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
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
The Johnson house, Pierre Koenig’s only building in Northern California, was built on a 20-by-20-foot grid. Glass curtain walls open the house to the landscaping and expansive views. A see-through central fireplace forms the centerpiece of the open-plan living-dining area.
Koenig’s additions in 1988 included two new bedrooms, filling the former carport and entry, and providing a new carport in an added wing. The project also involved stripping away a dropped ceiling, wood veneer paneling that hid the steel siding, bay windows, and Victorian-style beveled-glass doors.
“It’s absolutely, completely functional and complete and honest in the delight of its revealed structure. It’s so simple and beautiful, so unadorned. It’s direct and a joy to live in,” Cynthia Riebe says of the house. “I love the night light and how it changes, and the reflections through the interior and the exterior. There’s no boundary between the two.”
The house was restored and expanded by Cynthia and Fred Riebe during the 1990s with the help of Koenig himself. Structure: Steel-framed and steel-sided. The ceilings and exterior walls are unadorned, corrugated steel decking. Laminated wallboard sheathes the interior walls.
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
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
One of two free attractions at Disneyland sponsored by Monsanto was this walk-through tour of a plastic house with plastic furnishings and fascinating modern appliances such as dishwashers, microwave, intercom system, and closets filled with polyester clothes. Designed by Marvin Goody & Richard Hamilton, the house only existed for the 10 year length of Monsanto’s lease, at which time they moved on to the Adventure Thru Inner Space attraction. Goody & Hamilton were MIT architecture faculty members sponsored by Monsanto to find new markets for their plastic products. They took 2 years to design the 1,280 sq. ft. home, at which time they formed their own private firm to take over the commercial planning of the project.
When it was dismantled, the house was so indestructible that the crew gave up and left some of the support pilings in place (they can still be seen in Neptune’s Grotto between the Tomorrowland entrance and Fantasyland). Supposedly the planned one-day demolition ended up taking two weeks as the wrecking ball just bounced off the exterior. Workers cut the house into pieces with hacksaws.
Monsanto House of the Future, 1957–1967, by Marvin Goody & Richard Hamilton, Disneyland, Anaheim, California, USA.
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
The Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói (MAC) is a landmark of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Oscar Niemeyer designed this museum perched on the cliff in the city of Niterói. The disk stretches out over the massive reflecting pool underneath. Similarities to a UFO is entirely intentional. The visitor approaches the disk in a snaking, red-carpet path through the air. The museum opened in 1996 after a huge scandal
Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by Oscar Niemeyer
Recognized by Frank Lloyd Wright as the earliest ‘Usonian’ house, La Miniatura is also the first residence to utilize Wright’s highly inventive textile block building system. The Millard House is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most important works of architecture. Now, following a multi-year restoration, the complex offers one of the most romantic, and creative living spaces anywhere. Sited on nearly an acre of gardens within the Prospect Historic District of Pasadena, the residence and studio include: 4 bedrooms, and 4 baths, 2 kitchens, living room, formal dining room, and semi-attached garages. The Millard House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The only house that Gordon Bunshaft designed is the Travertine House, built in 1963 for his own family. After his death, he left it to the Museum of Modern Art who sold it to Martha Stewart in 1995. Her extensive remodelling led to acrimonious disputes with neighbours so she sold it to Donald Maharam in 2005, who declared it decrepit and demolished the house.
Bunshaft was a partner in the New York office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), and his earliest work, Lever House in New York, was SOM’s breakthrough.
Travertine House, Georgica Pond, New York, by Gordon Bunshaft, (demolished)
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