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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Each piece is designed by Josef Hartwig to reflect the moves that it can make in the game. This Bauhaus product is a fine example of collaboration between the different workshops: Heinz Nosselt produced the corresponding chess table in the joinery workshop, while Joost Schmidt designed the accompanying promotional leaflet and posters. This example is from the developmental period of the Bauhaus chess set. It is the penultimate version to the one produced in Dessau.
Chess set, by Josef Hartwig, 1924, Beech Stained Natural or Black for Workshop for sculpture, Bauhaus Weimar
Interior Design has posted an article “Brains and Braun” by Larry Weinberg looking at influential product designs produced by Braun from the 50s and ’60s.
“order rather than confusion, quiet rather than loud, unobtrusive rather than exciting, sparse rather than profuse, and well-balanced rather than exalted.”
- Dieter Rams
Images: (top) T1000 World Receiver, 1963, (middle) Record player PS 45, (bottom) Pocket radio T-41, all by Dieter Rams, for Braun
Many objects are beautiful; and many creations are functional. But only few achieve enduring status. Designed by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius in 1969, the Tac tea service is probably the most beautiful tea service ever produced.
“Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair, but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.”
- Walter Gropius
Tac Tea Pot, by Walter Gropius, (1883-1969) for Rosenthal
The Nationalbank building in the middle of Copenhagen is a distinctive presence in the street scene. It was designed by the internationally renowned Danish architect Arne Jacobsen and is considered one of his finest works. The extensive building was constructed in stages, commencing in 1965. The first stage comprised the construction of a new note printing works. After Jacobsen’s death in 1971 the architectural firm Dissing + Weitling took over the building project. The central hall of “Nationalbanken” with it’s cathedral atmosphere, marble floor, walls and ceiling and the sculptural staircase is one of the most beautiful indoor spaces in the city.