Industrial designer Donald Deskey, along with his contemporaries, Norman Bel Geddes and Gilbert Rohde, adapted austere European Modernism to be palatable for the American taste. Deskey introduced novel ideas with the use of new materials such as Bakelite, aluminum, Permatex, and rayon. He was sensitive to budget constraints of the 1930s consumer, an offered a practical, affordable, and fresh design solutions. Glendale embodies Deskey’s ability to blend traditional American aesthetics with a Modernist ideals.
Glendale is a large-scale diagonal plaid in two shades of brown, yellow, and two shades of green, the second green deriving from over-layering of inks. Plaids designs are traditionally woven, and therefore constrained by the grid of the warp and weft. Glendale offers a modern version of the traditional pattern with its large scale, diagonal orientation, and fresh palette.
Deskey designed many fabrics specifically for his furniture or interior design schemes. He developed an innovative marketing strategy of selling yardage goods which coordinated with the upholstery fabrics on the furniture for the client Ypsilanti Reed Furniture. The yardage fabric marketed for interior accents: curtains, pillows, tablecloths. In collaboration with Lehman-Connor, he developed a pyroxylin-coated fabric called Permatex. The fabric had an opalescent quality with many choices of color and printed in three weights for draperies and upholstery. The quality was suitable for hospitality and residential interiors. In his role as interior architect, Deskey also commissioned work from other major textile designers of the day, including Ruth Reeves and Marguerita Mergentime.