Mid-Century Modern Icons: The Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe

The 20th century was an era of mid-century modern icons. The Farnsworth House is probably the biggest of them all.

Published October 30th, 2017.

Mies van der Rohe is probably one of the most important names in mid-century modern design and architecture. Van der Rohe is one of the many founding fathers of the design movement that started back in the 1930s and would come to be loved until our days. He is also the mind behind one of the most famous houses in the world: The Farnsworth House. And today you get to step inside it and know all about it!


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Built between 1946 and 1951, the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe is considered to be a vital part of American iconography, which successfully represents the “International Style of architecture as well as the modern movement’s desire to juxtapose the sleek, streamline design of modern structure with the organic environment of the surrounding nature.”

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According to the official Farnsworth House website, “the structure of the Farnsworth House is made of eight L-shaped steel columns to support roof and floor frameworks and was designed for maximum lightness.

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Originally designed and built to serve as a weekend getaway in Plano, Illinois, the Farnsworth House boasts very minimalist lines and simple living quarters. This was a way the architect found to mirror his wish for the house to lack walls, trims, or even personal possessions.

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The house was designed for the successful Chicago doctor Edith Farnsworth that eventually became bitterly disappointed with the result due to its abstract minimalism. The house was surprisingly difficult to live with, even as a simple weekend getaway.

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The interiors are spare, with a central box of marine-grade ply and Primavera wood concealing a closet and bathroom; a narrow kitchen, bedroom, and living space surround it.

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The house was designed for the successful Chicago doctor Edith Farnsworth that eventually became bitterly disappointed with the result due to its abstract minimalism.

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Nevertheless, the Farnsworth House stands out as one of Mies’ most remarkable buildings for its combined simplicity, conceptual elegance, and beauty, all in a single example of modernist architecture done right.

Photos © Farnsworth House


Shop the look!

Get that minimalist look with these mid-century furniture pieces! More info here.


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