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Article

Ingeborg Wikborg

(Sigurd)

(b Inderøy, Nord-Trøndelag, April 21, 1933).

Norwegian sculptor, designer and medallist. He became familiar with handicraft in his father’s furniture workshop. In 1954 he began five years’ study as a commercial artist at the Håndverks- og Kunstindustriskole in Oslo and from 1957 to 1963 he worked as an illustrator for a newspaper. He studied at the Kunstakademi in Oslo from 1959 to 1962 under the sculptor Per Palle Storm (1910–94) who advocated naturalism in sculpture. As an assistant to Arnold Haukeland from 1961 to 1964, Aas lost his apprehension of the untried and cultivated his sense of daring, as he gained experience with welding techniques. Highly imaginative and versatile, Aas worked in both abstract and figurative modes and is reckoned one of the foremost sculptors in Norway; in 1990 he was honoured with St Olav.

Aas’s first sculpture was an equestrian monument in snow, made in Inderøy while he was a schoolboy. His first public project was the abstract steel figure ...

Article

Andrea Nulli

(b Robbiate, Como, Oct 17, 1905; d Milan, Nov 1, 1977).

Italian architect, urban planner and furniture designer. After graduating from the Polytechnic of Milan (1929), he set up individual practice in Milan. One of the group of Rationalist architects who formed around the magazine Casabella, his work in the 1930s ranged from workers’ housing in Milan (1936, 1938; with Renato Camus and Giancarlo Palanti) to an ideal flat and furniture, exhibited at the Triennale in Milan in 1936. Immediately after World War II a series of masterplanning projects included schemes for the City of Milan (1946; with BBPR, Piero Bottoni, Luigi Figini and Gino Pollini) and for Reggio Emilia (1947–8; with Giancarlo De Carlo). Albini’s post-war architecture has a Rationalist clarity combined with sensitivity to context, tradition and history. Expressed first in the Rifugio Pirovano (1949–51) at Cervinia, Aosta, it was the office building for the Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni (INA; 1950), Parma, with its simply stated concrete frame that set the pattern developed later in La Rinascente department store (...

Article

Gordon Campbell

[Alchymia; Studio Alchimia]

Radical Italian design group known as Studio Alchimia founded in Milan in 1976 by the architect Alessandro Guerriero (b 1943) and his sister Adriana; they were later joined by the designer Alessandro Mendini (b 1931), who became the principal spokesman of group. The Studio was a manifestation of the anti-design movement, which sought to subvert austere ...

Article

John Steen

(Hendrik)

(b Borger, Feb 11, 1900; d Drachten, Jan 30, 1984).

Dutch painter and printmaker. He trained between 1919 and 1923 as a cabinetmaker, taking evening classes in furniture drawing and design at the Academie Minerva in Groningen. He also took private drawing lessons with the Dutch sculptor Willem Valk (1898–1977). Around 1920 he started to make drawings and paintings in an abstracted, geometric style, similar to that of Bart van der Leck (e.g. En passant, 1921–2; priv. col., see 1984 exh. cat., p. 17). From 1924 he worked in the architectural firm of Van Lingen in Groningen, and he continued to design furniture until the 1930s. He joined De Ploeg and started to mix with Dutch artists such as Jan Wiegers, Jan Altink (1885–1971) and Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman. He produced geometric abstract works such as Composition with Yellow Circles (1924; Groningen, Groninger Mus.). From c. 1924 he began to associate with the Belgian Constructivists involved in the magazine ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b Tel Aviv, 1951).

Israeli designer, active in Britain. In 1981 Arad founded, with Caroline Thorman, One Off Ltd, a design studio, workshops and showroom in Covent Garden, London. In 1989, again with Caroline Thorman, he founded Ron Arad Associates, an architecture and design practice in Chalk Farm. In 1994 he established the Ron Arad Studio in Como (Italy). His most famous design is the Rover Chair, which recycled used Rover car seats. He has long had an interest in the use of steel, and the Bookwork bookshelves (...

