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How Plastic Became a Modern Material

Plastic design has become an icon for the mid-century era. It’s the period in which designers began experimenting with new materials. They wanted to create innovative furniture designs that would change the world of design forever! One of those materials was plastic. As the Space Age movement took hold, plastic became the material of choice for designers. It offered a sleek, futuristic style that embodied the spirit of the times.

Some of the most popular mid-century plastic designs include the “Componibili” modular storage units, Joe Colombo’s medicine cabinet and the colourful “Casalino” chairs. Above all, the use of plastic made these designs so innovative and popular at the time. However, they continue to be sought after today for their playful designs and bright colors.

Kartell: Pioneers of Plastic Design

Italian furniture maker Kartell was one of the first companies to embrace the use of plastic in furniture design. Founded in 1949, Kartell began producing plastic furniture in the early 1950s. For example the iconic “Componibili” modular storage system designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri in 1969. It was an instant success, and it remains a design classic to this day!

Joe Colombo was an Italian designer who was active in the 1960s and early 1970s. Colombo showed interest in creating flexible living spaces. He sought to incorporate futuristic designs and technology into everyday life. Moreover, he was a key figure in the Space Age movement. Collectors and enthusiasts of mid-century design are still actively looking for Colombo pieces to this very date! For example, his “4801” chair was the first chair fully made of ABS plastic.

Also, in 1968, Joe Colombo designed the “Boby” trolley, which is considered one of his most famous designs. This trolley presents a series of drawers and compartments that users can configure in different ways. Therefore the trolley has been used in a wide range of settings. From example a home office to hospital wards, and has become an icon of mid-century design.

The Casalino Series

However, that’s not all! Also an iconic series of plastic furniture from that time was the “Casalino” series. Designed by Alexander Begge for Casala in 1970. Stackable chairs fully of made plastic was completely new at the time. They were the very first! They are colourful and comfortable, easy to use with a minimalist design. Therefore they quickly became popular! The Casalino series represented a new era in plastic furniture design! It proved the versatility and durability of the material.

The Versatility of Plastic

Also, Plastic allowed designers to create furniture that was light, durable, and easy to make. It was an ideal material for mass production. Moreover, it offered designers a range of options in terms of color, shape, and texture. This allowed them them to push the limits of design and experiment with new forms.

The plastic pieces embody the optimism and excitement of the post-war era. As a result, plastic furniture became a symbol of the modern age. From the sleek, futuristic designs of Kartell to the playful, colorful chairs of the Casalino series! Above all, plastic furniture captured the imagination of designers and consumers alike.

In conclusion, plastic furniture played a significant role in mid-century design. It forever changed the way designers thought about furniture production! It allowed for a range of exciting, innovative designs.

If you’re a fan (just like us), we have a wide range of plastic furniture pieces in stock. You can check our stock here. From iconic Kartell designs to the Casalino chairs, our collection showcases the best of mid-century plastic design.