Robin Day’s prizewinning design for the Royal Festival Hall chair, created for entry into MoMA’s 1948 International Low-Cost Furniture Competition, helped to launch his career as an industrial designer. Day enjoyed a long-term consultancy with Hille, the chair’s manufacturer, as well as the establishment of a studio with his future wife, Lucienne.
Epitomizing the contemporary style and technological innovation of the 1951 Festival of Britain, the chair was featured in the couple’s Home and Gardens pavilion as well as in the lounge of the new Royal Festival. The chair also appeared in that year’s Milan Triennale and was soon put into production for an international market. Robin Day’s radical molded plywood seating design appears on the point of taking flight, as if lifted off its slender steel legs by the surge of energy and hope also expressed in the Festival of Britain that year. The lemon-yellow upholstery and copper-plated legs add to the extraordinary visual vitality of this sculptural piece.
The fabric hung in the background (left) is by Austrian-born textile designer Marian Mahler, a contemporary of Robin and Lucienne Day. The yellow textile on the right is a length of Lucienne’s1958 design Mezzanine, which was presented to the Museum by Denver-based Lucienne Day collectors Jill A. Wiltse and Kirk H. Brown III.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, The Value of Good Design, on View at The Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.
It didn’t take long for me to spot the clear favorite piece of the entire 2019 Architectural Digest Design Show. This Glass Block Couch from Arcana Furniture & Lighting of NYC had the entire show buzzing!
Designed by sculpture Jack Erikkson and meticulously hand-crafted from architectural glass block and powder-coated steel window guard, with a chartreuse velvet cushion, the couch is not only eye-catching but also very comfortable to sit on (you better believe I tried it out). I can’t stop Looking at it.
What a fantastic addition this piece would make to any modern decor. Dustin John, Jack’s architect partner in Arcana, explained that the piece is meant to fuse two common building materials, glass block and steel — both traditionally exterior finishes — in one furniture piece. “We’re interested in the creative mid-use of the elements, slicing two materials down to a furniture scale and making it work,” he told me.
The price of the couch is $15,000 wholesale, if there are any architect / designers reading this who are looking for the ideal statement piece for a well-off client! Subscribe to updates from Arcana by visiting This Link!
Composed of Vinylite and manufactured by a chemical company (Gallowhur Chemical Corp. of Windsor, VT) this Inflatable Chair (1944) typifies the application of innovative materials and production techniques — heightened during wartime — to domestic products. Designer William H. Miller was an employee of Gallowhur Chemical.
During World War II, Miller collaborated with a cousin of Franklin D. Roosevelt to design a pocket-sized water-desalination device that became standard equipment for Army and Navy Fliers.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit The Value of Good Design, On View Through June 15th, 2019 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
This bright red armchair that looks like it was chiseled from a boulder is actually sculpted from polyurethane foam and upholstered in a brushed velvet-like polyester, making it quite a comfortable place to rest. This chair (Species II circa 2015) is part of the Species series by London-based design duo Fredrikson Stallard, following their study in evolution through the media of furniture design. The designers claim that the chair was “created with a brute force that is at odds with ideas of comfort or human contact, yet so inviting by the nature of its materials.” I think anyone can see what they are getting at.
The pieces are further described as “amorphous structures, elements of sculpted mass, chaotic energy, finished in shades of red, as for Fredrikson Stallard these are the colors of life and death. Something along the lines of – “It couldn’t happen here, but then it did.” This is very much furniture, but not as we know it.
Fredrikson Stallard’s Armchair Species II (2015) was Photographed in the Booth for the David Gill Gallery (London) at the Salon Art and Design, NYC, in November of 2018. Limited Edition, Direct Inquiries to David Gill Gallery Dot Com.
Every year without fail, my favorite exhibitor at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) is PolArt Designs of Mexico. Each piece of their Victorian style furniture is custom-made to the end-user’s specs of finish color and fabric type, to make these pieces suitable for either indoor or outdoor use. At ICFF 2018, I was particularly smitten with this Modern Victorian Ottoman and Sofa created in a pale pink finish with complementray pink velvet fabric upholstery. Simply reathtaking.
In the mid- 1800s, German immigrant John Henry Belter was New York City’s most important cabinetmaker, producing Rococo Revival style furniture for the luxury market. Belter garnered an international reputation for the suites of drawing-room furniture he manufactured, many of laminated and deeply carved rosewood. This large and exuberant sofa, embellished with bountiful carved bouquets of naturalistic blooms, epitomizes his best work. The modern damask covering was chosen because fragments of the original dark red sill upholstery were found on the sofa’s frame during recent conservation
Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Polart creates fun, Baroque-inspired furniture, producing it in mold-injected polymer and vinyl upholstery and in a choice of six, super-saturated monochromatic looks. We spotted the Tête à Tête conversational chair at the ICFF this year and let out an audible squeal for its soft and seductive Pinkness. The chair is appropriate for indoor or outdoor use!
Tête à Tête Chaise (Detail)
Photographed at the ICFF 2017 at Javits Center in NYC!