Article

Suzanne Tise

Descriptive term applied to a style of decorative arts that was widely disseminated in Europe and the USA during the 1920s and 1930s. Derived from the style made popular by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, the term has been used only since the late 1960s, when there was a revival of interest in the decorative arts of the early 20th century. Since then the term ‘Art Deco’ has been applied to a wide variety of works produced during the inter-war years, and even to those of the German Bauhaus. But Art Deco was essentially of French origin, and the term should, therefore, be applied only to French works and those from countries directly influenced by France.

The development of the Art Deco style, or the Style moderne as it was called at the time, closely paralleled the initiation of the 1925...

Article

Richard Guy Wilson

Richard Guy Wilson

Stylistic term applied to architecture and decorative arts of the 1920s and 1930s whose origin partially lies with the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris (see Art Deco). The term was invented in 1966 and initially applied just to French 1920s design but shortly thereafter grew to encompass a wide variety of modernist architecture and design that displayed decorative traits that stood in contrast to the more austere Modern style sometimes known as Functionalism, Bauhaus style, or International Style. Synonyms for Art Deco have included Style moderne, Art Moderne, Modernistic, Cubistic, Manhattan style, skyscraper style, setback style, zigzag style, streamlined, stripped Classicism, Greco Deco, and others.

The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925 was a lavish spectacle of pavilions and exhibits that showcased the latest modern tendencies in French and foreign design. Originally scheduled for ...

Article

Michèle Lavallée

[Fr.: ‘new art’]

Decorative style of the late 19th century and the early 20th that flourished principally in Europe and the USA. Although it influenced painting and sculpture, its chief manifestations were in architecture and the decorative and graphic arts, the aspects on which this survey concentrates. It is characterized by sinuous, asymmetrical lines based on organic forms; in a broader sense it encompasses the geometrical and more abstract patterns and rhythms that were evolved as part of the general reaction to 19th-century historicism. There are wide variations in the style according to where it appeared and the materials that were employed.

Art Nouveau has been held to have had its beginnings in 1894 or 1895. A more appropriate date would be 1884, the year the progressive group Les XX was founded in Belgium, and the term was used in the periodical that supported it, Art Moderne: ‘we are believers in Art Nouveau’. The origin of the name is usually attributed to ...

Article

Alan Crawford

Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsman, and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself.

The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs, and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. Although quixotic in its anti-industrialism, it was not unique; indeed it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism, and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life....

Article

Monique D. J. M. Teunissen

Dutch company of art dealers and interior design and furniture workshop. The Arts and Crafts interior design and furniture workshop was set up in The Hague in 1893. The Art Nouveau character of the furniture produced by the workshop set it very much apart from its competitors. Designs were produced by the artist Johan Thorn Prikker and the architect Chris Wegerif (1859–1920). During the early years of the workshop the Belgian artist Henry van de Velde exercised a strong influence on its designs. After 1900 the designs became more austere, any Art Nouveau character being confined to woodwork and batik upholstery fabrics. In order to ensure the unity of each interior, an effort was made to have all the objects designed by the same artist. The workshop fostered a close relationship with The Hague school of painting.

F. Netscher: ‘Arts and Crafts’, De Hollandsche Revue (1902), p. 211...

Article

Marco Livingstone

(b Washington, DC, Dec 26, 1924; d in Albany, NY, Feb 9, 2013).

American sculptor and painter . He studied art in 1949–50 under Amédée Ozenfant in New York. During the 1950s he designed and made furniture in New York, but after a fire that destroyed most of the contents of his shop in 1958 he turned again to art, initially painting abstract pictures derived from memories of the New Mexican landscape.

Artschwager continued to produce furniture and, after a commission to make altars for ships in 1960, had the idea of producing sculptures that mimicked actual objects while simultaneously betraying their identity as artistic illusions. At first these included objets trouvés made of wood, overpainted with acrylic in an exaggerated wood-grain pattern (e.g. Table and Chair, 1962–3; New York, Paula Cooper priv. col., see 1988–9 exh. cat., p. 49), but he soon developed more abstract or geometrical versions of such objects formed from a veneer of formica on wood (e.g. Table and Chair...

Article

James D. Kornwolf

(b Ramsgate, Oct 23, 1865; d Brighton, Feb 10, 1945).

