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Icon: László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective

László Moholy-Nagy became known in Germany through his formative work as a teacher at the Bauhaus in Dessau from 1923 to 1928. In 1937 he went to Chicago, where he became the founding director of the New Bauhaus (later named the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology). The New Bauhaus, was the immediate successor to the Bauhaus dissolved in 1933 under National Socialist pressure. Bauhaus ideology had a strong impact throughout America, but it was only at the New Bauhaus that the complete curriculum as developed under Walter Gropius in Weimar and Dessau was adopted and further developed.
A retrospective at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt will examine the complex picture of Moholy-Nagy’s oeuvre in order to present the range of his creative output to the public for the first time since the last major exhibition of his work in Kassel in 1991.

Exhibition: László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective, October 8 – February 7, at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany.

LIFE Magazine Photos of Charles and Ray Eames at Home

The digital archives of Google Books now hosts over 1,860 issues of LIFE magazine, other unpublished photos are also available on Google, including seldom seen images of Charles and Ray Eames at their Pacific Palisades home, also known as Case Study House No. 8. Other LIFE features include Raymond Loewy’s Palm Springs Pad.

Photographs of Charles and Ray Eames, for LIFE
via: The Mid-Century Modernist

Icon: Molded Plywood Leg Splint by Charles and Ray Eames

During World War II, the U.S. Navy called upon Charles and Ray Eames to create a lightweight, inexpensive leg splint. The resulting design is a highly sculptural yet functional device that could be mass-produced and, being modular, conveniently and inexpensively transported. Access to military technology and manufacturing facilities allowed the designers to perfect their technique for molding plywood, which they had been working on for several years. In its three-dimensional, biomorphic form, the leg splint suggests the Eames‘ subsequent, highly influential plywood furniture designs such as the Eames Lounge Chair

Molded Plywood Leg Splint, Patent No. 2548470, by Charles and Ray Eames, Manufactured by Evans Products, Molded Plywood Division
more: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Books: The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design

When Ray and Charles Eames arrived in Los Angeles in 1941, they turned a spare room in their apartment into a workshop to experiment with molded plywood forms with the goal of mass producing furniture. During the war, they began making molded plywood splints for the U.S. Navy. This combination of experience and experimentation led to the design many well-known chairs, including the DCM Chair and the LCW Chair (Low Chair Wood). Sometime in the early 1950s Charles and Ray decided to go ahead with developing an upholstered super-comfortable lounge chair, like those found in men’s clubs. Charles Eames says that “the motivation behind most of the things we’ve done was either that we wanted them ourselves, or we wanted to give them to someone else, and the way to make that practical is to have that gift manufactured… the lounge chair for example, was really done as a present for a friend, Billy Wilder, and has since been reproduced.”

The Lounge Chair has since been in continuous production by Herman Miller and Vitra. Its rosewood veneer and black leather upholstery became a status symbol ”…and during the last decade or so, newspapers and magazine stories have depicted the Eames Chair as the throne of choice for movie moguls and other powerful businessmen who seek to project and air of informal, but total control.” The chair evolved to become the height of luxury and comfort and one of the most important design icons of the 20th century.

The book examines the designs of Ray and Charles Eames and with lavish photographs and illustrations, documents the evolution of the Lounge Chair and places it in its cultural, historical and social context. It also includes insightful interviews of people involved in making the Lounge Chair and observations on its transformation into a Modernist icon.

Charles Eames was often asked to “explain” the Chair. One of his most quoted lines was that he wanted it to have “the warm receptive look of a well-worn first baseman’s mitt. Anyone who has owned the Lounge Chair will tell you — it gets better with age.

The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design, by Pat Kirkham, Thomas Hine, David Hanks, Martin Eidelberg, Hardcover, Dimensions: 25 x 25 cm, Pages: 192
Published by, BIS Publishers
ISBN: 9789063691356
Buy it here: Amazon

Icon: Lorenz Static Table Clock by Richard Sapper

Since it won the prestigious Compasso d’Oro award assigned in 1960 no table clock has ever equalled its originality and functionality. With its ingenious design, which was created by the then very young designer Richard Sapper, Static always finds the correct angle however it is placed. The barely visible support area also creates the impression that the clock is somehow suspended.

