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Mid-century Modern

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Our Top Five Favorite Mad Men Design Moments

Becky

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Now that Don Draper finally nailed the ultimate account and Mad Men has disappeared into 1970 forever, I’ve been binge watching the whole thing all over again on Netflix. There were so many fantastic moments of graphic design, fashion design, even hair design (and some not-so-good ones, those ’70s staches and sideburns were not doing the characters any favors). But most of all, I loved to watch Mad Men for the spot-on 1960s set design.

There are too many to count; with all that Eames, Saarinen and other mid-century icons lurking everywhere. Here are some of the highlights:

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What does this guy need an office for? No actual business ever happened here, except for a fake phone call to Lee Gardner over at Lucky Strike weeks after Roger had lost the account.

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1) The best moment to me was when Jane Sterling hired a decorator to redecorate Roger’s office, the spot where he dictated that not-so-bestselling Sterling’s Gold. A tulip table, a CJ Corona chair, op art and more iconic items in a black and white palette. I mean, check out that phone!

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“A modern Chinoiserie breakfront, a Dunbar Japanese-influenced sofa, silk Dupioni drapes, Murano vases, and a classic Drexel end table.” — Betty Draper’s decorator

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2) Betty redecorates the living room. Betty hires a decorator that gives her sharp Hollywood Regency style for her living room. Don walks in and moves a lamp around to make it perfect. Then Betty buys a very symbolic fainting couch that messes the whole look up. It’s so appropriate because the poor woman is trapped in an era that squeezes her like a Victorian corset.

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3) Betty goes to get analyzed. Has there ever been a sadder woman on a Barcelona daybed? And did analysts really call husbands to give them the rundown after the wife’s appointment? That was crazy. Anyway, this image is fun to compare and contrast with the fainting couch one above it.

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4) Don flies to sunny L.A. and winds up hanging out with a bunch of European tax evaders in “The Jet Set” episode. According to Curbed, this house is The Fox House, an abode Sinatra rented for 10 years. If that’s not a ringing endorsement that it’s classic California modern, I don’t know what is. The set designers and art director captured that clean white, glass and that unique California cool.

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Bert Cooper’s Japanese-inspired office. No shoes allowed in here. The arrival of new art was always exciting and gave us insight into Bert’s character and tastes. A new Rothko had everyone in the office a tizzy, a Pollack was behind his head during the moon landing, but the best was the sex octopus:

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But the best sex octopus moment was this vision of Peggy Olson, completely transformed, strolling into McCann-Erickson unrecognizable from the young secretary we’d met a decade earlier.

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What was your favorite Mad Men design moment? Please share it with us!

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Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Sale Spotlight: Save 15% on Vitra

DesignPublic.com

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Hey all! March is a great time to shake up your interior design, and we’re having a slew of sales to help. In fact, there are so many sales going on at Design Public right now that it’s almost hard to keep track! We’ll be featuring some of the highlights throughout the month to help you navigate.

Today we’re focusing on the Vitra sale, which begins today and will end on March 19, 2015. Save 15% on mid-century modern and modern-day classics from iconic designers like Alexander Girard, George Nelson, Verner Panton, Jasper Morrison and more!Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 9.38.48 AM

Vitra Cork Stools. Add wonderful texture and a strong silhouette to your room via this charming stool. 9868__dp

Uten Silo Wall Organizers. Keep all of your desk necessities corralled in a way that turn them into an artful assemblage.

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Panton Classic Chair. This curvaceous beauty has become a contemporary classic, seen in rooms from the most traditional to utterly minimalist, in a range of colors from white to black and everything in between.

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George Nelson’s Iconic Clocks. The mid-century modern great’s original clock designs are available, including playful yet sophisticated wall clocks and desk clocks.

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Vitra Alcove Love Seat. This cozy furniture is available in a one, two or three-seater version.

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Lots of great items featuring the work of the great Alexander Girard. Graphic design classics from the iconic designer appear on accessories from dolls to trays to pillows.

Shop all Vitra

View all current sales

For more help staying on top of all the sales, subscribe to The Design Public Newsletter.

 

 

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Friday, January 2nd, 2015

SALE! 15% Off Gus Modern

DesignPublic.com

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If you’re in the middle of rethinking your furniture and interior design for 2015, now’s a good time to shop. We are offering 15% off all Gus Modern for the entire month of January. Here are just a few highlights to tempt you.

gt-rockerGus Modern GT Rocker

carmichael-bedGus Modern Carmichael Bed

Transit_Bench_-_Natural_Ash-31.jpgGus Modern Transit Bench

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Gus Modern Bloor Sofa

wireframetable01b_1024x1024Gus Modern Wireframe End Table

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Gus Modern Spanner Chair

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Gus Modern Davinport Bi-Sectional Sofa

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Gus Modern Hex Ottoman

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Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

(Re)Introducing the Spanner Lounge Chair With Arms

Becky

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We are so pleased to announce that we are carrying The Spanner Lounge Chair with Arms at Design Public. Originally created in 1950 by Russell Spanner (1916-1974), the award-winning designer’s chair has been out of production for more than 50 years. Gus*Design Group worked in collaboration with the Spanner family to revive this iconic chair, meticulously matching the materials, construction and details to the original chair.

