Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

We have a great deal of respect for the designers that have come before us and their work. From time to time we will point to some people that inspire us in the area of furniture design under the heading "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants".

There are countless hundreds of thousands of chair designs out there. Some designers try to make their mark with a revolutionary design. Three legs, cardboard, whatever. Some take what is obviously great already and try to make it just a little bit better. Edward Wormley is a designer with a healthy appreciation of classic design as you can see below.

“Modernism means freedom—freedom to mix, to choose, to change, to embrace the new but to hold fast to what is good.” -Edward J Wormley

In 1926 he went to study briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago. Funds ran out and he went to work as an interior designer for Marshall Fields & Company department store. During the Depression, Wormley was introduced to the president of Dunbar Furniture Company of Berne, Indiana, who hired him to upgrade their product line.

His eye for quality and the exacting craftsmanship at Dunbar made for furniture that was elegant, understated and exceptionally well-made. Wormley was never really at the forefront of Modern design. Instead, he took the best elements from classical, historical design and translated them into Modern vernacular. The result was furniture that was sophisticated, yet mainstream and very successful.

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