Author: Rebecca Gross

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Office interior with figures standing along walls; and figures sitting at desk at left; map on wall and screen; waiting area at center of floor.
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to America
In his famous book, On The Road (1957), Jack Kerouac relays a cross-country adventure he undertook in 1949:  “…. eyes bent on Frisco and the coast, we came into El Paso as it got dark, broke. We absolutely had to get some money for gas or we’d never make it. We tried everything. We buzzed the...
Poster, Russian Youth Perspective
Pioneering the utopian future
The song lyric, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way” (famously popularized by Whitney Houston in 1985) holds surprising resonance with this 1976 poster for The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union. The revolutionary Young Pioneer Organization, also known as the Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization,...
A bedroom interior in black and white cow and speckled pattern motif of different sized splotches with a view of the dining room; furniture includes: armoire, bed, chairs.
How To: Mix Prints
Open an interior decoration magazine, peruse a sartorial blog, or catch-up with the latest fashion on television, and you’ll know mixing prints has been the trend for the last few seasons.  Endorsed as a risky and intimidating choice, it is often accompanied by a number of rules and guidelines. English-born industrial designer George J. Sowden...
Two registers. Upper register: a striped horizontal panel in black sits atop an orange rectangle, jutting diagonally, on a yellow square, also jutting diagonally, on the right of which is a half arc in yellow, and next to that is an aqua blue triangle; lower register: nearly identical form, but in place of the yellow square is a gray triangle, a yellow rectangle and a pink arc with a base.
The spirit of the age
In 2011, Italian designer Michele de Lucchi (b. 1951) reflected in an interview, “design is truly a kind of witness to history. Design documents the spirit of the age.” [1]  His 1981 drawing of Two Designs for Tables (and Three Designs for Tables) is an example of how design records its historical and cultural context, and...
Drawing of a wooden rectangular coffee table with two shelves. The top shelf is a glass tip within a wooden frame and is a smaller dimension than the one below
The coffee table as experiment
Search ‘Alfons Bach’ online and you will find a slew of images featuring modern, tubular steel furniture designed in the 1930s. This is what industrial designer Alfons Bach is most well known for. However, in America in the 1930s and 1940s, the coffee table was an object that progressive designers and manufacturers often used to...
At center, a design for a gray upholstered sofa with upholstered, wooden arms curving to front legs; at back base corner, a rubber wheel. To lower right of this main, central image: small outline sketch showing back view of sofa with three wheels along the base. Two colored illustrations, taken from Sears Roebuck catalog, depict gray sofa ( glued to sheet at upper right) and trolley laden with cardboard boxes (glued to sheet at lower right), show the designer's inspiration for this rolling sofa design.
There’s intrigue in the ordinary
Sometimes it’s the seemingly insignificant that holds the most meaning. This is not only true of this drawing by industrial designer Constantin Boym; it is also true of Boym’s design philosophy as he takes notice of that which commonly goes unnoticed. Front and center in this drawing is a design for a gray upholstered sofa...
Design for softly contoured stainless steel fork, knife, and spoon with a brushed satin finish on lime green patch of gouache on lighter green paper. Flatware teardrop-shaped handles are elongated, tapered, and depressed.
Tools for Easier Living
For craftsman and industrial designer Russel Wright (1904-1976), flatware was not just a tool for the tabletop. It was a tool for easier living. From the late 1920s through to the 1960s, Wright introduced Americans to modern, practical, and easy-to-care-for homewares and furnishings suited to a more informal and sociable way of life. “Highlight/Pinch” flatware,...
On white background to the left is a young woman wearing a sailor uniform. She smiles, grabbing her shirt while a gust of wind blows from behind. To the right the text reads: " Gee!! I Wish I Were A Man/ I'd Join the Navy". At bottom center: " Be a Man And Do It/ United Stated Navy Recruiting Station".
Petticoats in the Navy
When 20-year old Bernice Smith Tongate walked into a California Navy recruiting office in 1917, and proclaimed “Gee, I wish I were a man, I’d join the Navy!,” I’m sure she was blissfully unaware of the impact she was about to have on the American Navy and women’s equality. Illustrator and artist Howard Chandler Christy...
High-ceilinged interior, notable for large numberless clock on rear wall next to long curtained area. Draped double bed is set into built-in headboard with side table and low long end table running beneath clock. Draped window above headboard extends to height of room. Desk with lamp and two tub chairs fill remainder of space at foot of bed.
An Ultra Modern Luxury Studio
For many of us residing in New York City, we quickly become accustomed to living in small apartments. Yet, through design, decoration, and furnishings we do our best to make our sometimes-cramped quarters as practical, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing as possible. In the 1930s, American-born designer Donald Deskey, inspired and influenced by European design of...