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Michael Spens

revised by Carla Tilghman

(b Toronto, Feb 28, 1929).

American architect, exhibition designer, furniture and jewlery designer, and teacher. He qualified at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1954 and attended the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, in 1956–7. After working in various architectural practices, from 1962 he practised independently in Venice, Los Angeles establishing the firm of Frank O. Gehry and Associates, Inc of which he remains the Design Principal. His early work focused on the potential of small-scale works to provide a succinct metaphorical statement, as with various exhibition designs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and his designs for the Joseph Magnin Stores at Costa Mesa and San Jose (both 1968), CA. In his early works he was interested more in the manipulation of architectural form than in technical innovation, and he was concerned with the conceptual and spatial content of buildings rather than the tighter demands of the architectural brief. Seeking an ‘open-ended’ approach to architecture, he was influenced by the work of fine artists such as Constantin Brancusi and Robert Rauschenberg. But his works of the late 1970s proved that his approach could provide habitable if haphazard buildings, as in the Wagner House (...


Anne Blecksmith

American furniture manufacturer and retailer. Knoll International was established in 1938 in New York City by Hans Knoll (1914–55). Knoll was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and his father, Walter Knoll, was a recognized furniture manufacturer who produced modern designs by architects such as Franz Schuster (1892–1968) and early Bauhaus architects. Unable to work with his father, Hans Knoll went to England in 1936 to partner with modern furniture retailer Plan Ltd. established years earlier by architect and designer Serge Chermayeff.

In 1938, Plan was liquidated and Hans Knoll departed for New York where he opened the Hans G. Knoll Furniture Company. In 1941, he purchased a manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania and the first Knoll chair was produced. Designed by Danish émigré Jens Risom (b 1916), the chair was part of a 15-piece series known as the “600” line and consisted of a form-fitting wooden frame and robust webbing. Early Knoll catalogues included designs by Ralph Rapson (...


Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...