The frame is constructed of  solid birch and curved birch plywood and the seat is 100% cotton woven strapping. During the design collaboration with the Spanner family, Gus*Design Group worked hard to match the finishes (both light and dark birch) and strapping colors (choice of green, red or black strapping):

Vintage Ad for Russell Spanner's Furniture

Today we’re talking with Joran Van Lange, the designer at Gus* Design Group who acted as design and production lead for the Spanner Lounge Chair reissue, to learn more about this exciting re-release.

How did you discover the work of Russell Spanner?
I first saw his work in a design lecture while I was in school.  His original designs show up occasionally here in Toronto at vintage and mid-century antique shops, so before we even knew Russell’s background story, we were familiar with the Russell Spanner “look”, which is very recognizable.

What drew you to the Spanner Chair in particular?
There’s something really positive and energetic about the lines and angles of the chair.  It’s bold without being too serious.

Which leads me to, what about its mid-century design still works so well today?

The design is relevant today for the same reasons it was relevant in the 1950s. At that time, North American cities were seeing an explosion of compact, post-war homes, which needed furniture that was smaller scale.  The movement toward condo and small space living in the last decade has meant that consumers are again looking for smaller, lighter furniture pieces.

Aesthetically, the chair embodies the mid-century tradition of leaving components and hardware in plain view.  Nothing is hidden by panels or upholstery.  There’s a transparency in that which people appreciate.

What is the history of the chair?

The Lounge Chair was designed by Russell while he was working as foreman at his family’s woodworking factory.  It’s believed that he used some of the jigs and parts of other industrial products to form the basic components for the Lounge Chair.  As an example, the frame for the seat shares the same proportions and joinery as the industrial battery boxes which the factory produced at the time.

Where are the reproductions produced?

We felt that because this chair was originally designed and produced in Toronto, it was important to carry on that legacy and produce the re-issue here as well.

Did you learn anything new about design and production from the process of putting the Spanner Chair back into production?


We realized once we began to dissect the original chair that there are some very sophisticated joinery details going on.  Everything must be manufactured perfectly in order for the design to work.

It works beautifully.

Purchase a Spanner Lounge Chair with Arms at Design Public

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Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Designer Interview: Brad Musuraca, Owner of Tronk Design

Becky

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After graduating from The University of Cincinnati with a degree in classics,  Brad Musuraca  noticed his friends in the architecture school working on their final furniture-building projects, and thought that it looked like a lot of fun. He carved out a spot in his family’s factory to start experimenting during his free time outside of working there, working with wood and metal and creating prototypes. This led to him starting his own  furniture company, Tronk Design.  Here’s more about how he got his start, his design process and advice for budding designers. Thanks to Brad for answering our questions today.


Tronk Design Hudson Table with Inlay

What was the first piece of furniture you ever built?

The very first piece I ever built was a tall long thin table you might put in a hallway and throw your keys on it as you came into the house. It was very simple because I only had one machine, so the wood came from Lowes and I stained it, trying to make it NOT look like cheap pine. It’s actually still around in my Dad’s office.
Cincinnati is chock full of great design history — are there any examples of local designers/designs  that inspire you in particular?

Honestly I really like Charley Harper, as does everyone I suppose. I actually tried to get in touch with their studio to see if I could integrate some of his iconic animal designs into my furniture. Nothing happened with that, but I’m still holding out hope.

Your work has the vibe of a contemporary take on mid-century modern. What are some of your favorite elements/principles from that era that you like to use in your work today?

I try and keep the furniture as slim and elegant as possible without sacrificing functionality. Yes it is very minimalistic, but each item has something subtle that adds a little pop to catch the eye. Ultimately mid-century furniture was designed to be high quality, but also able to be mass produced.
Can you walk us through your process a bit, from the time you get an idea to the finished piece of furniture?

I’d like to start off by saying that I tend to have a bit of an obsessive personality.  I will literally think about a new product idea non-stop for days. I have a long list of ideas sitting on my desk that honestly, I will probably never get to make. Usually I just end up making the latest idea that pops into my head.
It starts off with a prototype, roughly fashioned with cheap wood from the hardware store. Then I’ll make whatever changes I would like from there, because nothing ever seems to look exactly as you imagined it. Once that is done I’ll make another prototype out of cheap wood, but this time do all the joints properly to see what it will actually be like in reality to make the thing. If that goes well then I’ll make all the appropriate jigs and make another prototype out of slightly better wood, which I usually stain to get a feel for the color of the final piece. This prototype inevitably ends up in my house. Finally I’ll make the real deal and make up a manufacturing direction sheet from everything I just learned through the prototyping process. A lot more methodical work than inspiration, unfortunately!


I love the way the Franklin Shelf works a corner — how did you come up with that?
I just wanted to design some type of shelf that fit into a corner. I went through all the usual suspects you would imagine. Then I thought “well, what if it was just a flat board in an L shape?” Then I figured it would need support so I added another shelf and connected them. Then I thought it would be interesting if they could stack, so I added another shelf on top, which  gave me 3 layers of shelving. Then I thought that if the user wanted to put something on the shelf that was larger than 10″ in height, they would have a problem. So I made one side of the top shelf a little shorter than the shelf below it — this created a little shelf where you can put a vase or something else a little taller. Then for the sake of symmetry I did the same thing to the opposite side of the bottom shelf.

Do you have any advice for budding furniture designers about running their own shops?

Be prepared to work 60+ hour weeks for little or no pay, and focus on PR.

What do you have on the boards next?

Trade secret :)
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