Mid Century Modern or MCM as it known, is a design movement in interior, product, graphic design, architecture, and urban development. Although the time frame of this movement is debated, it’s commonly argued that the design movement started in the mid 1940’s and ended in the mid 1970’s. The common elements of this design movement included clean lines while incorporating new materials including plastics.
This movement came out of the Bauhaus school of design in Germany, many students of which fled to America in response to WWII. Among the leaders of this design movement in America included architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who coined the phrase “Less is more”, inspiring the prolific architects of the time including Josef Eichler, Pierre Koenig, John Launter, and Richard Neutra. These architects helped define the movement with their open floor plans, clean lines and large windows designed to bring in natural light and merge the outside environment with the inside of the home.
Carrying the flag for product design during this movement included Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson and the recently departed Florence Knoll. These iconic designers’ contributions are seen in their timeless design, proven by their everlasting popularity.
This brings me back to the original question posed “Why is the Modern Christmas Tree considered Mid Century Modern Design?”
The Modern Christmas Tree was originally designed by designer and engineer Lawrence “Bud” Stoecker in 1966. In addition to fitting into the timeline of this important design movement, the designer certainly followed the design esthetic of clean lines while exploring new materials including plastics. Stoecker’s Modern Christmas Tree also collapses flat for storing when the tree is not in use which perfectly exemplifies the design term “ Form follows function” a principle associated with 20th-century modernist architecture which says that the shape of a building or object should primarily relate to its intended function or purpose”.
Perhaps the biggest proof of the Modern Christmas Trees validity in Mid Century Modern Design is how it holds its own in icon Mid Century Modern architecture as documented in recent photo shoots. These photo shoots include the Stahl House designed by Pierre Koenig and the Farnsworth House designed by Mies van der Rohe among others. It’s as though the tree was made for these iconic spaces. For these reasons the Modern Christmas Tree is considered timeless Mid Century Modern Design.