At Home with Mid-Century Modern
Lexington in the mid-20th century was in the middle of yet another revolution, this time not in war, but in design. Innovators in the fields of architecture, furniture and textile design called Lexington home as new, modern communities sprang forth to exemplify their new aesthetic.
Join us for three days of interactive lectures to learn more about how Lexington became home to nearly 300 Mid-Century Modern houses, how they were furnished, and how they are still being used and adapted today.
Wednesday, May 12, 7 PM
Mid-Century Modern Architecture and Furniture in Lexington
With Marsha Baker, Lexington Historical Society Board Member and Interpretation Committee Chair, and Stacey Fraser, Lexington Historical Society Collections and Outreach Manager
How did Lexington become home to nearly 300 Mid-Century Modern homes, many occupied by the very people involved in the design process? This lecture will introduce you to the history of Lexington's Mid-Century Modern revolution, and look closely at a chair in our collection designed, by Charles and Ray Eames and owned by Lexingtonians Elizabeth Whitman, an interior designer at The Architects Collaborative and Design Research, and her husband Robert, a professor of civil engineering at MIT
Marsha Baker is a member of the Historical Society Board of Directors and is Chair of the Interpretation Committee. Her most recent project has been the creation of Lexington by Foot and Phone, a series of walking tours the most recent of which is Mid-Century Modern Neighborhoods.
Friday, May 14, 7 PM
Marimekko, Design Research and Modernism in Mid-Century Cambridge
with Susan Ward, Independent Curator and Consultant
Finnish company Marimekko’s bold and playful textiles brought brilliant colors and patterns to mid-century interiors, and their unconventional clothing, dubbed a “Uniform for Intellectuals,” brought a new spirit to fashion in the 1950s and 1960s. At the same time, the greater Boston area, and Cambridge in particular, became a world center for modern architecture - and the home of Design Research, the pioneering “lifestyle store” founded by architect (and Lexington resident) Benjamin Thompson. In 1959, these two companies came together to introduce Marimekko designs to the American market. In this lecture, learn more about how this collaboration set off an unlikely fashion revolution, and wove Marimekko inextricably into the local modernist landscape. Viewers will also have the opportunity to see original vintage pieces from the speaker's collection.
Susan Ward is an independent curator and researcher, specializing in textiles, fashion, and design history, with a personal interest in 20th-century modern design (and Marimekko in particular). From 1993-2009 she was a Curatorial Research Fellow at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, where she contributed to numerous exhibitions and publications. She was later a co-curator (and catalog co-author) for the 2011 exhibition Knoll Textiles, 1945-2010 at the Bard Graduate Center in NYC. Her other research and exhibition projects have included the 2009-2010 Design Research storefront retrospective, in the original Brattle Street building, the 2015 Lexington Historical Society exhibition Lextopia, and research on Georgia O’Keeffe’s wardrobe for the traveling exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern. Her interest in the local history of modern architecture began while she was growing up on the edge of Lexington's Turning Mill neighborhood; she studied Architectural History at Cornell University, and has been on the board of the New England chapter of DOCOMOMO since 2008. She is also the proprietor of an Etsy shop, Ye House of Stuff - https://www.etsy.com/shop/YeHouseOfStuff.
Saturday, May 15, 10 AM
Adapting Mid-Century Architecture for the Modern Home
With Katie Flynn of Hisel Flynn Architects
Lexington is home to hundreds of Mid-Century Modern homes that are still being lived in today. Many of these homes have undergone restoration over the years to become more accessible to modern homeowners, while still maintaining the eclectic style that made them so popular when they were first built. For our final lecture, find out how these homes are staying relevant in this century, and how a home in the Turning Mill neighborhood, designed by Carl Koch of Tech Built fame, was recently renovated with both sustainability and preservation in mind.
All attendees will also receive an exclusive Mid-Century Modern informational guide with articles, design plans, photographs, and more!
Members: $10/each, $25/series. Nonmembers: $15/each, $40/series
Tickets available here.