Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Considered one of the founders of American Modernism George Nelson (1904-1986) was an industrial designer, architect, author, editor and teacher. Although he studied architecture at Yale, for nearly two decades (1930’s & 40’s) Nelson dazzled many not by his drafting abilities but rather his eloquent writing style covering modern architecture and design; he was published in multiple publications perhaps most memorably “Architectural Forum” and “Pencil Points”. Living in Rome for a year as the prize for winning the Rome Prize for Architecture competition he traveled interviewing such masters as Mies van der Rohe. Through his writing in “Pencil Points” Nelson later introduced the work of Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Gio Ponti to North America. In addition to which he helped legitimize and stimulate the field of industrial design by the creation of the publication Industrial Design in the early 1950’s.

Nelson later would be recruited by the Herman Miller Company as Director of Design for reasons of his insight in how to best make useful furniture. Apparently this was the result of HM’s chairman having read a particular literary piece by Nelson entitled “Tomorrow’s House”. Nelson is responsible for such furniture designs as the Coconut chair, Marshmallow sofa, Swag Leg collection, and Slat bench just to name a few during this tenure at HM. In addition one can find an extensive array of vintage Nelson furnishings on In collaboration with the Howard Miller Clock company Nelson’s firm George Nelson Associates also designed a wonderful series of clocks which today are reproduced in part by Vitra

When writing about the course of his remarkable 50-year career, George Nelson described a series of creative "zaps"--moments of out-of-the-blue inspiration "when the solitary individual finds he is connected with a reality he never dreamed of". *

* Excerpt from

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Marshmallow sofa for Herman Miller (top)
Coconut chair for Herman Miller, vintage (2nd),
Slat bench for Herman Miller (3rd)
Sunburst wall clock for Vitra (4th)

Swag leg chair, desk, work table for Herman Miller (bottom)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Artifort, the Netherlands based brand of modern furnishings stands for exactly what it sounds like …. art and comfort. After 120 years, Artifort is still making history with designs by Kho Liang, Pierre Paulin, Patrick Norguet, Geoffrey Harcourt and René Holten some of which can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art and Centre Pompidou. The brand best known for their wonderful Fauteuils (open arm chairs) is supplemented by a line of tables, chairs/barstools, case items and sofa seating forms. Said best “In the Artifort Collection, everyone that attaches importance to form and function will find a design that captures their heart”. *

* Excerpt from

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Ribbon by Pierre Paulin (top)
Boson by Patrick Norguet (2nd)
Low Lotus by René Holten (3rd)
683 Settee by Kho Liang (4th)
Apollo by Patrick Norguet (bottom)

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Kitchen sophistication has a come a long way since granite counter tops and decorative cabinetry. What I particularly like about the companies dedicated to the industry craft today are their no frills aesthetic … characteristic of professional kitchens, their clean lines, and their design quality. These culinary havens gracefully compliment their surroundings lending more towards integration and open floor plans. Whether an accomplished chef, a refined foodie, or just a modern design enthusiast these cooking environments certainly raise the bar both functionally and architecturally.

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B3 System by Bulthaup (top)
Italia by Antonio Citterio for Arclinea (2nd)
LT by Piero Lissoni for Boffi (3rd)
Kuoco by Driade (4th)
Artematica Multiline by Valcucine (bottom)

Friday, September 25, 2009


I have at times used the expression clarity of form. Surely the idiom applies to many of the 20th & 21st century architectural forms that placed emphasis on simplicity, geometric form and open-plan interiors. In perusing current design publications the focus typically is on interiors rather than architectural envelope given that features invariably are condominiums or coops in urban areas. This post pays tribute to the many wonderful modern exterior forms that aptly provide sanctuary for their modern interior components.
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Duplex Delray Beach FL by Jeffrey Slberstein 21st century (top)
Hagerty House, Cohasset MA by Walter Gropius & Marcel Breuer c1938 (2nd)
Case Study No 21 Los Angeles CA by Pierre Koenig c1958 (3rd)
1532 House San Francisco CA by Fougeron Architecture 21st century (4th)
Sagaponack House Sagaponack NY by Shigeru Ban + Dean Maltz 21st century / (bottom)


When I think of vintage modern furnishings invariably the classic icons come to mind; Le Corbusier, Mies van de Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, Jean Prouvè, Arne Jacobsen, George Nelson or Florence Knoll. But when I think of exceptional Italian vintage modern art forms the name Gio Ponti (1891-1979) registers.

Ponti’s architectural career spanned roughly five decades from the 1920’s – 1970’s. Certainly a pinnacle of his career was the commission to design the 32-story Pirelli Tower in Milan in the early 1950’s. It was the first skyscraper in Milan. Thereafter international commissions flourished for Ponti with work in “Caracas
, Venezuela, Baghdad, Hong Kong, Eindhoven, the 1971 Denver Art Museum, and finally a series of Milanese churches: San Francesco in 1963, the church at Ospedale San Carlo in 1967, and the Taranto Cathedral in 1971”.

In addition to architecture Ponti pursued industrial design which included a line of furnishings, lighting and ceramics. He designed for Cassina, Artemide and Fontana Arte. Given the broad scope of his work, this post will confine itself photo-wise to only a few of his furniture designs.

