Posts tagged #italian mid century modern design

Mid Century Modern Italian Design: restoring a 20th Century Design Furniture piece

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Restoring a 20th Century furniture piece is an act of love. Respecting the history behind every piece we find and bringing each piece to a new life without dramatically change its appearance is loving and cherish our Italian culture and traditions. Our team of Italian restorers contributes to the preservation of Italian Mid Century Modern Design; since generations they have passed on their knowledge and care so that we could remember and partially live back a particular period from our recent history. 

But how do we bring back the deep luster and shine of a piece made over 70 years ago? 

Restoration is not only a buffing and polishing...but a long and thorough professional job performed by skilled artisans; there are several steps to take to make sure each Italian Mid Century piece will thrive for many more years ahead. We have just completed a brand new project for a historical home in Venice, Italy, with the addition of two amazing Mid Century dining room set, a Mid Century dining room table and a matching Mid Century sideboard, of Italian Production dated circa 1950s which have been completely restored and brought back to a new beginning.

After restoration Italian Mid Century Modern Sideboard

After restoration Italian Mid Century Modern Sideboard

After restoration Italian Mid Century Sideboard

After restoration Italian Mid Century Sideboard

This gorgeous credenza was dismantled in all its possible components (doors, drawers, handles, back, red glass top). All surfaces were then disinfected and treated, as a precaution against termites although there was no sign of termites.

We then restored the proper functioning of the drawers, the doors and the locks. Also, the cabinet had scratches and imperfections in the rosewood and feather inlay that were consolidated and grouted and following that we sanded the credenza with fine paper to prepare for polishing.

Mid Century modern Italian Design sideboard 3

In the next step, we coated the credenza with a natural shellac and hand buffered it. The inside mahogany skin was polished, although light blemishes remain in the wood due to use and not removable except with strong sanding which is not advisable on a veneer.  

In the final step we polished and reassembled all the ancillary decorations and bronze handles 

Before restoration missing inlay decorations 

Before restoration missing inlay decorations 

post restoration all inlay decorations have been repaired

post restoration all inlay decorations have been repaired

 

The matching Mid Century Italian table has undergone a similar process: As a first step we removed the red crystal top, all surfaces were then disinfected and treated as a precaution against termites although there was no sign of their presence.  The table had scratches and imperfections in the rosewood and feather inlay that we consolidated and grouted. We then sanded the table with fine sandpaper to prepare it for polishing.  In the next step, we hand-wicked/buffered the table with a natural shellac while the bottom was dark-colored stained and varnished.  Finally we polished and reassembled the bronze tips at the end of the feet. 

Mid Century Modern Italian Design Table
Italian 20th Century Design Table

Designitalia Mid Century Modern imports high end Italian Mid Century furniture from Italy. Our team of Italian purchasing agents outsource one of a kind Italian Mid Century furniture. The furniture is restored by keeping its original appearance and altering its original design. Our Mid Century modern sofas and armchairs are completely restored inside and outside while our case pieces are restoring without altering their original structure too much. Some signs of age will eventually be visible and this is completely normal and contribute to the beauty and value of each piece. 

20th Century Design dining table by Paolo Buffa, luxury details

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Details are important; they contribute in defining the elegance and quality of our 20th Century Design Italian furniture. Like this featured extraordinary dining table with a unique shape and so many different luxurious features. Attributed to Paolo Buffa this 20th Century Italian Dining Table has a rectangular shape while the corners are rounded and smooth to enhance the sleek geometrical legs. The table top faces have contrasting wood inlays attributed to Giovanni Gariboldi and contrasting  profiling. The legs have brass details and brass feet. This 20th Century design table attributed to Paolo Buffa is made of palisander wood.

You can match this 20th Century table with different styles chairs from the same period for the ultimate 20th Century design set ! 

Milan based architect Paolo Buffa  (1903-1970) started drawing furniture at the beginning of 1930s in the studio of Gio Ponti, his furniture designs were realized by renowned artisans with prestigious materials and woods as they were destined to fulfill the houses of Milan bourgeoisie. 

This Paolo Buffa dining table shows an elaborately inlaid frieze on gilt profiles

A detail of the leg from this 20th Century Paolo Buffa dining table, brass and contrasting wood profiling. Note the lovely angled position of the legs 

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Beautiful decorations on table top faces, foliage decor in contrasting maple wood and all the visible natural veneering of the wood top contribute to make this dining table a luxury collector design piece. 

