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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hans Wegner

I started this blog September 6, 2010. Some of you have been readers since the beginning. Others have come on board later. From now through the end of the month, I'm going to be on a short blogging break. Not only am I in the middle of a big volunteer project, I'm also trying to help get the new store open, so I've decided share some of my favorite posts from the past four years. I'll throw in a few new photos for you longtime supporters who read the posts when they were first published.


(First posted 3/5/2011)

Hans Wegner (1914-2007) was born in Denmark and worked as a child apprentice to cabinetmaker H. F. Stahlberg. After serving in the military, he attended the Danish School of Arts and Crafts and then the Architectural Academy in Copenhagen. He held a strong belief that furniture should be functional and beautiful. He designed over 500 chairs during the course of his career, and he was responsible for making Danish design popular on an international scale.

Wegner worked for Arne Jacobsen for several years and then started his own company in 1943. Most of his chair designs were manufactured by PP Møbler and Carl Hansen & Søn. The Peacock chair, designed in 1947, was given its nickname by Finn Juhl. It has a slatted back rest that fans out to resemble a peacock tail, with flat sections of slats that look like the eyes of a peacock feather. This chair was inspired by the traditional Windsor chair. 

Wegner's breakthrough and major sales success was the Round chair (1949), which is now simply called The Chair. It rose to prominence after being featured on the cover of the American magazine Interiors, which called it "the world's most beautiful chair." The Round chair was used during the Nixon-Kennedy presidential debates, giving it mass exposure. Other well-known Wegner designs are the Shell chair (1948), the Y-Chair (1949), the Cow Horn chair (1952), the Bear chair (1954), the Bull chair (1960) and the Three-Legged chair (1963).

In 1960 Wegner came out with several variations on the Ox chair which came with or without horns and showed a playful side of his designs. "We must take care," he said, "that everything doesn't get so dreadfully serious. We must play--but we must play seriously."

From architonic.com



Peacock chair
1stdibs.com

The Chair
1stdibs.com

Three-legged Shell chair
1stdibs.com

CH24 Wishbone or chair
scandinavia-design.fr

Cowhorn chair
moma.org

Papa Bear chair
mid2mod.com

Bull chair
liveauctioneers.com

Ox chair
midcenturia.com

Wegner relaxing in an Ox chair
dailyicon.net


To watch a Wegner Peacock chair or The Chair being handcrafted, here are two videos that follow the process from beginning to end.







Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ralph Rapson

I started this blog September 6, 2010. Some of you have been readers since the beginning. Others have come on board later. From now through the end of the month, I'm going to be on a short blogging break. Not only am I in the middle of a big volunteer project, I'm also trying to help get the new store open, so I've decided share some of my favorite posts from the past four years. I'll throw in a few new photos for you longtime supporters who read the posts when they were first published.


(First posted 1/3/2011)
Ralph Rapson (1914-2008) was an architect, designer and entrepreneur. He was educated at the University of Michigan and the Cranbrook Academy of Arts, where he studied under Eliel Saarinen. At Cranbrook he met Florence Schust, who would later marry Hans Knoll and then introduce him to the Knoll company, for which he would design a successful line in the 1940s.

Rapson taught architecture at the New Bauhaus School in Chicago from 1942-1946. He Also taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1946-1954. He is well-known for his experimental concept houses like the 1939 "Cave House" and "Fabric House," and the 1945 "Greenbelt House," which was Arts & Architecture's Case Study House #4. Rapson was the Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota from 1954-1984.

In 1963 he designed the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. He also worked for the U.S. Government's Department of Foreign Buildings in the 1950s, after striking a deal that any work he did would be furnished with Knoll furniture. From this period, Rapson is best known for the U.S. Embassy buildings in Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Rapson's furniture designs employed newly developed materials and mass production processes. In 1945 he helped Knoll introduce the 'Equipment for Living' series of furniture. The program was commissioned by the Kellett Aircraft Corporation, who requested that the pieces be made of metal. Rapson's line featuring a tea trolley, side table and lounge proved to be extremely successful, and Knoll created 'Thermalware' accessories like cocktail shakers and ice buckets to accompany the furniture. Knoll then released the Rapson Line in 1945, which included the now-classic "Rapson Rocker."  Knoll sold the playful, organic line to Bloomingdale's in 1945, who then took out a full page advertisement for the rocker in the New York Times, touting it as a modern take on a traditional piece.

Throughout the 1950s, Rapson and his wife Mary had a store, Rapson, Inc., in Boston. The couple sold Rapson's furniture, as well as George Nelson furniture and objects, Harry Bertoia jewelry and pieces from both the Knoll and Herman Miller collections. They also imported pieces that they found to be integral to the energy of modern design like porcelain from Germany and Marimekko textiles from Finland.

From r20thcentury.com and rapsonarchitects.com



Slide cart
rapsonarchitects.com

Slide rocker
rapsonarchitects.com 

Slide sofa and chairs
rapsonarchitects.com

Variation of slide rocker
rapsonarchitects.com

Ralph Rapson's personal Rapid Rocker
rapson-inc.com

Slide lounge
rapsonarchitects.com

Slide lamps
rapsonarchitects.com

Slide lamp sketches
rapsonarchitects.com

Highback Greenbelt rock
rapson-inc.com

Gidwitz House
archpaper.com

Butler House
ncmodernist.org

Schecter House (House of Doors)
ncmodernist.org

casasugar.com