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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

(b Kiskorpád, June 3, 1884; d Budapest, Nov 26, 1948).

Hungarian architect, interior and furniture designer, and graphic artist. He studied at the Budapest Imperial Joseph College (diploma 1906) and joined the Fiatalok (‘Young ones’) group, which travelled around Transylvania and Hungary studying vernacular architecture. Dominating his early designs (e.g. the fantasy house ‘Lapis Refugii’, 1908) is a luxuriant Secessionist style relying on Hungarian folk-art motifs. After a study trip to Paris (1909–10) he worked at Béla Lajta’s architectural studio in Budapest (1910–13), designing the interior of the Rózsavőlgyi music store in Szervita Square (1911–12; destr. 1961). The interior space was separated by transparent, vertical screens, while the carved-wood ornamentation was in a stylized version of Biedermeier. In 1913 Kozma organized the Budapest Workshop on the same lines as the Wiener Werkstätte, to produce furniture, domestic textiles and utility goods, and designs for entire apartment and office spaces (see Hungary, Republic of §V 4....

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 ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

Italian designers, active in the USA. Massimo Vignelli (b Milan, 10 Jan 1931; d New York, 27 May 2014) attended the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan (1948–50); the Politecnico, Milan (1950–53); and the School of Architecture, University of Venice (1953–7). He chiefly worked on product and graphic design and corporate identity programmes. In the mid-1950s, while still a student, he designed a series of lighting fixtures for the Venini S.p.A. of Murano, most notably the ‘Fungo’ table lamp (1955; e.g. New York, Cooper-Hewitt Mus.), an original concept in striped glass in which the swelling lampshade and conical base form an integrated unit.

Between 1957 and 1960 he travelled and studied in the USA. In 1957 he married Lella [Elena] Vignelli [née Valle] (b Udine, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 1936). She studied at the School of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (...