Mid Century Modern Chairs Pattern

Mid Century Modern Chairs

Mid Century Modern Chair simplified to 4 colours
Mid Century Chairs Pattern repeat only

The Original Design

This design was inspired when I bought three old chairs in a YMCA charity shop. I love how the angle of the back is the same as the legs, making a beautiful refined silhouette. Only days later I was knocked off my bicycle and my shoulder was smashed into 16 pieces. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had to wait a year for a titanium implant to fix it.

So, just out of hospital, on a heavy dose of morphine, I shot one of the wooden chairs on a table, taking shots about every thirty degrees. The original thought was to choose one of these shots to repeat for the wallpaper, but I liked the chair at all the different angles, so decided to combine all the shots together. I originally titled them as Danish Chairs, but they may possibly be Ercol or a similar company, as the mid-century modern chair design was very popular in the 1960s. This is how the original version looked.

New Lockdown 2020 Version

This is the new lockdown 2020 version. I decided to re-originate everything, as I wasn’t keen on how the grain of the wood showed through all the colours. I decided to paint one of the chairs a Farrow & Ball teal colour called Oval Room Blue. I could then recolour all of the images later in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Working On The Photographs in Illustrator

The new version has a series of eight shots that make up the sequence. Once all the photos were taken I needed to convert them into individual illustrations. Tracing each of them in Illustrator restricting to around 6 colours. I then tidied up the paths to make them cleaner and removing the smaller paths. I then chose a limit of 4 colours that each image could use. Altering the highlights, midtones and low lights to keep to the four colours. Finally I converted the four colours to shades of the same colour. I could then alter each set of images by changing the main colour. Meaning that all the other shades would alter too.

Mid Century Chairs Pattern repeat only

Elements Of Each Design

For the chairs themselves I chose five main colours: Grey, Navy, Red, Teal and Yellow. The image codes use these initial letters. The background is the easiest colour to alter. I initially started with half a dozen colours, but by the end I used 18 different colours, the colours are again used in the codes listing from 1-18. Perhaps the most ambitious was to explore using blending modes for each the chair combinations. Methodically trying each of Illustrator’s blending modes in turn: Normal, Darken, Multiply, Color Burn, Lighten, Screen, Color Dodge, Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, Exclusion, Hue, Saturation, Color, Luminocity. Again the image codes are defined by the blending mode.

Placing The Pattern In A Location

I combined the finished design with a straight-on shot of the real chair, plus a fake carpet and skirting board. For every image I altered the colour of the real chair to complement the wallpaper. For each design I also created a simple version that was just the pattern, to give show how the design could be used for fabric, lampshades, and other surfaces.

Creating This Website Page

I chose 24* of my favourite designs from a total of 175 variations. They are roughly sorted by colour. Rolling your mouse over an image will display its code. * Smaller screens and devices display less images.

The Future

I would love this design to have another life taken up by a manufacturer. Please contact me if you would like a high resolution file or to talk about how we could work together.

For more information about Mid Century Modern design see Wikipedia.