English architect, interior designer, garden designer and writer . He was articled to Charles Davis (1827–1902), City Architect of Bath, from 1886 until 1889 but learnt little and was largely self-taught. In 1889 he started his own practice on the Isle of Man, where he built a number of buildings, including his own Red House, Douglas (1893). He was a leading member of the second-generation Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and was among the first to build on the simpler, more abstract and stylized designs of C. F. A. Voysey, a refinement of the ideas of William Morris, Philip Webb, R. Norman Shaw and others from the period 1860–90. From about 1890 until World War I, the Arts and Crafts Movement, as represented by Baillie Scott, Voysey, C. R. Ashbee, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Parker & Unwin and others, became the most important international force in architecture, interior design, landscape and urban planning. The work of these architects influenced Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann in Austria, Joseph Maria Olbrich and Peter Behrens in Germany, Eliel Saarinen and others in Scandinavia, and Frank Lloyd Wright, Irving Gill, Greene & Greene in the USA....

Article

Gordon Campbell

English family of furniture designers and artist-craftsmen. Ernest (1863–1926) and his brother Sidney (1865–1926) worked with Ernest Gimson in the design and construction of furniture in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Sidney’s son Edward (1900–87) carried on the business at a shop established in Froxfield (Petersfield, Hants) in ...

Article

Gabriele Ramsauer

(b Pöls, March 17, 1907; d Salzburg, Oct 16, 1982).

Austrian potter and stuccoist. She studied at the Österreichische Bundeslehranstalt für das Baufach und Kunstgewerbe in Graz from 1922 until 1926, where she attended the sculpture classes of Wilhelm Gösser and the ceramic classes of Hans Adametz. In 1926 she became an assistant in the ceramic design section of the Wiener Werkstätte under Josef Hoffmann and from 1930 to 1936 she worked for several ceramic workshops in Vienna. During this time she worked with the architect Clemens Holzmeister and created the stucco ceiling in the Ataturk Palace (1931), in Ankara, Turkey. From 1936 to 1944 Baudisch stayed in Berlin where she made the stucco decoration for the Italian Embassy and also large figural sculptures. In 1940 she married her second husband, businessman Karl Heinz Wittke, who later managed the business side of the Keramik Hallstatt, which Baudisch founded in 1946. While creating her own work in this studio, from ...

Article

Bauhaus  

Rainer K. Wick

[Bauhaus Berlin; Bauhaus Dessau, Hochschule für Gestaltung; Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar]

German school of art, design and architecture, founded by Walter Gropius. It was active in Weimar from 1919 to 1925, in Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, when it was closed down by the Nazi authorities. The Bauhaus’s name referred to the medieval Bauhütten or masons’ lodges. The school re-established workshop training, as opposed to impractical academic studio education. Its contribution to the development of Functionalism in architecture was widely influential. It exemplified the contemporary desire to form unified academies incorporating art colleges, colleges of arts and crafts and schools of architecture, thus promoting a closer cooperation between the practice of ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ art and architecture. The origins of the school lay in attempts in the 19th and early 20th centuries to re-establish the bond between artistic creativity and manufacturing that had been broken by the Industrial Revolution. According to Walter Gropius in ...

Article

Peyton Skipwith

(b London, April 14, 1863; d London, Nov 27, 1933).

English decorative artist and painter. He was articled to an architect and studied at Westminster School of Art under Frederick Brown and at the Royal Academy Schools. Later he worked in the studio of Aimé Morot in Paris and travelled to Italy. Bell belonged to the group of artist–craftsmen who brought about the last flowering of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. He painted in oil and watercolour and was among the pioneers of the revival of the use of tempera. He was an illustrator and also worked in stained glass and mosaic. He is best known for a series of bas-reliefs in coloured plaster, a group of which was used in the interior decoration at Le Bois de Moutiers, a house in Varengeville, Normandy, designed by Edwin Lutyens in 1898. Bell’s understanding of early Italian art underpinned his work in mosaic, a medium he used to great effect in three public commissions in London: the ...

Article

(b London, Oct 17, 1854; d Manorbier, Dyfed, July 5, 1924).

