I still remember when Michael Graves, an architect and designer, created a line of products for Target. It was the first time Target did one of these collaborations. His products just felt good in your hand and they looked beautiful. I was cutting bread this weekend and realized the knife I held was from that first collaboration, which I had purchased over ten years ago.
Russell Wright, one of my favorite mid-century modern designers, believed that 'good design was for everyone'. He deliberately worked with materials that were more affordable, but not without style. He created pieces that captured the American egalitarian spirit. His work was accessible to the middle class and available at department stores. Pieces made by Wright are still functioning and highly coveted today.
In a way Wright paved the way for a collaboration between a mid-end store and Michael Graves. It made beautifully designed and well-made pieces available to the middle class. Almost like the Ikea of our day.
I'll admit that I often fall in love with well-designed pieces that have a higher price tag and I keep an eagle eye out for vintage pre-loved pieces. Buying used makes some of those iconic design pieces a little bit more accessible. The other part of this long winded narrative is that those beautifully designed pieces are built to last.
If vintage or iconic mid-century modern pieces aren't your thing, that's all good. Not everyone has to jump on the mid-century bandwagon (which is kind of a good thing!), but when you do buy something it should be what your heart desires and think about how long it is going to last.
Good design is for everyone.