Trend Watch: Midcentury Brass by Carl Auböck

By Cheryl Katz

Trend watching is a lot like a jig saw puzzle. You start out not quite sure where to begin. It’s just a feeling you have that this piece is the reason for that one.

You’re tentative at first, not sure you want to commit just yet. You ponder, eyes scanning the field for clues. You route around a big mess of very small, confounding things until you hit on a few pieces that fit together perfectly.

About four or five years ago brass, having long taken a back sit to chrome began to look good (again).

For me, the first clue that this material was making a comeback came in the form of the work of the Viennese designer Carl Auböck. In 2010, a show of more than 300 of his pieces went on view at the (sadly) now defunct Mondo Cane in New York.

I fell hard for his brass household objects from the 1940’s and 50’s.  (Apparently so did many others. The designer’s work is highly collectable.)

When a jig saw puzzle is done, it goes back in the box. When a trend is over, it’s time to move on. It’s not clear yet what will replace that warm colored metal. But one thing’s for sure, Auböck’s work is here to stay.

Carl Aubock watering can

Auböck Watering Can circa 1950, Courtesy of Patrick Parrish

Carl Aubock bottle opener

Bottle Opener from Exhibit Modern via 1st Dibs

Carl Aubock book ends

Brass Pattina Quest Bookends from The Future Perfect

Carl Aubock book ends

Brass Trek Book Ends from the Future Perfect

Carl Aubock hangers

Clothes Hangers, via Keep 

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