On the hunt for a piece of classic midcentury modern furniture to help reinvent your residence? You’re not alone. The craze for stylish, streamlined 20th-century furnishings has gone through the roof, in what designers are calling the Mad Men phenomenon.

“People are buying iconic pieces that are functional; a lot of them are downsizing and they want beautiful pieces that they can use,” says Cheryl Gaddie of CG Interior design, who’s coordinating the Center for Architecture Sarasota’s inaugural Modern Show & Sale May 13 and 14 at its newly restored McCulloch Pavilion on South Orange Avenue (designed in 1960 by Sarasota School of Architecture members William Rupp and Joe Farrell).

The Modern Show, a fund raiser for CFAS, will focus on furniture, decorative arts and architecture of the 20th century. Gaddie has been buzzing around town collecting pieces that homeowners are donating to CFAS. “It’s so much fun,” she says.  “We expect to get a lot of very unique items.” Among them so far are a Billy Wilder chaise designed by Charles and Ray Eames and Bertoia diamond chairs. One couple donated a large-scale, red and green metal outdoor sculpture created in 1965 by Minneapolis sculptor Michael Bigger that stood at the entry to their Longboat Key home.  

 The show opens Friday evening with a VIP cocktail party and pre-sale. On Saturday, besides the auction, architects, designers, authors and collectors will give informal talks throughout the day, and a vintage fashion show will strut the runway at 11 a.m. “It speaks to what CFAS is all about—education and promotion,” says Gaddie. There also will be a “much-loved area” of well-used furnishings for purchase.

 The Modern Show & Sale, presented by Center for Architecture Sarasota, 265 S. Orange Ave., Sarasota; (941) 350-5430; cfasrq.org.

FOUR MUST-HAVE MODERN PIECES

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Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman: Husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames are famed for their groundbreaking use of molded plywood and leather.

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Saarinen Tulip Table: The pedestal table that Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen created in 1956 spawned a flood of look-alikes.

 

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Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chair: A 1958 creation by the master of modern Danish design. 

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Noguchi Cocktail Table: Acclaimed 20th-century sculptor Isamu Noguchi created this modern masterpiece in 1944.