Tag Archive | Modern Design

Eye On Design: Glass Armchair by Shiro Kuramata

Glass Armchair
Photographed By Gail in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum

In the mid-to-late 20th century, an atmosphere of innovation and a desire to question the tenets of modernism led some designers to explore a variety of ways in which to shape space. American Architect and Designer Alexander Hayden Girard utilized color and pattern in textiles, particularly in this colorful abstract, or folk art-inspired work for Herman Miller.

Glass Armchair at Albertz Benda
Photographed at Albertz Benda Gallery

By 1970, Japanese Architect and Interior Designer  Shiro Kuramata (1934 – 1991) was introducing alternative materials such as acrylic and industrial plate glass into his furniture. Utilizing a newly developed adhesive, Kuramata achieved material and visual minimalism with this Glass Armchair (1976). Flat planes of glass are bonded together along their edges, without mounts or screws, to create a functional chair that seems simultaneously visible and invisible. The transparent form invites users to question notions of materiality, utility and comfort.

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Eye On Design: Chariot Mobile Table

Chariot Mobile Table
All Photos By Gail

What kitchen or dining area would fail to make a  statement with something like this in the room? The Chariot Rullebord (2012) is a mobile table/trolley  consisting of three simple elements joined together: wheels, trays and structure. The wheels, which in common carts are usually small, are brought to the extreme size, becoming the iconic element of the project.  This fantastic piece, shown here in its eye-grabbing  bright Red finish, is designed by Copenhagen-based firm Gamfratesi and manufactured from lacquered MDF board, metal and rubber by Casamania in Milan, Italy.

Chariot Mobile Table

Photographed in the Designmuseum in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Eye On Design: Raymond Loewy, Lawn Chef Portable Grill

Lawn Chef Portable Grill
Photos By Gail

This week we are introducing a new, reoccurring feature, Eye on Design, with  American Industrial Design Legend Raymond Loewy (1893 – 1986). Loewy was a French-born American industrial designer who achieved fame for the magnitude of his design efforts across a variety of industries.

Among Loewy’s designs were the Shell, Exxon, TWA and the former BP logos, the Greyhound Scenicruiser bus, Coca-Cola vending machines, the Lucky Strike package, Coldspot refrigerators, the Studebaker Avanti and Champion, and the Air Force One livery. He was involved with numerous railroad designs, including the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 and S-1 locomotives, the color scheme and Eagle motif for the first streamliners of the Missouri Pacific Railroad and a number of lesser known color scheme and car interior designs for other railroads. Raymond Loewy’s career spanned seven decades.

Loewy’s popular design for the Lawn Chef Portable Grill revolutionized outdoor cooking and greatly enhanced the leisure time of the American family of the 1950s.

Lawn Chef Portable Grill 2

Raymond Loewy’s Lawn Chef Portable Grill (1950) was photographed at MOMA in NYC, where it is on currently view on the 3rd Floor, in the Architecture and Design Lobby.

Vivian Beer’s Anchored Candy Chair

Anchored Candy Chair 1
All Photos By Gail

Vivian Beer’s Anchored Candy Chair may remind you of a stiletto-heeled shoe, or perhaps the sleek styling of a sports car.

By fusing such gendered images, Beer highlights both the obvious differences and the more subtle overlap between masculine and feminine consumer forms.

Tuffet Seat

The red Tuffet seat is the first in a new series inspired by the pieces of industrial scrap metal left over from laser cutting. Beer replicated the cut out look of these fragments on a computer, adapting a pattern from a screen by the Art Deco metalsmith Edgar Brandt (1880 – 1960).

Anchored Candy Chair

Like many women in the historical section of the Pathmakers exhibit, Beer studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, which continues to be a center for creative innovation across all disciplines.

Anchored Candy Chair

Since receiving her MFA in 2004, Beer has become well known for her use of industrial materials such as steel and concrete to create sensuously curved seating.

Anchored Candy Chair Detail

Vivian Beers Anchored Candy Chair is part of the Exhibit Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today, at the Museum of Arts and Design, Located at 2 Columbus Circle, NYC, Through September 30th, 2015.

Paul T. Frankl, Skyscraper Step-Table

Skyscraper Step Table

Skyscraper Step Table, 1927 (Photo By Gail)

The magazine Good Furniture commented in 1927 that Paul T. Frankl (1886 – 1958), “has developed one feature that is absolutely unique. This is the now somewhat celebrated skyscraper type of furniture, which is as American and as New Yorkish as Fifth Avenue itself.” Indeed, what could be more American and modern than furniture based on the uniquely American contribution to architecture – The skyscraper. Frankl was creating furniture of this type by 1925, thereby making him one of the first modern designers of American decorative arts.

Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum.

Sansa Chair in Red By Cheick Diallo

Sansa Chair
All Photos By Gail

The Sansa Chair, an inventive deconstruction of the chair form, is among the original creations that have established Cheick Diallo (b 1960 in Mali, West Africa), as one of Africa’s leading contemporary designers.

Sansa Chair Front
Sansa Chair Front View (2012)

Built from steel and nylon material by artisans from Bamakos at Diallo’s direction, the half-reclining Sansa chair seems to sit midway between a European notion of the chair as a leisure object and a West African idea of the chair as a support for displaying a person of status.

Sansa Chair Rear
Sansa Chair Rear View

I think it is simply stunning!

Part of the Brooklyn Museum’s Arts of Africa Collection, this chair is on view in the Double Take: African Innovations Installation, East Gallery, 1st Floor (Through July 2016).

Susan Stainman’s Color All The Way Through at A.I.R. Gallery

Four Triangles and Pleather Form #1
Four Triangles and Pleather Form #1 By Susan Stainman (All Photos By Gail)

With her compelling use of bright, fluorescent colors and her mix of both hard (steel, plexiglass) and soft (fabric, felt, pleather, elastic) materials, artist Susan Stainman creates minimalist sculptures that maintain an original feel while hinting at other influences. In her new exhibit, Color All The Way Through at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, Stainman reveals her work’s roots in late 20th Century American Art, Craft and Architecture along with her fondness for childlike creative impulses. It’s a fun show.

Three Triangles
Three Triangles

Existing in the realm that merges contemporary art with design (any of Stainman’s works would look great placed among the furnishings in a modern decor-filled home), pieces like Three Triangles, with its bright, reflective, angular surfaces recall the neon and glass works of Keith Sonnier.

Four Triangles Alternate View
Four Triangles, Alternate View

Stainman’s incorporation of sewn fabric may or may not be an homage to Louise Bourgeois, but it’s pleasing to imagine that reference, intentional or otherwise. Her desire to explore the texture and tactility of fabrics is certainly exciting.

Blue & Pink Barrel
Blue & Pink Barrel, Side View

Circular Plexiglass Group #2
Circular Plexiglass Group #2

This cluster of ruched fabric “bowls” fitted with bright plexiglass windows is a centerpiece of the A.I.R. show and reminded me very much of the sculptures of Charles Clary from his show at Nancy Margolis in January of this year.

Circular Plexiglass Group #2 Close Up

Circular Plexiglass Group #2, Close Up

Yellow ZigZag
Yellow ZigZag

Pleather Form #2
Pleather Form #2

Susan Stainman has participated in nearly a dozen group shows but Color All The Way Through is her first solo exhibit. It is worth the trip to DUMBO to check it out. Visit Susan’s website at This Link.

Susan Stainman Color All The Way Through Signage

Susan Stainman’s Color All The Way Through will be on Exhibit Through June 22nd, 2014 at A.I.R. Gallery, 111 Front Street #228, DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Artists in Residency Signage