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Executive walnut desk, vintage
Lounge chairs Hotel Parco dei Principi, vintage
Montecatini office chair, vintage
Coffee table, vintage
Distex lounge chair, vintage

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Share the Wonder of Modern Design, the title of my initial post and true intention behind Modern Design Fanatic will from time to time profile works of present day architects/designers. The aesthetic genius that these design magicians possess is creatively applied transforming a blank canvas to a work of art! Granted much vision, expertise and talent are requisites for such end results, yet when you view these spaces the common denominator is their simplicity, ease and clarity of form. Enjoy ……

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Shelton Mindel & Associates (top): Jean Prouvè Compass table vintage, Fritz Henningsen chair vintage, Poul Kjaerholm PK71 nesting table, photograph Fervor by Shirin Neshat
Tristan Auer (2nd from top): Charlotte Perriand school desks-table vintage, Bulthaup B3 kitchen system
Arthur Casas (3rd from top): lounge chair by Martin Eisler & Carlo Hauner vintage
Robert Kaner (4th from top): William Plunkett WP03 yellow print sofa, Marc Newson wicker chair vintage, Series 7 chairs by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen, Saucer Pendant by George Nelson for Modernica
Michael Richman (bottom): pair of Andre Sornay armchairs vintage, Fabricius Kastholm leather sofa vintage, Warren McArthur orange lounge chair vintage, white Over Easy chair & Lumen glass coffee table custom by Michael Richman, large scale art pieces from left by Matthew Ritchie, Adam Fuss (foreground) and Thomas Struth

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


For some reason when it comes to lighting my affinity is for that of the floor variety. I have already featured some other lighting forms, floor and otherwise which can be found in the archive’s following posts: “Lighten Up”, “Share the Wonder of Modern Design”, and “Brief History of Modern Design/Reputed Designers”. These standing art forms alongside a worthy seating or lounge counterpart provide ambient as well as task lighting. Needless to say there are many other brilliant selections but given the limited photo allowance for this particular platform, each post is limited to 5 photos. Other wonderful designs surely include those by Poul Henningsen, Jules Leleu, Vico Magistretti, Verner Panton, Jasper Morrison, Gino Sarfatti, O’Luce, Pallucco, and Serge Mouille to name a few which I will make a point to feature in later posts.

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303 Tripod by David Weeks Studio
Arredoluce Articulated, vintage
A810 by Alvar Aalto for Artek
Beep by Terence Conran for Frandsen
Privat des Kunstlers by Franz West, vintage

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Taking a snooze, watching the tube or reading invariably one finds oneself on the sofa. Typically it is also the largest furnishing in the living room, family room, media room or study. Sectional, chaise, sleeper or conventional two or three seater the selected forms are infinite. In many cases however you will find the same designers designing for multiple companies. For example Antonio Citterio is a prime designer for B&B Italia/Maxalto also designs for Flexform as well. Piero Lissoni designs for Fritz Hansen , Living Divani , Cappellini , and Cassina ; Jasper Morrison designs for both Cappellini and for Vitra . Other wonderful companies include Christian Liaigre through Holly Hunt , Poltrona Frau if you prefer leather goods, Zanotta , Moroso , edra , Knoll (also great vintage selections on btw) , ClassiCon (reference “A Name You Should Know” in archive), and Lange Production . There are obviously other companies; once again Bonluxat or other database sources can provide further selections.

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Charles by Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia (top)
Kennedee by Jean Marie Massaud for Poltrona Frau (2nd from top)
Transform By For Use for Moroso (3rd from top)
Augustin by Christian Liaigre thru Holly Hunt (4th from top)
Damier by Francesco Binfarè for edra (bottom)


There are literally 100+ counter/bar stools to choose from when considering more elevated kitchen seating. Go to sources such as can be a starting point for screening options. Open kitchens or conventional, these seating forms can make a statement, add a dash of color and add symmetry. Given the sophistication of kitchen design that has developed over the last decade thanks to companies like Bulthaup, Boffi and Valcucine, “counter” balancing with seating has equally evolved as well.

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Birillo by Joe Colombo for Zanotta (top)
Screw by Ron Arad for Driade
Bertoia by Harry Bertoia for Knoll (black)
Wegner by Hans Wegner thru Bulthaup
Hi-Pad by Jasper Morrison for Cappellini (bottom)

Monday, September 21, 2009


An American company that is responsible for many of my favorite classic designs is none other than Hans & Florence’s beloved company, Knoll ( Some of their commissioned designers were/are legendary; Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, Marcel Breuer, Harry Bertoia, Frank Gehry, Tobia Scarpa just to name a few. Many of the classics are still in production today if you opt for new edition rather than vintage. Familiar classics include: Eero Saarinen’s Womb chair & Tulip table & chair collection, Harry Bertoia’s wire chair collection, along with sofas, tables & chairs by Florence Knoll.

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Scissor chairs by Pierre Jeanerette, vintage (top)
Andre cocktail table by Tobia Scarpa, vintage
Arm chair, vintage (green)
Tulip chair by Eero Saarinen (black)
Power Play chair by Frank Gehry