Cynthia Trope

No Breeze Will Ruffle These Feathers

On first glance, this necklace by the Norwegian jeweler and metalwork artist Tone Vigeland, appears to be a luxurious collar made of delicate, lustrous blue-black feathers. It is actually an intricate tour de force in metals, composed of hundreds of steel nails that Vigeland flattened and forged by hand, then meticulously attached one by one to a silver chainmail backing, and embellished with a ring of gold pod-like beads and a simple rose-colored mother-of-pearl clasp.
Tone Vigeland, Norway, jewelry, nails, gold, mother-of-pearl

Knotted Chair

As a member of the Dutch cooperative Droog (Dry) Design, contemporary Dutch designer, Marcel Wanders, shared the group's predilection for simplicity and wit, often creating visually spare and modest designs.  His early works are distinguished by their use of ordinary materials or things---string, sponges, eggs, lamp shades---employed in new and often surprisingly delightful ways.  Because of this, many of Wanders' designs evoke a sense of familiarity,
chair, Marcel Wanders, Droog Design, Cappellini, macramé

The B5 Chair

The tubular steel chair is one of the most emblematic types of Modernist furniture. While a number of European and American designers created versions from the late 1920s onwards, the original tubular steel chair was created by architect and designer Marcel Breuer in 1926. The 26-year-old Breuer was one of the first six apprentices in the Bauhaus furniture workshop in 1921, and by 1924 he was its head.
chair, tubular steel, Marcel Breuer, Bauhaus, Standard-Möbel, Thonet, modernism

On the GRiD

When a particularly well-designed and innovative technology has been refined, reduced to an affordable price, and becomes widely adopted, it is easy to lose sight of the initial model and how much of an imaginative leap its revolutionary design represented. Decades ago, computers underwent a major breakthrough when the computing power that formerly required an entire building to house it, became reduced in size to a "desktop". Perhaps an even more revolutionary change in computer design occurred that we may be at risk of forgetting.
computer, protototype, GRiD Compass, Bill Moggridge, GRiD Systems Corporation, Interaction Design

Weekends With My Valentine

For those who like to write for the joy of it—whether using pen and paper or the tablets, laptops, and smart phones that many are so accustomed to today—it is fun to remember a stylish portable manual typewriter that predates our mobile electronic devices.
typewriter, Ettore Sottsass, Jr., Perry A. King, Olivetti, Pop Art

Functional Sculpture

Utilitarian object? Small-scale abstract sculpture? Both. When I first had the opportunity to investigate this lamp close up, I was struck by the way it’s form, composed of the simplest geometric shapes—circle, sphere, cylinder, cube, seemed to articulate a perfect balance between the functional and the artistic.
Piano lamp, Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud, W. H. Gispen, De Stijl, Bauhaus

Before There Were Ring Tones There Were Rings

If you grew up in America in the mid-1950s-70s, you no doubt encountered the Model 500 telephone or one of its variants in almost every home or workplace you entered. The model 500 became the standard desk-style phone in the U.S., with over 93 million units produced for homes and offices between 1949 and the divestiture of AT&T (the Bell System) in 1984.
Telephone, Model 500, Henry Dreyfuss, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Western Electric Manufacturing Company, Industrial Design

Cushy Cardboard

Frank O. Gehry, chaise longue, New City Editions, cardboard, Architect-designed furniture

New Material, New Form

This innovative stacking chair is arguably Danish designer Verner Panton’s best known work. While not the first cantilevered chair—Dutch designer Gerrit Rietveld’s 1934 wooden Zig-Zag chair is an earlier example—the Panton chair was the first cantilevered chair made from a single piece of injection-molded plastic. Its fluid organic shape is made to fit the human form.
Verner Panton, Herman Miller, chair, plastic, Denmark, furniture, Pop Culture

A Work By Wendell Castle

This chest, by twentieth-century American designer/craftsman Wendell Castle is an outstanding example of the American studio furniture movement.
chest, stereo cabinet, Wendell Castle, studio craft, furniture, wood, laminated wood, Wharton Esherick, American