Eloquent, Articulate George Nelson; the Architect with a Story

Written by buzz. Posted in Furniture

Nelson

Nelson

Post WWII was characterized by a belief in progress, anything was possible and everybody wanted to be modern.  Enter George Nelson, one of the fathers of the industrial design movement known as American Modernism. 

Nelson studied at Yale in 1924; he said he had no idea what he wanted to be.  During a rainstorm he entered the architecture building for shelter which was clearly fated. He graduated with a degree in architecture and went on to become a great writer and designer. 

Nelson’s Ball Clock became an iconic part of the 1950’s atomic era.  This whimsical clock symbolizes mid-century modernism with its forward-looking design, a refreshing change from the traditional styles of the time.  The ball and stick design is reminiscent of the models used in chemistry, Nelson was influenced by scientific knowledge and technical advancements. 

The “Marshmellow Sofa” made entirely out of identically shaped circles exemplifies decomposition of large forms into smaller parts.  Supported by a minimalist steel frame it reaches the heights of pop playfulness, one of Nelson’s iconic pieces.

Part of the permanent collection at MOMA, NY, NY, the Nelson Bubble Lamp is constructed of plastic membranes over wire-forms.   Ever popular still, they adorn many a commercial set and can be found for sale online.

The designs he wrought from the English language could be his greatest designs of all.  With his eloquent style of writing and sense of humor, George Nelson brought a wonderfully bearable lightness of being.

Eames, Two Peas in a Pod

Written by buzz. Posted in Furniture

Eames

Eames

Have you ever seen the chair that looks like a potato chip?  or thought that a molded fiberglass rockers would be comfortable?  Then you have experienced a couple of the many pieces this prolific couple has designed.  Thes Eameses vision of modern design was a catalyst for social change; they achieved their goal with elegance, beauty and wit.

“One of the best kept secrets in science is how unpompous scientists are at their science, and the amount of honest fun that for them is part of it,” Charles Eames once wrote.  You can see the whimsy in their pieces; feel the spirit of their designs as they adorn your home.

Charles got into the practice of molding plywood, a signature trademark of his furniture, in a most interesting way.  He and Eero Saarinen designed furniture for New York’s MOMA “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition.  Using a new technique of wood molding  they won first place.

This win led to a contract to design leg splints and airplane parts for the military.  Studying  the shape of the human body they designed the curves of the splints to fit perfectly.  With access to military technology and manufacturing facilities they equipped Eames with the know-how  he needed to perfect the technique he employed for molding plywood and  mass producing  it.

Through the study of the human body and prototyping in plaster the Eames’ team began to create furniture that is both ergonomic and comfortable.  Using unexpected materials they figured out how to mold it to the the human body.  Their furniture was both affordable and multifunctional.  Today Eames pieces are highly desirable and quite expensive but worth every cent.

Good design was a way to improve people’s lives according to the Eameses; they believed they were helping others understand the world around them.  I know how I feel when I look at an Eames chair; sit in it, like I understand.

Architecture or Art, the Blurred Lines of Le Corbusier

Written by buzz. Posted in Furniture

le corbusier chaise lounge

Le Corbusier Chaise Lounge

For many years I yearned for a Le Corbusier Chaise Lounge.  The moment I laid eyes on it, laid upon it I knew I must have it.  Now I do and it is a prominent piece in my living room. 

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris better known as Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965) was an architect, designer, painter and writer.  He was one of the pioneers of the Modernist mid-century movement and his pieces are iconic fixtures in furniture and design. 

Between 1910 and 1911 he studied near Berlin where he possibly met and was influenced by Mies van der Rohe and Gropius, both major contributors to the Modernist movement .

Corbusier is quoted to have said, “Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois.”   I could not agree more.  After all look at the the chaise lounge he is famous for.

Attractive and comfortable, the chaise lounge conforms to the shape of your body.  It takes up very little space at 19Wx63Dx32H considering it is a lounge chair.  With a chrome steel tubular cradle that sits on a black steel base this design allows for just the right adjustment and with very little effort to go from upright to full recline. 

Mine is black and white pony complete with a roll-style head pillow for added comfort.  Leather straps securely attach the cushion to the frame in a subtle way.  For support there are rubber straps beneath the upholstered cushion.  It is sleek and sexy and when you are not sitting in it you are admiring it as the piece of artwork it is. 

It truly embodies Le Corbusier’s sense of style and makes me smile every time I walk into the living room.  Designed in 1928, it is a timeless design that will never go out of style.

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