George Nelson (1908-1986) was a pioneering modernist who ranks with Raymond Loewy, Charles Eames, and Eliot Noyes as one of America's outstanding designers. Nelson's office produced some of the twentieth century's canonical pieces of industrial design, many of which are still in production: the ball clock, the bubble lamp, the sling sofa. Nelson also made major contributions to the storage wall, the shopping mall, the multi-media presentation, and the open-plan office system. The author of this definitive biography was given access to Nelson's office archives and personal papers. He also interviewed more than 70 of Nelson's friends, colleagues, employees, and clients (including the late D. J. De Pree, former head of the Herman Miller Furniture Company and Nelson's chief patron) and obtained many previously unpublished images from corporate and private archives. The full range of Nelson's work is represented, from product and furniture design to packaging and graphics to large-scale projects such as the Fairchild house and the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow. Because Nelson was a serious and original thinker about design issues, Abercrombie quotes extensively from his published and unpublished writings, offering provocative new material to students of design theory and philosophy.
1904 Born November 17 in Los Angeles. 1906 Family moves to Japan. 1918-22 Returns alone to the United States to attend school in Rolling Prairie, Illinois. After graduation apprentices in sculpture studio of Gutzon Borglum. 1923 Moves to New York. Enrolls in Columbia University's premedical program. 1924 Studies sculpture at Leonardo da Vinci Art School in New York. 1927-28 Receives John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Travels to Paris where he works as an assistant to Brancusi and studies drawing at Academy Grande Chaumičre and Academy Collarosi. 1929 First solo exhibition at the Eugene Schoen Gallery, New York. 1930-31 Studies brush drawing with Chi Pai-shih in Beijing and clay sculpting with Jinmatsu Uno in Kyoto. 1935 Creates first of many stage sets for Martha Graham. 1938 Wins competition and creates relief sculpture for entrance of Associated Press building at Rockefeller Center, New York. 1951 Begins to design akari lamps. 1956 Designs gardens at UNESCO in Paris. 1968 Retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 1974 Participates in Masters of Modern Sculpture show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. 1985 Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum opens to the public in Long Island City, New York. 1986 Represents the United States at the Venice Biennale. 1987 Receives the National Medal of Arts. 1988 Dies December 30 in New York.
Gyula Pap (1899 - 1983) was one of the Bauhaus artist-students. He later became a teacher and the Bauhaus had a great influence on his whole life. The black and white photographs, original paintings, fabrics and metalwork displayed are from the collector Dr. Friedrich Hellersberg, Heppenheim near Frankfurt, Germany. The exhibition is on loan by Andrea Hassan, who studied at what is now called the Bauhaus University in Weimar, and has been a Dubai resident for nearly 25 years. As a mediator between the cultures, she has brought this exhibition here to raise awareness about the Bauhaus. “If nothing else, Dubai’s skyline would never have developed without Bauhaus principles set forth,” she observes.
Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was born in Utrecht in the Netherlands in 1888. After working in his father's joinery business, he apprenticed at a jewellery studio. In 1911 he started his own cabinet-making firm, which he maintained for eight years. In this same period, he studied architecture. Through his studies he became acquainted with several founders of De Stijl. In 1917 Rietveld designed the Red Blue Chair, which signalled a radical change in architectural theory. His unusual furniture designs led to several housing commissions which he invariably designed in a Neo-plastic style. The designs utilized the free and variable use of space and showed a profound understanding of dynamic spatial ideas. In the late 1920s architecture in the Netherlands focused on the idea of "dematerialization". This idea influenced a series of terrace houses with which Rietveld was involved. In 1928 Rietveld acted as a founding member of CIAM. With a few exceptions, the 1930s and 1940s were not particularly productive for Rietveld. Between 1942 and 1948, Rietveld taught at several institutions in the Netherlands. In 1963 he was elected an honorary member of the Bond van Nederlandse Architecten and in 1964 he received an honorary degree from the Technische Hochschule in Delft. Rietveld died in Utrecht in 1964.
Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe was born in Aachen, Germany in 1886. He worked in the family stone-carving business before he joined the office of Bruno Paul in Berlin. He entered the studio of Peter Behrens in 1908 and remained until 1912. Under Behrens' influence, Mies developed a design approach based on advanced structural techniques and Prussian Classicism. He also developed a sympathy for the aesthetic credos of both Russian Constructivism and the Dutch De Stijl group. He borrowed from the post and lintel construction of Karl Friedrich Schinkel for his designs in steel and glass. Mies worked with the magazine G which started in July 1923. He made major contributions to the architectural philosophies of the late 1920s and 1930s as artistic director of the Werkbund-sponsored Weissenhof project and as Director of the Bauhaus. Famous for his dictum 'Less is More', Mies attempted to create contemplative, neutral spaces through an architecture based on material honesty and structural integrity. Over the last twenty years of his life, Mies achieved his vision of a monumental 'skin and bone' architecture. His later works provide a fitting denouement to a life dedicated to the idea of a universal, simplified architecture Mies died in Chicago, Illinois in 1969.
Eero Saarinen was born in Kirkkonummi, Finland in 1910. He studied in Paris and at Yale University, after which he joined his father's practice. Eero initially pursued sculpture as his art of choice. After a year in art school, he decided to become an architect instead. Much of his work shows a relation to sculpture. Saarinen developed a remarkable range which depended on color, form and materials. Saarinen showed a marked dependence on innovative structures and sculptural forms, but not at the cost of pragmatic considerations. He easily moved back and forth between the International Style and Expressionism, utilizing a vocabulary of curves and cantilevered forms. Saarinen died in Ann Arbour, Michigan in 1961.
