The Solitude of Swing
“’Solitude’ I wrote in 20 minutes in Chicago standing up against the glass office enclosure waiting for another band to finish recording.” Duke Ellington’s comment is hard for the musician in me to swallow, because the musical score, with its complex chording and swinging rhythms, sure doesn’t sound like its composition took place in the...
Industry: Worth the Visit, and Revisit
I find the design format of the Industry wallpaper particularly appealing. The pattern’s symmetry creates a nice sense of balance, while the monochrome gray colorway with equally spaced elements makes for a nice visual flow. Following all reason these factors should create a calm, neutral background. But when you start identifying individual elements such as...
Photograph of ceiling fixture, Rockefeller Center, 1932.
Cosmic Caldwell
Jennifer Cohlman Bracchi discusses this Caldwell lighting fixture, created for Rockefeller Center in 1932.
Hello, Dollies!
The most iconic costume from the musical Hello, Dolly! pairs an elaborate, feathered headdress with a beaded, crimson gown, glamorizing the brash comedic timing of the show’s star. But the plot of the musical originates in a location that requires much humbler attire: a feed merchant’s outpost in Yonkers, New York. As such, the young...
3-D Pleats
In 2014 Designtex introduced the Origami Collection by Tobia Batria, who designed two fabrics–Chiyogami and Kabuto–both inspired by traditional Japanese paper-folding. Recently added to the Textile collection is Chiyogami, also a term that describes the graphic patterns on origami paper that were originally printed with woodblocks. The chevron form in Chiyogami becomes three dimensional through...
Sitting on a Sustainable Cloud
The softseating stool is a collapsible form made of white, paper-thin honeycombed polyethylene sheets joined between two white cardboard panels that connect with magnets to form a cylindrical shape. When fanned outward and secured, the polyethylene sheets are sturdy enough to support weight, yet remain comfortable to the user. The stool is portable, lightweight, and...
Paris, Indoors and Outdoors: Thérèse Bonney
Elizabeth Broman discusses the work of influential Jazz-Age photojournalist Thérèse Bonney.
End of the Prairie
The seminal American architect Frank Lloyd Wright began designing a house for a wealthy newspaper publisher, Kansas Governor, and eventually Senator, Henry J. Allen, in 1915. The only residence designed by Wright in Wichita, KA, the Allen House was completed in 1918 and is considered the last of Wright’s celebrated Prairie Houses. Wright employs his signature...
Elements of the Exotic
The piano plays an intricate, rhythmic solo. The trumpet vocalizes a “wa-wa” sound that is explosively bluesy. The trombone whinnies bizarrely, both expressive and perverse. These are the sounds of Duke Ellington’s “Black and Tan Fantasy,” one of the defining musical pieces of his fifty-year career. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974) was involved with music...