneer in the art world who has changed the way we look at theater, art and design. Here is a classic example of Robert Wilson’s unique approach and extraordinary vision.

When Robert Wilson sent his ‘shopping list’ for the contents of his installation for the Isamu Noguchi: Scultpural Design exhibition at the Design Museum in summer 2001, it included: nine tons of silver sand; six tons of black lava sand; numerous sacks of broken glass; scores of aluminium squares; several dozen of bales of fireproofed straw; and enough loose hay to build a haystack.

The result was a sensational sequence of galleries: one shrouded in darkness, the next brightly illuminated, followed by stepping stones tripping across an elegantly raked sea of sand and the icy white set elements from Martha Graham’s 1944 Herodiade standing in a lake of shattered glass.

It was an extraordinary tribute to the work of Isamu Noguchi, the American-Japanese designer-sculptor whom Wilson had befriended in the 1960s and 1970s while making his name as a promising young theatre director and designer in New York.


Isamu Noguchi Installation by Robert Wilson

Isamu Noguchi Installation by Robert Wilson

The Watermill Center describes themselves as an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities. They also are loosely, a museum. The Watermill Collection of over 7,000 art and artifact pieces spanning the history of humankind is integrated into all aspects of the building and grounds as a reminder that the history of each civilization is told by its artists.

One of the artists is Robert Wilson himself. When you visit the museum you will see some of the chairs he has designed. As of 2011 the collection of chairs numbered 1,000, including his designs and many international classics.

The center is set up as a laboratory for the arts and humanities to support the work of emerging artists. Watermill is a global community living and working together among the extensive collection of art and artifacts. If you are fortunate enough to be accepted into the Residency Program, then this is what you have access to: in Wilson’s words, “I maintain the space and allow others to interface with it, change it, and develop their own work in an aesthetic that can be completely different from my own.”


IMG_6679  IMG_6737











IMG_6648 (1)





Two Tourists


In conclusion we quote Robert Wilson from a story in Artspace , A Place Where We Ask Questions

When I was a student, I was assigned to design a city in three minutes. I handed in a drawing of an apple with a crystal cube in the center. When asked, I explained that it was my idea for a city—that our communities need centers like the crystal cube that can reflect the universe, the same way the cathedral was the center in a medieval village. It was the tallest building, the place where people congregated to exchange ideas; where artists showed their work; and where people came for contemplation and spiritual growth.

Watermill is such a center: a place where we ask questions. We must always ask, “What is it?” But we must not say what it is—for if we know what we are doing, there is no reason to do it.

I share Watermill with artists who are doing what no one else is doing. They continue to inspire me year after year.  Robert Wilson








Toyo Ito 2013’s Pritzker Prize Recipient

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On September 4th
This month we have a guest, Charu Gureja, from the blog, Pocket Full of Design.
Charu worked as an interior designer, and lighting designer for several years in Singapore, and now lives in San Francisco.  She is passionate about interior spaces, architecture, furniture, lighting and art. Her unique point of view has evolved through her years spent in countries such as Egypt, Japan, Sri Lanka, India and Singapore.

01, April 2013
“I’m thrilled to dedicate this post to Toyo Ito who recently received the Pritzker Prize for his architectural contributions spanning four decades! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the award, it’s basically the Nobel Prize for the field of architecture :-) .

I could hardly curb my enthusiasm when I heard of this announcement as Toyo Ito’s works were a source of great inspiration to me as a design student. His pursuit of beauty through simple and timeless designs still inspires me and I strive to achieve that in my own work. His works range from designing cups and saucers, mobile dog homes to multi story buildings!

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite Toyo Ito designs:



Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2002 in London, UK [via archdaily]:



Mobile Home for Shiba [via Architecture for Dogs] – Do check out the adorable video on how this home was created on the website!


Ripples Bench for Horm (created using 5 layers of these solid woods: Walnut, mahogany, cherry, oak and ash):




What do you guys think of his work? Has he rightly earned his place in the Pritzker hall of fame along with I.M. Pei, Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando and the likes?”

Please visit Charu Gureja at Pocket Full of Designs where she discusses topics such as interior design, lighting, and architecture.



InteriorDesign: Embracing an Eclectic Style

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On August 12th


Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to “mix it up” when decorating a space. An eclectic approach, or mixing it up refers  to combining seemingly disparate styles of furniture and accessories. That could include: an industrial coffee table, a Scandinavian style sofa, a mid century classic lounge chair, a vintage lighting fixture,  perhaps  an antique gilded mirror or Victorian footstool. The point is, there are many styles that play well together. Ultimately, success is achieved by blending and balancing  the elements in a way that each distinct piece is an important part of the whole, a composition of varying personalities if you will. I have always approached decorating with the philosophy that I need to have a connection to the things that I live with. The item needs to be beautiful to me, not just a functional piece. I don’t adhere to a singular era or style.

Having said all of this, I will now add some of the fine tuning details for creating your signature environment. Leonardo da Vinci is credited with the quote, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” As I have developed and honed my philosophy on decor, it has gradually grown into a simpatico with the Miesian theory of “less is more”.  I need my spaces to breathe and allow for the individual elements to shine and be seen. If you overcrowd a room with furniture or accessories it creates a heavier space with a cluttered vibe and the individual beauty of each item gets lost in the confusion.  Nothing weighs a room down more quickly then loading every flat surface with “things”.  Someone visiting my home once said, “in every direction I turn there is a thoughtful, creative, view”, and he was not speaking about gazing through the windows.

The last few things to consider are the horizontal and vertical spaces, or simply said, the walls, floor, and ceiling. They have the potential to help create your room palette, add texture, and either calm or invigorate the energy. You can stay monochromatic in the decor or not, and use large art for color, multiple photos, posters, collections of tarnished silver trays or mirrors, whatever works for you. The most important thing to remember is to always edit your work.  Keep in mind that it is a dynamic expression of you. It is changeable and adaptable to change.  Think of the room as a visual  expression of your autobiography.



image via mixandchic.com



image shared via thecuratedhouse.com






image via niceity.livejournal.com




Womb Chair Mystique

Posted by Noah On July 24th

What is more comfortable than a Womb Chair? Cradling you in a curved cloud of support, all stress and daily inconveniences melt away. The Womb Chair was designed by Eero Saarinen, while working for Knoll & Associates, when Florence Knoll placed a request for a chair that she could sink down into and enjoy a good book. In 1948, Saarinen completed Knoll’s request which she later dubbed “the curling chair”.

Conflicting stories about the origin of the name Womb Chair have been widely documented. Eero Saarinen stated that “its unofficial name is the Womb Chair because it was designed on the theory that a great number of people have never really felt comfortable and secure since they left the womb.” However, many people believe that this statement was made in jest. Christina Blake Oliver of interior design firm Oliver Interiors shared another possible origin with sZinteriors. Oliver says that her mother and father were close friend’s of the Saarinen’s. When her mother was enormously pregnant, she happened to be sitting in an early design of the chair when Saarinen was struck by the unlikely name Womb Chair. Despite the mystery shrouding the name, we can all agree that it certainly reflects many of the distinct characteristics of such a comfortable chair.

The distinct shape of the Womb Chair is the harvest of Saarinen’s numerous experiments using round pod-like seats in furniture design. One of his main goals of the design was to allow people to relax in several distinctive, yet comfortable positions. The Womb Chair exceeded all expectations for a comfortable chair and resulted in a modern chair perfectly suited for the increasingly relaxed modern society.

For more information on a top quality reproduction of this one-of-a-kind modern iconic chair, including available colors and pricing, please click here.

Eero Saarinen in his iconic design.

Eero Saarinen in his iconic design.