Why Are We Yearning for ’70s Decor Again? | Architectural Digest

Why Are We Yearning for ’70s Decor Again? | Architectural Digest

It can’t be a coincidence: rising interest rates, worries about inflation and the price of gas, and the triumphant return of the disco ball and the blob sofa all in the same year? Could it be that midcentury-modern style has decided to take a much-needed rest? Avant-garde Italian furniture from the 1970s, smoked glass, conversation pits, earthy colors, and wall-to-wall carpeting all appear to be back with gusto. 

One of the trend’s primary indicators has been the furniture market: Gubi, for one, is reviving rattan designs by Gabriella Crespi for its new Bohemian 72 Collection. And at this summer’s Salone del Mobile in Milan, Bellini reintroduced two zaftig La Mura sofas, originally designed in 1972, along with Le Bambole, the soft sofa system that looks as though a chorus of bean bag chairs had been taught to sit up straight. Perhaps because ’70s design hasn’t yet enjoyed the same kind of attention in museum exhibitions or on the auction block that postwar modernism has, some of the era’s brightest stars are still a bit recherché. But for emerging and mid-career designers today (some of whom weren’t born until well after Studio 54’s doors closed for good), exploring the material history of the ’70s is all part of the creative process. 

The bedroom of Elaine Welteroth, designed by Night Palm and seen in the pages of AD, leans into ’70s decor.

Photo: Frank Frances

Among them is Tiffany Howell, the founder of LA–based interior design firm Night Palm, who sees the decade’s color palette and textures as catnip. “I’m very drawn to the cognacs, rusts, and chocolate browns of ’70s design,” she tells AD PRO. Beyond that, though, she loves how the laid-back way people lived gave rise to luxurious materiality. “The ’70s brought on the love of lounging,” she says. “The colors and fabrics created a sense of lushness and plushness. It promoted a relaxed and social atmosphere at home, which people feel drawn to once more after the weirdness of the past few years.”

Designer Marion Mailaender recently redesigned her own Parisian apartment in a building that dates to 1970. Mailaender is inspired by the work of Maria Pergay, the French designer who works extensively in sleek stainless steel. “I have an obsession with one of her giant stainless steel belt seats,” she says, “and I love the sunken living rooms—typical of those years—as well as the huge bathrooms with sunken bathtubs.” In her own abode, Mailaender chose ’70s decor motifs like white glass mosaic flooring and an all stainless steel kitchen. “We bought a brown smoked glass Carlo Scarpa table and chairs by Gae Aulenti for the dining room. I designed a very low sofa for the living room, and we usually sit on the carpet to have a drink.”

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