Static Table Clock, by Richard Sapper, for Lorenz

Icon: Kodak Bantam Special

The Bantam Special was a glorious exception to Kodak’s generally consumer-oriented camera lines. Styled by famous industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague in 1936, the Bantam Special is one of the finest examples of art-deco styling applied to any camera design. The Bantam Special had a 1937 list price of $110.00, targeting the affluent and fashionable set.

Walter Dorwin Teague was an American industrial designer and writer. In New York a group of individuals including Teague, Norman Bel Geddes, Raymond Loewy and Henry Dreyfuss began to establish industrial design as an independent occupation, promoted by the foundation of the American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen in 1927. Later, in 1944, the Society of Industrial Designers was founded with Teague as its first President.

Kodak Bantam Special, by Walter Dorwin Teague for Kodak

Icon: Ox Chair by Arne Jacobsen

Arne Jacobsen designed this chair over a five-year period. Large, impressive, and extremely comfortable, when it was presented in 1966 it was met with surprise and admiration. “This is also how he can be: angular and with a touch of martial temperament that we could call Germanic or perhaps more properly Japanese in expression”
- Thau and Vindum, eds., Jacobsen.

Arne Jacobsen trained and practiced as an architect, and his evolution as a designer of furniture and objects was the consequence of his desire to achieve a complete harmony within his architectural projects. The range of his ideas is well-defined by two major projects in Copenhagen, those for the SAS Building (1955-1960), a hotel and air terminal, and for the National Bank of Denmark (1961-1971). The buildings reveal an evolution from the International Style minimalism of the SAS Building to a more expressive use of form in the National Bank. Here is the range of Jacobsen the designer, by instinct restrained, yet understanding the need to give character to his creations and ready to be a little playful, as with the anthropomorphic hints in his chair names.

Ox Chair, 1967, DKK 180,000.- (USD 33,000), by Arne Jacobsen, for Fritz Hansen
Available at Møbel Arkitekten

Up Series by Geatano Pesce now in Silver from B&B Italia

Geatano Pesce’s iconic Up lounge chair, designed in the 1960s it is now celebrating its 40th birthday. In honour of this event B&B Italia is making UP available in a new metalic silver upholstery, and in a numbered edition.

UP5 UP6 Silver, by Geatano Pesce, for B&B Italia

MC-1000 Vacuum Cleaner at The Panasonic Design Museum

Before the mid-1950s, vacuum cleaners weren’t in many Japanese homes because dusters, brooms, and floor cloths were considered adequate for cleaning traditional Japanese homes. But through extensive marketing efforts by manufacturers, Japanese-made vacuum cleaners gradually became household necessities by the 1960s – with the MC-1000 top of the list.

MC-1000, by Panasonic, 1965, Part a selection from the Panasonic Design Museum

Icon: Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders

Knotted Chair was featured in the 1996 exhibition “Contemporary Design from the Netherlands” curated by Paola Antonelli at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was presented in Milan in 1996 as part of the “Dry Tech” project initiated by Droog Design of the Netherlands and carried out in cooperation with the Aviation and Space Laboratory of Delft Technical University. Made from a macrame of carbon fibers and epoxy-coated aramid fibers, this chair is now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Cappellini Knotted Chair, 1996, by Marcel Wanders

Editor's Picks

Konstantin B
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Karuselli Lounge Chair
“Without question my favourite piece of interior design, and undoubtedly the most comfortable chair I’ve ever sat in. I like to retire to one with a cigar and a stiff drink as frequently as possible." - Sir Terence Conran. [more...]

Resources

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The U.N. Building
Symbol of world humanitarianism, a beacon of unity after the Second World War. More than 50 years on, the 39-story building is regarded as one of the pinnacles of mid-century modernism. [more...]
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Desire
The Shape of Things to Come. An up-to-date comprehensive survey on furniture and object design today, showcasing the crème de la crème of designers. [more...]
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Marcel Wanders
Behind the Ceiling is the first monograph on one of the most influential, prolific and celebrated international designers today. [more...]
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How to Wrap Five Eggs
A mid-60s classic of Japanese design. Stunningly laid-out paean to traditional Japanese packaging is rife with sumptuous black and white photos of all manner of boxes, wrappers and containers that appear at once homely and sophisticated, ingeniously utilitarian yet fine and rare. [more...]
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