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revised by Margaret Barlow

(b Blue Earth, MN, Nov 23, 1894; d Vero Beach, FL, April 20, 1989).

American interior and industrial designer. Deskey gained a degree in architecture and studied painting before working in advertising. From 1922 to 1924 he was head of the art department at Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA. In 1921 and 1925 he made trips to Paris, where he attended the Ecole de la Grande Chaumière and the Académie Colarossi, before returning to New York in 1926 as a champion of modern art and design. In 1926–7 he created the city’s first modern window displays for the Franklin Simon and Saks Fifth Avenue department stores. In 1927 he was joined by the designer Philip Vollmer, and the partnership became Deskey–Vollmer, Inc. (to c. 1929). Deskey expanded into designing interiors, furniture, lamps, and textiles, becoming a pioneer of the Style moderne (as Art Deco was known in America). His earliest model for the interior of an apartment was shown at the American Designers’ Gallery, New York, in ...

Article

Paul Louis Bentel

(b Vienna, 1872; d New York, July 10, 1933).

American architect, stage designer, interior designer and illustrator of Austrian birth. He studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna under Karl Hasenauer. Urban first received recognition as an architect in the USA in 1904 when his design for the interior of the Austrian Pavilion at the World’s Fair in St Louis, MO, was awarded a Gold Medal. He subsequently established himself in Europe as a stage designer; in 1911 he emigrated to the USA to assume a position as set designer with the Boston Opera Company.

After the completion of the Ziegfield Theater (1922), New York, Urban solidified his reputation as an architect with unexecuted proposals for several large theatres. For the Metropolitan Opera House, intended as the focal point of the first schemes for the Rockefeller Center (1926–8), he proposed a semi-circular seating arrangement, to which he added galleries that projected from the proscenium into the seating area to break down the separation between audience and stage. In ...