Fifty Years of the Instamatic Camera
The Kodak Instamatic camera celebrates it’s 50th anniversary this year. Introduced in March 1963, the Instamatic revolutionized amateur photography in its day with it’s four shot flashcube and instant loading film cartridge. The Instamatic influenced many competitors’ products for years.
Getting There: How Design Influences Travel
Arthur Radebaugh, Advertisement for Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation (circa 1940s).
“Getting There: How Design Influences Travel” is an exhibition organized by the Design Museum of Boston and aptly located in Terminal E of Boston’s Logan Airport; the show explores the influence of design on the travel industry.
According to the Design Museum of Boston Web site the exhibition features “Drawings, models, and prototypes from design firms such as Bose, Samsonite, Teague, Two Twelve, and IDEO, … projects that have creatively addressed design challenges posed by the constraints of human travel.”
The show is ongoing and free to the public.
A Dreamhouse for Architect Barbie
Ting Li & Maja Paklar, A Dream House for Architect Barbie (2012).
Congratulations go out to Ting Li and Maja Paklar, both recent graduates of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, for their winning entry in the American Institute of Architects’ Architect Barbie Dream House Competition (pictured above).
Barbie’s house features a “multilevel cantilevered, green-roofed, bamboo-floored, local-sourced, solar-paneled palazzo with spaces for entertainment, exercise and meditation1” as well as a digitally-controlled tower closet! Read more on Design Observer.
1. Levinson, N. (August 8, 2012). A Dream House for Architect Barbie. The Design Observer Group. http://observatory.designobserver.com/feature/a-dream-house-for-architect-barbie/29308/
Early Laptop Designer William “Bill” Moggridge 1943-2012
If you’ve ever spent any time working on a laptop computer, you’ve had interaction with design influenced by industrial designer, William “Bill” Moggridge. In 1979 Moggridge was approached by technology firm Grid Systems to design a portable computer small enough to fit in a briefcase. The computer, called The Compass, sold in the early 1980s for about $8000.1
Earlier, in the 1970s, Moggridge designed a precursor to the desktop computer that was about the size of a sewing machine. This design prototype, however, was never manufactured.1
“Moggridge later went on to co-found design company IDEO in 1991 and took over as director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, a wing of the Smithsonian Institute, in January 2010,” 2 a position he held until his death on September 8, 2012.2
- Kaufman, L. (September 9, 2012). William Moggridge, Designer and Laptop Pioneer, Dies at 69. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/technology/william-moggridge-laptop-pioneer-dies-at-69.html
- Knight, S. (September 10, 2012).Early laptop designer Bill Moggridge dead at age 69. Techspot.com. http://www.techspot.com/news/50099-early-laptop-designer-bill-moggridge-dead-at-age-69.html
William Moggridge for Grid Systems, The Compass Computer, (1979). Photo credit: Dan Fogg, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.
Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900 – 2000
According the Museum of Modern Art, their current exhibit, Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000, “is the first large-scale overview of the modernist preoccupation with children and childhood as a paradigm for progressive design thinking.” Juliet Kinchin and Aidan O’Connor, who curated “Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen” in 2010 also curated this exhibit which includes over 500 toys from both American and international designers.1
Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000 is running now through November 5, 2012 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
John Rideout and Harold Van Doren, Skippy-Racer Scooter (circa 1933).
1. Lange. A. (23 July, 2012). “Serious Play | Century of the Child.” New York Times Magazine. http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/23/serious-play-century-of-the-child/
Jean Prouvé Mid-Century Furnishings
Recently Mid-centuria ran a post on a fabulous contemporary home that features furnishings created by influential French designer, Jean Prouvé. Originally trained as a blacksmith, Prouvé established his design studio in 1931 and his own furniture factory in 1936. An industry pioneer, he introduced steel, aluminum and arc welding to furniture design.1
Design Museum, (2007). Jean Prouvé French engineer and designer (1901-1984). http://designmuseum.org/design/jean-prouve
Jean Prouvé, Cité Lounge Chair, circa 1930.
The Vision of Richard Meier
Taking inspiration from the best of Twentieth Century modernist architecture, Richard Meier created his own unique vision while remaining loyal to his own design ethic, regardless of the current architectural trends. According to Meier, “Architecture should not mimic but rather provide a counterpoint to the surroundings while still maintaining a relationship”1.
“Richard Meier was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1934,” 2 and studied architecture at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In 1957 he graduated from Cornell with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. Early in his career Meier worked for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and then with architect and designer, Marcel Breuer. Meier opened his own practice in 1963 at the age of twenty-nine.1 The architect became a member of the “New York Five,” a group of influential young architects that included “ Meier, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk, and Peter Eisenman (Meier’s second cousin)”3.
Rchard Meier circa 2000, phtotgrapher unknown.
Meier’s signature architectural forms are clean, bold, dramatic and white. “Early works included opulent homes that blurred the lines of art and architecture with bold geometric design”4. The Smith House, built in the mid-1960s in Darien, Connecticut, and the Douglas House (1971-73), in Harbor Springs, Michigan, exemplify this design philosophy.
Richard Meier, Douglas House, Harbor Springs, Michigan, (1973). Photograph Copyright, AIA.
Arne Vodder (1926-2009)
Thank you to Mid-Centuria for bringing to our attention the work of Danish designer and architect Arne Vodder (1926-2009). Vodder studied with furniture designer Finn Juhl; the two were good friends and later became business partners. Vodder designed furniture for a number of Danish companies but is best known for the work he did for Sibast Furniture in the 1950-1960’s. The teak and rosewood sideboards he designed during this period are iconic pieces of mid-century modern furniture.1
Visit Mid-centuria to view more of Vodder’s work.
Arne Vodder, Credenza (circa late 1950s).
1. Deconet, (2011). Arne Vodder. http://www.deconet.com/decopedia/designer/1239/Arne_Vodder#
Lalique Automobile Mascots
René Lalique, Tete De Paon (1932). Photo Credit: Courtesy of RM Auctions.
It’s really quite astounding to think that the amazing work shown above by René Lalique was actually intended as ornamentation for an automobile! Lalique created a variety of glass automobile mascots of both animal and human subjects. These figures included birds, horses, and even a frog. His human forms were generally inspired by ancient mythology. Photographs of more fine examples of the mascots can be viewed in Retronaut.com.
Visit Finesse Fine Art for more information on Rene Lalique and his automobile mascots.