A Very Functional Form
This verriere defines the classification of objects we call decorative arts: something that is both beautiful and functional. The function of the verriere is to cool wine glasses by inverting them and resting the feet and stems on the curved rim of the vessel, with the bowls immersed in cold water or ice. This type...
Ho, Ho, Ho
Good cheer abounds in this festive poster designed by graphic designer and educator Linda Powell.  The poster is part of a set of four created to promote the 1978 Herman Miller Christmas Party.  The beloved Zeeland, Michigan furniture company has a hearty tradition of exceptionally made products and innovative communication design, geared both outwardly, for...
Please, Look Up
This corner border doesn’t appear like much at first appearance but it speaks a lot about technology. This is a ceiling corner border: the design is simple, printed in only a few colors, very affordable. Maybe not so easy to hang but it would have been cheap enough that you could afford to make mistakes....
The World on a String
Jacqueline Groag was one of the United Kingdom’s most influential post-war textile designers. She began her career at the famed Wiener Werkstätte in Vienna before designing and producing hand-printed textiles for some of the top Parisian fashion houses, including Chanel, Lanvin, Worth, Schiaparelli, and Poiret. She was also one of only a few of the...
An Office Artifact
As a portmanteau for “rolling” and “index,” the term “rolodex” has entered the English lexicon to mean a list of one’s business contacts. Though the term can be used broadly, it also refers to the brand name Rolodex—the company that made this swivel file. Devices such as these allowed the user to type or attach...
Hercules’ Second Labor
In this richly ornamented print from the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department, Giorgio Ghisi (Italian, 1520-1582) portrays Hercules’ success in completing his second labor in his print Hercules Victorious Over the Hydra of Lerna. This print was designed for a frontispiece for artist Giovanni Battista Bertani’s commentary, titled Gli oscuri e difficili passi dell’opera...
Shades of Gray
This is a textile designed and constructed for direct application to the wall. Made in the lamontage process, the design is an ombre pattern that shades from deep black through shades of gray, to white. While this style has certainly made a comeback today it has old roots in the wallpaper field, and I was...
Paper Wave
The original idea behind the Finnish design firm, Woodnotes, was to combine artistic creativity with inspiration from two basic Finnish materials: wood and paper. All of the products by Woodnotes utilize paper yarn that is spun from durable kraft paper. The amount of paper used in the textile varies between 70–100%, with cotton as the...
Desk Ware from a Simpler Time
In this age of electronic assistants, it is hard for many to fathom a time when telephone service was limited and mail, or what today is referred to as “snail mail”, was the order of the day. During the early decades of the twentieth century written letters were the most common form of communication, and...