The Charm of Mid-Century Modern Bar Carts

Italian Elegance on Wheels

In the effervescent era of the 1940s through 1960s, a new symbol of sophistication emerged in the form of mid-century modern bar carts. These functional yet stylish furnishings, showcased on AP Mid-Century Modern, reflect a period when socializing and home entertaining became central to the modern lifestyle. The post-war era, with its smaller living spaces and new societal norms, demanded furniture that was both aesthetic and practical, leading to the birth of these iconic pieces.

Mid-century modern design, distinguished by its clean lines, organic shapes, and emphasis on functionality, profoundly influenced the creation of bar carts. Design legends like Marcel Breuer and Charles and Ray Eames utilized materials such as wood, metal, and glass to craft minimalist yet elegant carts. These pieces weren’t just furniture; they were a statement of modernity, often featured in media, further cementing their status as symbols of a progressive lifestyle.

Italy’s foray into this realm added an extra layer of sophistication. Renowned for their craftsmanship
and design innovation, Italian designers like Gio Ponti, Cesare Lacca, and Aldo Tura brought a unique elegance to the mid-century aesthetic. Their creations, often incorporating luxurious materials like brass, chrome, and fine woods, stood out for their exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail, transforming functional carts into artful masterpieces.

Left: Walnut Tea Trolley by Cesare Lacca from the 1940’s. Right: 20th Century Italian Walnut Bar Cart by Aldo Tura.

Cesare Lacca’s sleek designs and Aldo Tura’s use of unusual materials like lacquered goatskin, marked a departure from the norm, infusing richness and texture into their bar carts. These designers didn’t just create furniture; they crafted heirlooms, blending traditional techniques with a modern flair that continues to inspire contemporary design.

Today, the allure of mid-century modern bar carts endures. AP Mid-Century Modern offers a curated selection of these timeless pieces, celebrating their history, design, and enduring appeal. Whether it’s a vintage piece or a contemporary design inspired by this golden era, these bar carts are more than just furniture – they are a testament to an era of elegance and a tribute to the Italian designers who redefined the art of entertaining.

1930s Italian Art Deco Dry Bar.


A vintage Mid-Century modern Italian wooden bar cart produced by Cassina.
A vintage Mid-Century modern Italian two-part cocktail bar cabinet made of Rosewood and Walnut by Osvaldo Borsani. Circa 1940 - 1960, Italy.
A large vintage Mid-Century modern Italian cocktail bar made of Mahogany and Rosewood, designed most likely by Osvaldo Borsani. Circa 1940 - 1960, Italy.
A vintage Mid-Century modern Italian bar cart made of hand carved Walnut, designed by Cesare Lacca and produced by Cassina. The serving tea trolley is composed with two large glass shelves and one small glass shelf, supported by four chrome wheels.