Friday, November 7, 2014

Amoeba Patterns, 1950s

I use the word "amoeba" in the title, but for commercial usage by the company making Formica products, the names "Skylark" and "Boomerang" were used to describe a type of decorative pattern. Some background can be found here and here.

For some reason, blobs with bent shapes were considered the height of modernity in the late 1940s and into the 1950s. One possibility is that Surrealist paintings of the 1930s served as inspiration. Other possibilities exist, and I'm not yet prepared to research the origin of their use.

What we do have is yet another example of fashion, a collective set of appearance preferences that can fairly easily be associated with a given period of time. This is true for clothing, architecture, furniture, illustration and fine-art painting. Which is why it is often easy to identify something as being "very 1920s" or whatever. And why current preferences are doomed to become quaint artifacts of past times.

Below are images related to the circa-1950 amoeba fashion that I gathered here and there on the Internet. Any copyrighted material is duly acknowledged.


Interior of travel trailer - 1955
A publicity photo. The surface of the counter top is probably in Formica or a similar product, but not in a Boomerang pattern.

Advertisement for Formica
This is probably from the early-to-mid 1950s; the Boomerang name wasn't introduced until mid-decade, though there was overlap in name usage, as is indicated in the image below.

Some Formica patterns

Boomerang-type patterns

Formica-topped kitchen table - 1950s
The top surface has a Boomerang pattern or something pretty similar.

Container Corporation of America advertisement - 1949
The artist is Ben Cunningham of Nevada. Note especially the ochre blob at the bottom.

Interior - 1950s
The coffee table has a rounded-off, non-rectangular top shape. Typical of 1950s furniture design are the thin legs of chairs, tables, and such. The idea was to achieve the appearance of lightness -- a reaction to heavy furniture of Victorian times and ensuing decades.

1 comment:

Stephanie Berry said...

Wow, this takes me back! I remember the sets of formica samples on a ball chain my carpenter dad used to have.