Create an account

Our showroom is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm!


Cart (   )  Search

20th Century Design Legends

As you know, the vintage furniture we specialise in at Modern Times is usually of the Danish, Dutch or Italian variety but that doesn’t mean we limit ourselves! We currently have some pieces by icons of French and German origin so I thought what a great time to shine the light on two legends of twentieth century design – Maison Jansen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

1, Barcelona_Blog

Shot by Brooke Holm. Styled by us! Falcon Chair by Sigurd Ressell, Drinks Trolley by Artemide, Palm Lamp by Maison Jansen, ‘Nevada’, Photograph by Brooke Holm, ‘Animals’ Painting by Esther Olsson, The Barcelona Couch by Mies van der Rohe, French Lucite and Brass Side Table, Rugs by Pampa

Maison Jansen

Maison Jansen was one of the world’s first truly international interior design firms and arguably the top design firm of the twentieth century. They were founded in Paris in 1880 and by the turn of the century their services were in demand by aristocracy and royalty across Europe. From here the firm continued to expand, opening up offices and ateliers in South America, North America, Europe, and Africa. The Maison Jansen style was luxurious and dramatic with a touch of the exotic but mainly drew on traditional European design.

4, Jansen-Chanel04-1920x1200

Coco Chanel’s 1930’s Paris apartment by Maison Jansen

The furniture they manufactured, often one-off commissions, was mainly 18th century reproductions but Maison Jansen were not afraid to incorporate contemporary trends including Modernism and Art Deco into their interiors and custom designs.

Maison Jansen pieces are highly collectable and their interior projects that remain are preserved for posterity. The firm’s most notable project was The White House during the Kennedy years.

2, Barcelona_Blog2

The Maison Jansen Palm Lamp, designed in the 1970’s, was produced in many iterations and it’s blingy brass with dramatic and opulent form oozes 1970’s hollywood glamour. Shop Maison Jansen Palm Lamp here.


Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Mies van der Rohe was an esteemed German architect, in fact he is credited as a pioneer of modern architecture! He designed numerous buildings including the famous Farnsworth House (1945) and the German Pavilion at the International Exhibition in Barcelona (1929) which both embodied his rigorous modernist principles. Mies summed up his design philosophy with his favourite sayings, ‘less is more’ and ‘god is in the details’.


3, Farnsworth House

The Farnsworth House designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1945. Image via Beth Bullock

Mies, like many architects of the time, designed furniture that also followed these new principles of modernist design, doing away with the ornate decoration of the previous eras which were seen as excessive and a waste of effort and material.


The Barcelona Couch originally in Harry Seidler’s MLC Building, Sydney

The Barcelona Chair is Mies’ best known furniture design, originally designed for the Barcelona Pavillion in 1929, and a true icon of modernist design. The beautiful Barcelona Couch was added to the collection the following year both of which have been produced to his exacting specifications ever since.

The Barcelona Couch that we currently have in our collection came out of the Sydney MLC Building, an important building designed by our own proponent of Modernist design, Harry Seidler, in the late 1970s.  The condition is excellent, testament to the enduring quality of the original design. Shop The Barcelona Couch here

Related content