Designitalia Mid Century modern imports high end luxury 20th Century Design pieces, outsourced in Italy and restored maintaining their original beauty and features. Our collection of Mid Century Modern Italian design includes pieces from Gio Ponti, Paolo Buffa, Pierluigi Colli, Osvaldo Borsani, Marco Zanuso and many more great masters of the 20th Century Italian period. Browse our collection of storage cabinets, sofas, dining furniture and accessories. 

20th Century Italian Design part 1: history defines a new movement

We are not surprised that Italian design has reached the highest level of popularity worldwide. We all looking to embellish our homes with wonderful Italian furniture which we stare at, standing fiercely in those beautiful showroom or printed over some of the most popular magazines. It is not anymore perceived as a trend, but more likely as a movement.  And 20th Century Design has made a sharp and impressive come back, with Italian 20th Century Furniture leading the market. As of today, a Beautiful Carlo Mollino wardrobe desktitled “ Psiche Armadio “  is for sale at a famous New York Auction house starting at 250,000$. 

Carlo Mollino "Psiche Armadio" from the Ada and Cesare Minola House, Turin, Circa 1944-46

But how far back Italian design dates? We could historically place the beginning of Italian Design somewhat immediately after a long and dark period, which saw Italy bending on its knees in the middle of the 20th Century: World Wars. It all started because of the Wars. Italy had lost almost everything, but not it’s citizens’ pride, citizens could not wait to start over and fuel back that fire which always had defined them, impatiently looking at a more profitable second half of the 20th Century. Italians needed to get back to work, to open their stores once again, to lead a normal life and to hope for a brighter future. 

The first sign of Design becoming an active part of society had something to do with mobility. In 1945 we were gifted with the first project of a motor scooter, the evergreen Vespa, designed by Corradino D’Ascanio, still an icon in our modern days. But the Vespa was not an isolated great project, because two years later a new exciting product was conceived, this time designed by two aeronautical engineers: the Lambretta scooter by Innocenti. Transportation and mobility also saw the creation of the beautiful and iconic Fiat 500 reflecting how Italian Design may become timeless, and not many remember another interesting project which we can call a predecessor of the Smart, the captivating Isetta compact car by Ermenegildo Preti.  Among other projects we must mention the Berlinetta Cisitalia which will be then permanently exhibited at the Moma Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 1958 Olivetti who created some of the most technologically engineered aesthetically appealing typewriters such as Letters 22 and Lexicon 80 started a collaboration with Ettore Sottsass. So we have a clear picture on how industry, engineering, architecture were all united into the process of creating new ideas. 

Vespa Motor Scooter 

This need of a new start brought Italy years of economic wealth and the Design set its root into the field of Industrial Design with the creation of mass production affordable and reusable every day objects, made of plastic and other low cost materials. Architects and Engineers were again involved in creating every day objects, from cutlery to furniture for the mass.

 

But when does Italian Design became recognized internationally? We could see its peak in 1972 when the Museum of Modern Art in New York dedicated a whole exhibition named “Italy: the new domestic landscape” . The preface of the catalog started with this sentence: It has been a long -standing assumption of the modern movement that if all man’s products were well designed, harmony and joy would emerge eternally triumphant". Can we still affirm such idea 43 years later?

to be continued on chapter two...stay tuned!

A new different way to purchase our Italian Mid Century furniture collection


Explore a new concept of purchasing high end quality furniture, shop our Italian Mid Century modern design products on 1stdibs.

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We have partnered with luxury online marketplace 1stdibs to bring our products to collectors and design professionals and general consumers worldwide. The site offers a curated selection of high end and hard to get around products, from antiques to vintage furniture and fashion to fine art. Our Italian Mid Century collection of furniture ranges from sofas and armchairs to dining tables, case pieces, and decor items. 

 

We import authentic and original Italian 20th Century modern design, artworks by Paolo Buffa, Osvaldo Borsani, Marco Zanuso, Gio Ponti, Massimo Vignelli and many more. You can browse our collection of 20th Century design sofas, chairs, storage and case pieces and accessories through our website or by looking for Designitalia Mid Century Modern on 1stdibs.