Color

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Plastic Virtue
Lea Stein’s laminated celluloid jewelry designs joyously celebrate the materiality of plastic. Fusing together thin sheets of brightly colored acetate to create elaborately layered designs—seen here in this bracelet from 1970—Stein and her husband, Ferdinand Steinberger, developed this process in the late 1960s. Steinberger was a chemist who invented this new chemical process, which allowed...
Aesthetics of the Color Plotter
A cube split into eight floating blocks, situated in isometric perspective. Each block comprised of 49 micro-cubes. A color chart rendered in three dimensions with vertices of red, yellow, blue, green, orange, violet, white, and black (out of view). This is an ink jet plotter drawing generated by a software program called Color, developed by...
The Cobra
There is no questioning the significance to twentieth-century industrial design of the Ericofon telephone, whose one-piece design makes it a predecessor of both cordless telephones and cell phones. Introduced in the United States in 1956, the Ericofon was originally conceived by Ralph Lysell in 1941 and was redesigned by Lysell, Hans Gösta Thames, and Hugo Blomberg for...
Tzute (man's Head Cloth) (Guatemala), 1960s
Transcendent Tzute
You wouldn’t know this is a ceremonial Tzute or headpiece by just looking at it. Utilitarian indeed, one gets lost in its rainbow colors and loom-weaved energy. The anthropomorphic animal imagery shows chickens, peacocks and two horses standing erect, surrounded by more avian shapes and (alas!) a human figure in bird transcendence. Illuminated, obsessed, invoking...
This is a Vase. It was designed by Margarete H. L. Marks and manufactured by Haël-Werkstätten. It is dated ca. 1930. Its medium is glazed earthenware.
A Stroke Of Color
Margarete Heymann-Loebenstein-Marks, also known as Grete Marks, was a German ceramicist and painter who studied at the Bauhaus School of Arts in Weimer in 1920–21, alongside Paul Klee and Georg Muche. Prior to this, she had attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Cologne and studied painting at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Düsseldorf. Her time at...
The Horizontal Line in American Design
This desk by Paul Frankl is an example of American streamlined furniture of the 1930s. Frankl trained as an architect in Germany and Austria before settling in New York in 1914, as a decorator and designer. He created geometric furniture designs for Frankl Galleries in Manhattan. Frankl’s design philosophy centered on designing for the future,...
Floating Colors
Although this vase exemplifies a mid-twentieth century organic style of modernism, it comes from a glass factory with a long tradition of using historical production techniques, located on the island of Murano in Venice, Italy, an important glass-blowing center since the middle ages. In the mid-nineteenth century, Italian lawyer Antonio Salviati developed an interest in glass after...
Think Different
“When was the last time someone offered to carry your book to school?” This question was posed by Apple in a 1999 advertisement to introduce the iBook, the company’s new peppy line of laptop computers geared towards entry level, consumer, and education markets. The advertisement pictured the user’s hand wrapped around a turquoise carrying handle...
Textile by Testa
Although the name may be unfamiliar to some, American textile designer Angelo Testa (American, 1921–1984) made an important contribution to 20th century textile design. As the very first graduate of the Institute of Design in Chicago, Testa was at the vanguard of the “New Bauhaus”, alongside Lazlo Moholy Nagy, Marli Ehrman and George Fred Keck....