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Design Knowledge Intermediary
Modern Americana

By Todd Merrill and Julie Iovine
Published by: Rizzoli International Publications, 2008

Price: £40
Pages: 272 pages

Running parallel to the story of mass-produced midcentury American furniture is a quirkier narrative of designers like Vladimir Kagan, Paul Evans, Wendell Castle and Billy Haines, who pursued their own idiosyncratic visions in sometimes wacky, sometimes beautiful forms. Todd Merrill, a New York furniture dealer, and Julie V. Iovine, the executive editor of The Architect’s Newspaper and an occasional contributor to the Home section of The New York Times, assembled profiles of 24 of these characters in “Modern Americana: Studio Furniture From High Craft to High Glam” (Rizzoli, $75).

And they were characters, as Ms. Iovine discovered to her delight.

Take Jack Rogers Hopkins, whose 1972 Womb Room was made from 13 feet of Honduras mahogany — a kind of ’70s Sensurround Barcalounger, with a leather seat and foot rest, radio, speakers and bookshelf. It was destroyed by its maker, possibly because it never found a buyer, but also, as Mr. Merrill and Ms. Iovine write, because “the experiment in creative discovery” was complete.

“It was their entrepreneurial artistry that fascinated me,” Ms. Iovine said of her subjects. The book is an introduction to their unsung and, in many cases, unfamiliar worlds, she said. “Hopefully each one of these characters will get their own treatment now.”

Buy:
- astore.amazon.com


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