Author: Bill Shaffer

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Into the Fold
Folding bicycles have existed in one form or another for over a hundred years – the first U.S. patent for a folding bike was issued in 1888. There has been a heightened interest in folding bicycles in the last thirty years, particularly as a means of addressing urban transportation issues. Folding bikes are easily stored...
Don’t Touch That Dial
The Patriot radio was designed by noted industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes and manufactured by the Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corporation in 1939. The radio is made from Opalon, a thermoplastic similar to Bakelite, which came into widespread use in the 1930s. The late 1930s saw the United States begin to emerge from the Great...
The Modern Chair. Redefined.
The Embryo Chair was designed in 1988 by Australian designer Marc Newson, and has come to be seen as a signature object of his organic style. The chair is not only stylish and provocative in appearance, its one-piece form and simple legs belie a sophisticated construction that is the result of Newson’s technical accomplishment early...
Let’s Rock
Japanese-American sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi designed this simple, stylish stool for Knoll in 1954. Noguchi went to Paris in the 1920s, and worked in the studio of Constantin Brancusi from 1927–29. He also met Alexander Calder and Alberto Giacometti during this time – all three of these sculptors and their work would remain as...
A Touch of Glass
This slender bud vase by Louis Comfort Tiffany is an exquisite example of the favrile glass technique that the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company developed in the last decade of the nineteenth century. While Louis C. Tiffany experimented with glassmaking leading up to this time, he used outside suppliers to provide him with the production...
Addition By Subtraction
2003 National Design Award winner Lella Vignelli passed away December 21, 2016. In honor of her memory, we are sharing an Object of the Day blog post from earlier this year dedicated to her design philosophy. Lella Vignelli has spent a lifetime as a designer examining the ongoing expressions of pure, modern form. Working in...
A Pressing Matter
The O&N Mikro travel iron was made in Denmark, ca. 1950, and is a small but powerful example of the streamline design style that began in the 1930s and lasted well into the 1950s. Streamline embraced the development of new engineering capabilities, as well as new industrial materials and manufacturing techniques to create a sense...