Make Your Own Mid-Century Knockoffs


In 2005, New York design trickster Rob Price-working under the collective name Thwart Design-released a series of designs called Design Without Reach. The idea was to mock the then-excruciatingly popular Design Within Reach line of mid-century modernist furniture (the store has since fallen into financial trouble along with, oh, the rest of the universe).

Design Without Reach was playful without being snotty: George Nelson's iconic ball lamp was reimagined as a series of Tootsie Roll pops; Marcel Breuer's famous chair was redone out of tape and paper clips. The point was simple - Design Within Reach wasn't all that in reach, and neither was mid-century design. The closest counterfeit we could have, then had to be somehow funny, witty, a riff.

Cut to five long and recession-heavy years later, and Bruno Bornsztein, the publisher behind, an online DIY community that posts everything from "Top 10 Uses For Coffee Grounds" to "Clean Like a Maid!", has just released a book-available online for a $9.99 download or in print for $18.00-called Make It! Mid-Century Modern (or MCM, for short.) In it are instructions for creating your very own Mid-Century Modern (sorry, MCM) standbys like a Charles and Ray Eames coathook, a Calder mobile, and that very same Nelson lamp that Price made out of lollipops. Here, though, it's a little more serious, a little less tounge-in-cheek.