The Mid-Century Designs of Brown-Saltman!

Many times when we present a designer influence to the readers of the Swank Lighting blog, it is an individual designer whose work was so influential that it inspired other designs for generations to come. Sometimes, however, it’s not only an individual who deserves credit for setting trends, but furniture companies. Today’s design influence is the furniture manufacturer Brown-Saltman!

As usual, we’ve chosen a beloved subject of work that everyone likes but hardly any information online exists, but we’ll do our best to present to you what we know about Brown-Saltman. And what we know is that this fabulous manufacturing company was based in Los Angeles, California during the Mid-Century’s heyday. Though the company is now out of business, they were open long enough to have produced an amazing body of work that many collectors and homeowners continue to seek out.

So what made them so special? Well, they were known for outputting incredibly stylish pieces, but they also had a great reputation for quality construction (possibly leading to why so many people seek out their work now—it’s still around and in good shape!) Of course, people were also bowled over by the looks of the pieces coming out of Brown-Saltman, and glancing through the online Flickr group that exists for them, one can see why. Clean lines dominate the pieces that consisted of things like coffee tables, credenzas, dining tables, chairs, sofas, case goods and more.

What we think set Brown-Saltman’s furniture pieces a part was the details. Many companies at the time were producing similarly-designed furniture, but there’s something about the details to Brown-Saltman’s pieces that seem so well thought out. Small details like legs, knobs and edges were given a ton of attention, as well as places on a piece you don’t see, like the insides of drawers and wood joints. Incorporating lots of materials to create their pieces, it does seem like wood played a huge part in the look of Brown-Saltman.

So how did Brown-Saltman do it? How did they create a company that produced such Mid-Century hits at a time when everyone and their mom was doing it? Well they employed a number of super-talented designers, for one. Big names like John Keal, Paul Laszlo, Paul T. Frankl, Gilbert Rhode, Hendrik Van Keppel, Taylor Green and more all contributed designs to Brown-Saltman, and it’s ultimately their talent that propelled the company to such a high status. But, credit must be given to Brown-Saltman for its foresight and brilliance in knowing who to get to make the designs!