“Furniture that is too obviously designed,” said Milo Baughman, “is very interesting, but too often belongs only in museums.” In Baughman’s distinguished body of work, his vast creativity never interfered with functionality; instead, he struck an ideal modernist balance. Using the consummate midcentury-modern materials – chrome, stainless steel, glass and leather – he created a new visual vocabulary, built on the legacy of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer, but infused with the style and ease of the American West Coast.
Born in Kansas in 1923, Baughman was raised in Long Beach, California. At age 13 he was enlisted by his parents to contribute to the design of the family home – and, thus, his path was set. He served in the Army Air Forces in World War II, where he gained experience designing officers’ clubs. After returning from the war he studied architectural design, and in 1947, at the age of 24, he launched Milo Baughman Design, Inc. He quickly received commissions from Glenn of California – where he worked with designer Greta Magnusson Grossman – and Pacific Iron, collaborating with these Los Angeles companies to create what we now call the California Modern aesthetic.