The Vitra Design Museum collections evolved from modest beginnings in the 1980s to become one of the world’s most important collections of modern furniture. It was founded on two furniture collections – one compiled by Rolf Fehlbaum and the other by Alexander von Vegesack.
Surveying the collections as a whole, the following areas emerge as focal points: the period from the 1850s to the turn of the century shows a focus on bentwood furniture, the designs of Viennese architects and pieces by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright. The first three decades of the twentieth century are most prominently represented by the work of Gerrit Rietveld, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the Bauhaus, as well as Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret. Along with the sizeable holdings from American sources, particularly Charles & Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and Harry Bertoia, the period up to the Second World War is also defined by the French ‘constructeur’ Jean Prouvé, whose work is superbly documented with his most significant furniture designs, as well as many of his facade elements. From Scandinavia, there are designs by such figures as Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, Poul Kjaerholm and Verner Panton and, from Italy, pieces by Gio Ponti, Carlo Mollino, Achille Castiglioni, Studio Memphis and Alchimia. Furnishings from the Arts and Crafts movement along with Art Deco and Art Nouveau are represented, albeit with relatively few examples. Taking the position that subsequent developments in modern furniture can only be fully understood as the ideological and stylistic heirs of these late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century movements, the earlier periods would presumably be the mostly likely candidates for expansion within the collections.
Design Museum Collections, Vitra Design Museum, Read more: Vitra Magazine
The Mid-Century Modernist has unearthed a close relative of the Executive Chair, the ES 102 Intermediate Swivel Arm Chair is made of a bright polished Eames aluminum Eames Universal base, frame and arms; black painted tube. Black leather upholstery on the seat, back and arm rests. Introduced in 1968, discontinued in 1973 due to high production costs.
Knoll Ads from the early-50′s and mid-60′s, part of a Flickr set.
Product design agency Teague, has an interesting post on the Kodak Bantam Special. Considered an icon in the classic design style of the 1930’s, the camera was designed by 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.
Kodak Bantam Special, by Walter Dorwin Teague for Kodak
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.
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.
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
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
Buy it here: Amazon
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
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