In 1927, Paul Frankl wrote, “In my own creations for the modern American home, I have kept within the architectural spirit of our time,” citing the New York City skyline as his most powerful design source. Indeed, the architecture of Manhattan is reflected in every detail of Frankl’s Skyscraper Cabinet, including its simplicity, continuity of line, flat surfaces, sharp and clean moldings, quality of restraint, and overall feeling of power. Not even 18-inches deep, Frankl’s cabinet was designed to conserve space in small city apartments. See other examples of Paul Frankl’s Skyscraper-influenced designs Here and Here.
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.
By the 1920s, the skyscraper was a symbol of American modernity. Here, designer Paul Frankl uses maple and Bakelite to suggest the jagged, upward-reaching outline of a New York skyscraper. By breaking with the constraints of the past, this towering architectural form expressed the excitement and optimism of a new era.
Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.