EXCEPTIONAL 5 piece Milo Baughman sectional sofa group - circa 1969. This set is Baughman's masterpiece in original fabric with 2 back tables and the large center "Lazy Susan" coffee table - all in exotic Rosewood veneers and the sofas mounted on a continuous serpentine set back plinth base - (also in rosewood).
- designed for a number of furniture
companies starting in the mid-1940s until his death, including
Calif-Asia, Mode Furniture, Glenn of California, The Inco Company
Milo Ray Baughman, Jr., was one of the leading modern furniture designers of the second-half of the 20th century. His uniquely American
designs were forward-thinking and distinctive, yet unpretentious and
affordable. His prolific and highly influential work continues to be
copied, reinvented and revived in the new and secondary decorative arts markets by contemporary furniture designers and ,
Pacific Iron, Murray Furniture of Winchendon, Arch Gordon, Design
Institute America, Woodard, George Kovacs, Directional, Henredon and
Drexel, among others. He is most famous, however, for his longtime
association with Thayer Coggin Inc., of High Point NC,
which began in 1953, and lasted until his death in 2003. He also
lectured broadly on the state of modern design, extolling the positive
benefits of good design on the lives of human beings, and helping to
define and shape the discussion for years to come.
Born in Goodland Kansas on October 7, 1923, Baughman moved with his family in his infancy to Long Beach California.
At the age of thirteen, his family built their house and young Milo was
handed the task of designing both the interior and exterior. Following
high school he served for four years in the Army Air Forces during World War II during which time he was active in designing officer's clubs. After the war he returned to Souther California to study product and Architectural Design at the Art Center School of Los Angeles and at Chouinard, which later became the California Institute of the Arts.
Upon completing his studies, he was hired to work at the Frank
Brothers furniture store as an interior and custom furniture designer.
The store had the distinction of being the first west coast all-modern
specialty store, and proved to be a good launch pad for his career.
While there he established "Furniture Forum" with Georgia Christensen,
an important early publication on modern design complete with photos,
dimensions, pricing, as well as designer photos and biographies. He left
Frank Brothers in 1947 to establish "Milo Baughman Design Inc.," and
quickly did commissions for Glenn of California and Pacific Iron,
helping to place these companies at the forefront of a new California
modernist design movement. The "California Modern" collection created
for Glenn of California in 1948, along with Greta Magnusson Grossman,
using mainly walnut, iron and formica, and put forth a distinctive Los Angeles style.
Next, the large furniture manufacturer Drexel invited him to their Noth Carolina headquarters to create a major collection. Following this, Murray Furniture of Winchendon Massachusetts introduced "The Milo Baughman Collection" in 1952. An earlier desk design from 1948 for Winchendon was later included in the Whitney Museum
exhibition "High Styles: Twentieth Century American Design," in 1985.
During this time, Milo found time to run his own custom design shop with
Olga Lee in Los Angeles from 1951-1953. Lee contributed hand printed fabrics, wallpaper, lamps, and accessories to go alongside Baughman's furniture designs; both offered their services as interior consultants.
In 1953 his 50 year association with Thayer Coggin Inc. began, and by
the 1960s and 1970s, his new collection was eagerly awaited at the High Point Market every year. Some of his most famous and iconic designs come from this
period, including the "951-103" chair, circa 1962, "820-400" chaise
(1954), "989-103" Lounge Chair, and "955-304" Sofa. He was highly
regarded among his peers, and his quick wit and clear reflection were
always in demand as he spoke about modern design.
Milo Baughman was inducted into the Furniture Designer's Hall of Fame in 1987.
||Furniture that is too obviously designed is very interesting, but too often belongs only in museums.
||When I left Art Center, I
thought Modern design would change the world. Now, I no longer have such
lofty hopes, but perhaps the world is just a bit better off because of
it. In any event, good Modern has already proven to be the most
enduring, timeless and classic of all design movements.
||With an ongoing interest in
1950s and 1960s design, a lot of my work has been reintroduced and been
very well-received. Increasingly, architects are using these mid-century
classics from the pioneer producers of this period. I understand
because I admire these as well, but it's a bit unfortunate for current
designers with new interpretations of Modern. Going back to the
'classics' is playing it safe, which limits opportunities for new
concepts in design.|