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Author Archive
Bertoia Chair Knoll, 1955:  Harry Bertoia

Bertoia Chair Knoll, 1955: Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia, while designing his classic wire chairs, was interested in exploring the formal expression of sitting on air; of sitting on as little structure as possible. Sitting on air is a design idea, a concept. Bertoia who for years explored the possibilities of wire in his sculpture, used this facility in manipulating wire to...
Tupperware, 1949: Earl Tupper

Tupperware, 1949: Earl Tupper

Earl Tupper, the inventor and designer of Tupperware, broke a few rules of production. Breaking a single ‘rule’ of production can sometimes lead to new formal solutions as seen with Thonet. Tupper did just that by forming a large undercut at the top of his bowls. Tupper allowed two pieces of plastic to flex and...
Crystal Palace: Joseph Paxton 1851

Crystal Palace: Joseph Paxton 1851

The Crystal Palace was designed by Joseph Paxton (1803 – 1865), a well-known gardener who was familiar with green house design, to house the great exposition of 1851. The Crystal Palace was one of the first buildings to use the new method of producing plate glass. By combining the plate glass with a minimal frame...
Thonet: thonet chair, 1848

Thonet: thonet chair, 1848

Michael Thonet’s determination to bend wood efficiently and consistently produced the classic Thonet side chair. We couldn’t possibly believe that the form of Thonet’s chairs follows primarily from their function. We unavoidably perceive that material considerations and the formal language derived from the investigation of the material led to his particular and very individual forms....
Marcel Breuer: Cesca and Wassily chairs

Marcel Breuer: Cesca and Wassily chairs

Cesca Chair Noticing that steel tubing could be formed into bicycle handlebars is supposedly what sparked the idea for Marcel Breuer’s classic “Cesca” chair. Taken separately from the manufacturing process, each of Breuer’s expressions of form would not seriously be considered the most appropriate formal expression of the material used. The Cesca chair is most...
Eames: Wicker chair, 19th century

Eames: Wicker chair, 19th century

An intimate knowledge of material is necessary, probably as intimate as that of craftsmen – a facility with the material lets us understand what it wants to be. This a dilemma in a specialized society which demands the new but does not always know how to take advantage of it. Certainly the Eames’s experiments in...
Design is a Performing Art: Canoe?

Design is a Performing Art: Canoe?

The intent of this collection of essays is to clarify the relationship between art and design. That they are not one and the same. To draw a clear picture of the processes by which things have been designed: either by material influences or mechanical process. That human beings instinctively produce good design and that a...
Design is a Performing Art: Form Follows Facility

Design is a Performing Art: Form Follows Facility

I was always fascinated with the way things are made. When I was a kid I loved making stuff. During my education I met some wonderful people who explained and showed me how to make things. As I started to teach and design I tried to bring my fascination with materials and processes to the...