There was a great Far Side cartoon that had some mobsters moving furniture around, one of them directing in an artistic fashion, and the ring leader remarking sternly to a frightened resident: “Next time, we’ll rearrange more than your furniture.”
One of my favorite elements of mid-century modern furniture and design is the lightness and inherent flexibility of pieces. For me, this is what made Eames’ LCM so interesting – there was almost nothing there and it could be moved easily. Imagine the kind of chairs it was meant to replace – large upholstered pieces that likely stayed in place for decades. Just looking at Shulman photos, I get the impression that the furniture was moved around and placed “just so” along with the plants he brought for the shoots. I went over to my friend Keith’s place recently and was floored at the new lay-out. A little change can go a long way!
There was a curatorial element to 50s middlebrow modernism. The homeowner could assemble and exhibit the house and the furnishings in different configurations at different times, depending on the situation. And still today, its part of the fun.
So for our living room, it been something of a journey getting to a place where things are “set.” The room is 17×14, with glass doors to the terrace on one side, opposite a room divider in mahogany veneer. When we first moved in, the sofa sat in the middle of the room, dividing a conversation area from a dining area. One of the key ideas is that we would often fold our McCobb drop-leaf dining table, push it off to the side, and make a space for the children to play.
Our Danish wall unit held our only white wall in the room, and then we put it in the library and picked up a Paul McCobb Planner storage unit, and things began to make more sense. Moving the sofa to face the windows seemed better, and two Bertoia diamond chairs created a conversation area, but you can still see through the chairs out to the terrace.
So, we have things how we like them. Which means, I think, a configuration ready for change.