Mart Stam is an architect, planner and designer (especially chairs). Dutch. Stamréussit Mart to be present at important moments in the history of twentieth century architecture. Mart Stam studied at the Royal School of Higher Studies in Amsterdam. At Zurich in 1923 it was originally the magazine ABC Beiträge zum Bauen (the ABC's contribution to the building) with the architect Hans Schmidt, Hannes Meyer, and future director of the Bauhaus and El Lissitzky. After moving to Berlin, designed a chair Stam cantilever steel tube using pipes and gas pipes connecting standard. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe read the work of Stam on the creation of chairs in the design of Weissenhofsiedlung and made by Marcel Breuer of the Bauhaus. This immediately brought the two creators, as well as Mies Breuer, to a variation on the theme of tubular cantilever chair. This gives a mortance Mart Stam in terms of influence on his contemporaries. In the late 20, Breuer and Stam went before the German courts, everyone believed to be the inventor of the basic principle of the cantilever chair. Stam won, and from that moment some parts specific Breuer are wrongly attributed to Stam. Stam participation in the project developed permanent home in 1927 for the exhibition "Die Wohnung" (Habitat) in Stuttgart. Thus côtoiera Le Corbusier, by Peter Behrens, Bruno Taut, Hans Poelzig and Walter Gropius. In 1927 he became a founding member, with Gerrit Rietveld and Hendrik Petrus Berlage, the CIAM, which are international conventions of modern architecture to promote architecture and town planning services. In 1930 Stam became one of twenty architects and planners who, by Ernst May, the town planner for the city of Frankfurt, went USSR together to create a string of towns whose Stalinist Magnitogorsk. Mart Stam was on site in February 1931 to participate in house construction workers sound, the project was a failure. Mart Stam moved to head the site Makeyvka in Ukraine in 1932; then Orsk especially with a Bauhaus student who becomes his wife; Balgash then, the mining town Soviet operator copper. Stam returned to the Netherlands in 1934. Mart Stam was later appointed director of the Institute of Industrial Arts in the Netherlands. In 1948 he took a professorship at the Academy of Arts figurative Dresden and began to preach in favor of a strict and modern structure for the reconstruction of the badly damaged town, a plan that does not require the approval of the inhabitants. Mart Stam became director of the Higher Institute of Arts in Berlin.
Philippe Starck is a legend. An extraordinary mix of a popstar, crazy inventor and romantic philosopher. His work is omnipresent: from the stylish New York hotels to the catalogue for 4900,-- FF, from the private rooms of a French President to the biggest waste removal center, from hundreds of thousands of chairs and lamps in bars and apartments all over the world to the tooth brushes in bathrooms.
Wilhelm Wagenfeld, born in Bremen in 1900, studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule and after he started his apprenditiceship as a silveremith. In 1923 he was a student at the metal work laboratory of the Bauhaus, ran by Moholy-Nagy, Wagenfeld become assistent in 1926 and teacher in 1929. In the ensuing years he began to work in industry: the Jenaer Glaswerke, the Vereinigte Lausitze Glaswerke, and the Rosenthal porcelain factory. After the war, Wagenfeld moved to Berlin where he taught industrial design, first at the Leibruitz Academy and then at the Fine Arts School. Wagenfeld, well known a "the modern craftsman", managed to fit in with the industrial system. Not surprisingly, his name is closely linked to Bauhaus in Weimar, an astonishing incubator of pioneering experimentation and applied arts.
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1867. He and his family settled in Madison, Wisconsin in 1877. He was educated at Second Ward School, Madison from 1879 to 1883. After a brief sting at the University of Wisconsin where he took some mechanical drawing and basic mathematics courses, Wright departed for Chicago where he spent several months in J. L. Silsbee's office before seeking employment with Adler and Sullivan. Wright evolved a new concept of interior space in architecture. Rejecting the existing view of rooms as single-function boxes, Wright created overlapping and interpenetrating rooms with shared spaces. He designated use areas with screening devices and subtle changes in ceiling heights and created the idea of defined space as opposed to enclosed space. Through experimentation, Wright developed the idea of the prairie house - a long, low building with hovering planes and horizontal emphasis. He developed these houses around the basic crucifix, L or T shape and utilized a basic unit system of organization. He integrated simple materials such as brick, wood, and plaster into the designs. In 1914 Wright lost his wife and several members of his household when a servant burned down Taliesin, his home and studio in Wisconsin. Following the tragedy, he re-directed his architecture toward more solid, protective forms. Although he produced few works during the 1920s, Wright theoretically began moving in a new direction that would lead to some of his greatest works. Walter Burley Griffin was among the many notable architects to emerge from the Wright studios. In 1932 Wright established the Taliesin Fellowship - a group of apprentices who did construction work, domestic chores, and design studies. Four years later, he designed and built both Fallingwater and the Johnson Administration Building. These designs re-invigorated Wright's career and led to a steady flow of commissions, particularly for lower middle income housing. Wright responded to the need for low income housing with the Usonian house, a development from his earlier prairie house. During the last part of his life, Wright produced a wide range of work. Particularly important was Taliesin West, a winter retreat and studio he built in Phoenix, Arizona. He died at Taliesin West in 1959.
The Bauhaus was an important design school centered on the applied arts and founded in Weimar, Germany, in 1919. Its founder, Walter Gropius, was an influential modern architect and later a teacher and director at the Bauhaus school. In addition to influencing modern architecture, art and graphic design, the Bauhaus school made significant contributions to early 20th-century furniture design. The Bauhaus school based its design philosophy on the principles that design should be relevant to the needs of society and that it should utilize modern technology and materials to inexpensively meet consumer needs. The Bauhaus school eschewed what it considered "bourgeois" decorative details and instead promoted functional, inexpensive, consumer products where form follows function and less is more. This philosophy resulted in clean, simple and modern design.