My book Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes is back in print (and the 500 backorders should soon be fulfilled). It is also being sold at Crate & Barrel (one of the stores inspired by D/R’s example, and a longtime seller of Marimekko). Under “Home Accents.” Not sure what to think.
Objects Fall From the Sky
StorageWall, by George Nelson and Henry Wright, published in LIFE Magazine, 1945 (via Oklahoma City Museum, which has a Nelson show this spring) What’s more important: crediting a designer or the designer credited? Ralph Caplan writes: During a period when some designers who had worked for him were complaining that they got no recognition for work they had done in the George Nelson...
Design Is Storytelling
Photos by Eric Laignel for Interior Design. One of those commonalities is the idea that physical objects are vessels for memory and feeling. Girard thought this was a crucial idea to remember and incorporate when designing a space, but he thought that modernism, as a design agenda, had left this notion behind, to its detriment. Ironically, modernism was looking for a way to be global and ...
What Should Food Look Like?
or I’m participating in GOOD’s weeklong blogfest Food for Thinkers, and was spurred by Nicola Twilley to think about food, design, class and “classiness.” Are you a hand-salted cracker eater or do you prefer a crinkly metallic bag? Goldfish or Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies? Farmer’s market or supermarket apples? Don’t we need a new look for good food? So...
How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Eameses?
I don’t know what to do with this book. The Story of Eames Furniture, by Marilyn Neuhart with John Neuhart (Gestalten, 2010), is a labor of love, a two-part, richly-illustrated history of some of the most famous modern chairs in the world. To reject it seems harsh. It contains fascinating tales of false starts and under-known design careers, what could be a separate book of clever...
China as Architectural Haven/Heaven?
I can’t let the New York Times’s insanely rosy picture of China as a savior for mid-size U.S. firms get buried over the weekend. Talk about an article without context: minimal Chinese reporting (no dateline), a rendering of what looks like two Pacific Northwest houses bonded together with glue, and no counter-experiences. It makes it sound as if only the Chinese are insane enough to...
Container List: George Tscherny for Herman Miller →
I own two of these Thin Edge bureaux, my best estate sale score ever. I’ve been admiring Herman Miller’s graphics ever since I read the massive Story of Eames Furniture (look for my not-quite-so-massive review on Design Observer Monday). Herbert Matter, Charles Kratka, George Tscherny all contributed to selling us the new shapes created by Eames, Nelson, Girard and their talented...
Bring Back Braids
Cutting off your braids has ever been a rite of passage and a sign of rebellion. Which was why I was fascinated to see the starring role played by Mattie Ross’s braids in Joel and Ethan Coen’s True Grit. (The Coens appear on NPR’s Fresh Air today; also see the show’s excellent Tumblr.) Lustrous, practical, they summed up the character precisely. A bob would have...
Bag Bans, Yes, but No Plastic?
Laura Anne Marsden, 21st Century Ruff (recycled plastic bags) I’ve seen the photos of garbage dumps from space, read about the underage landfill pickers, seen the strangled seafowl. I understand the crusade for minimal packaging, since that is trash. I understand the crusade for recyclable plastics. I understand Italy’s plastic bag ban (though I don’t get why it is such...
Whitney v. Grand Central
Davidson: Okay, we’ve discussed a lot of skyscrapers. Do we have any other candidates? Bergdoll: I’m going to go with the Whitney. Dubbeldam: Oh, you beat me to it! The Whitney! I’ve said that for years! I love the potted plaza below street level, and the little bridge. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings in New York. Davidson: Barry and Winka vote for the Whitney. Everyone else...
Observers Room: From the Cabat to the City
Last week’s New Yorker profile of Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier opens with a set of personal fusses with which I think most design people would identify, from a publicist who removes lint from writer John Colapinto’s suit (“If that’s there, he won’t be able to think of anything else.”) to the news that Maier removed the H from his first name to...