English designer. He was educated at Winchester and Oxford, and in 1877 he was articled to the architect Basil Champneys. Encouraged by William Morris, in 1880 Benson set up his own workshop in Hammersmith specializing in metalwork. Two years later he established a foundry at Chiswick, a showroom in Kensington and a new factory at Hammersmith (all in London), equipped with machinery to mass-produce a wide range of forms, such as kettles, vases, tables, dishes and firescreens. Benson’s elegant and spare designs were admired for their modernity and minimal use of ornament. He is best known for his lamps and lighting fixtures, mostly in copper and bronze, which are fitted with flat reflective surfaces (e.g. c. 1890; London, V&A). These items were displayed in S. Bing’s Maison de l’Art Nouveau, Paris, and were used in the Morris & Co. interiors at Wightwick Manor, W. Midlands (NT), and Standen, East Grinstead, W. Sussex. Many of Benson’s designs were patented, including those for jacketed vessels, which keep hot or cold liquids at a constant temperature, and for a ‘Colander’ teapot with a button mechanism for raising the tea leaves after the tea has infused. Benson sold his designs, labelled ‘Art Metal’, through his showroom on Bond Street, which opened in ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Wood curved by machinery, used for making furniture. In the 18th century wood was softened by heating in water or steam and then shaped and clamped onto a mould. In America the principal innovator in bentwood furniture was Samuel Gragg (1772–1855), a Boston furniture-maker who in 1808 patented a bentwood ‘elastic’ chair. At about the same time German furniture-makers working in the Biedermeier idiom began to use plywood for shaped chairbacks. The greatest exponent of bentwork in Germany was Michael Thonet. In Poland, the Bentwood Furniture Company in Jasienica was founded in 1881 by Joseph Hofman, a cabinetmaker from Vienna; the company is still making bentwood furniture. In America bentwood furniture was developed by John Henry Belter. In the 20th century bentwood was an important element in the furniture of designers such as Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, Charles Eames and Saarinen family §(2).

D. E. Ostergard, ed.: Bent Wood and Metal Furniture 1850–1946...

Article

(Gustav)

(b Norrköping, May 10, 1879; d Stockholm, April 22, 1935).

Swedish architect and designer. After studies at the Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan and the Kungliga Akademien för de fria Konsterna in Stockholm (1897–1903), he travelled in Europe and became acquainted with modernist architecture in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. He participated in the architectural debate both as a teacher and as the editor of the Arkitektur (1912–16), and he joined the opposition to academic training when with Ragnar Östberg, Ivar Tengbom and others he started the Klara School, a free studio, for a group of young architects, which included Gunnar Asplund, Sigura Lewerentz and Osvald Almqvist. Bergsten’s early works show the influence of Joseph Maria Olbrich, for example Olai Primary School (1908), the Lithografen Printing Co. (1911) and the Scandinavian Bank building (1906–8), all in Norrköping. These buildings combine structural as well as decorative use of concrete with dark brickwork, in expressive and heavily massed volumes. Bergsten contrasted symmetry with asymmetry, and his preference for displaced or angled motifs sometimes created eccentric effects. In Hjorhagen Church (...

Article

Alan Powers

(Percy)

(b London, April 8, 1881; d London, April 15, 1939).

English designer. His early life was divided between the stage and the sea. He was a theatre designer in London and New York, and his stage career continued after World War I service and his survival of the sinking of the Lusitania. In 1924 he was Consultant Artistic and Technical Director of the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, London, designing murals and restaurant interiors, as well as presentations in the Government Theatre (‘Attack on Zeebrugge’) and the Admiralty Theatre (‘Air attack on London’). He is chiefly remembered for his design work for J. Lyons & Co., the London hotel and catering firm. Bernard’s displays of marble, glass and chromium plate were dazzling but inexpensive. For the Tottenham Court Road Corner House (1926), London, he made an inlaid marble decoration of Niagara Falls, now covered over. The entrance to the Strand Palace Hotel (1930–31; dismantled, parts in London, V&A) was one of London’s few Art Deco extravaganzas. Bernard also had a lively interest in the Modern Movement, assisting in ...