Modern Furniture Designers at 21st Century Furniture listed alphabetically a b c contemporary furniture z-to-a Modern Furniture home

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A for Eero Aarnio

Eero Aarnio is a Finnish interior designer, well known for his innovative furniture designs in the 1960s, notably his plastic and fiberglass chairs. Aarnio studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, and started his own office in 1962. The following year Aarnio introduced his Ball Chair, a hollow sphere on a stand, open on one side to allow a person to sit within. The similar Bubble Chair was clear and suspended from above. Other innovative designs included his floating Pastil Chair , and Tomato Chair. The Eero Aarnio Screw Table had the appearance of a flat head screw driven into the ground. Aarnio's designs were an important aspect of 1960s popular culture, and could often be seen as part of sets in period science-fiction films. Because his designs used very simple geometric forms, they were ideal for such productions.

Eero Aarnio by Eero Aarnio

Eero Aarnio

B for Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia was an Italian-born artist and modern furniture designer. At the age of 15 he traveled from Italy to Detroit to visit his older brother, however he chose to stay and enrolled in Cass Technical High School, where he studied art and design and learned the art of handmade jewelry making. In 1938 he attended the Art School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, now known as the College for Creative Studies. The following year in 1937 he received a scholarship to study at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where he encountered Walter Gropius, Edmund N. Bacon and Ray and Charles Eames for the first time. Opening his own metal workshop in 1939 he taught jewelry design and metal work. Later, as the war effort made metal a rare and very expensive commodity he began to focus his efforts on jewelry making, even designing and creating wedding rings for Charles and Ray Eames and Edmund Bacon's wife Ruth. Later in 1943, he married Brigitta Valentiner, and moved to California to work with Charles and Ray for the Evans Product Company. Evans provided technical work for airplane and medical equipment. Bertoia was also drawing training manuals. At this point they began to experiment with molded plywood under the auspices of their Plyformed Products Company, which was later bought out by Evans. With Eero Saarinen they developed a method for making molded plywood splints that would later evolve into processes for designing furniture. Bertoia remained as part of their staff, working on a variety of projects. Three years later he split with the Eames, concerned that his work was not receiving due credit, and preferring to work with metal rather than wood. In the same year he finally became a US citizen. In 1950, he moved to Pennsylvania, to established a studio, and to work with Hans and Florence Knoll. (Florence was also a Cranbrook Graduate). During this period he designed five wire pieces that became known as the Bertoia Collection for Knoll. Among them the famous 'Diamond chair' a fluid, sculptural form made from a molded lattice work of welded steel. In Bertoia's own words, "If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them." They were produced with varying degrees of upholstery over their light grid-work, and they were handmade because a suitable mass production process could not be found. Unfortunately, the chair resembled an Eames chair so closely that Herman Miller, Eames' distributor, took Knoll to court on the grounds that they were taking wrongful credit for a bent-wire technique owned by the Eames. Herman Miller eventually won and gave Knoll a license to produce the chairs, but knowing that the Eames and Bertoia worked closely for so long, the "genealogy" of inspiration seems difficult and maybe even unnecessary to pin down.

Harry Bertoia by Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia

C for Charles-Edouard Jeanneret

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier was a French, Swiss-born architect and writer, who is famous for his contributions to what now is called modernism, or the International Style. He was a pioneer in theoretical studies of modern design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. His career spanned five decades, with his iconic buildings constructed throughout central Europe, India, Russia, and one structure each in North and South America. He was also an urban planner, painter, sculptor, writer, and modern furniture designer. Le Corbusier began experimenting with furniture design in 1928 after inviting the architect, Charlotte Perriand, to join his studio. His cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, also collaborated on many of the designs. Before the arrival of Perriand, Le Corbusier relied on ready-made furniture to furnish his projects, such as the simple pieces manufactured by Thonet. In 1928 Le Corbusier and Perriand began to put the expectations for furniture Le Corbusier outlined in his 1925 book L'Art Décoratif d'aujourd'hui into practice. In the book he defined three different furniture types: type-needs, type-furniture, and human-limb objects. He defined human-limb objects as: "Extensions of our limbs and adapted to human functions that are. Type-needs, type-functions, therefore type-objects and type-furniture. The human-limb object is a docile servant. A good servant is discreet and self-effacing in order to leave his master free. Certainly, works of art are tools, beautiful tools. And long live the good taste manifested by choice, subtlety, proportion, and harmony". LC2 chair, 'cushion basket'The first results of the collaboration were three chrome-plated tubular steel chairs designed for two of his projects, The Maison la Roche in Paris and a pavilion for Barbara and Henry Church. The line of furniture was expanded for Le Corbusier's 1929 Salon d'Automne installation, Equipment for the Home. In the year 1964, while Le Corbusier was still alive, Cassina S.p.A. of Milan acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture his furniture designs. Today many copies exist, but Cassina is still the only manufacturer authorised by the Fondation Le Corbusier.

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret by Charles-Edouard Jeanneret

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret

E for Charles and Ray Eames

The Eameses worked in architecture and modern furniture design, often (like in the earlier moulded plywood work) pioneering innovative technologies, such as the fiberglass and plastic resin chairs and the wire mesh chairs designed for Herman Miller. The Eameses also conceived and designed a number of landmark exhibitions. The first of these, Mathematica: a world of numbers...and beyond (1961), was sponsored by IBM, and is the only one of their exhibitions still extant. The original was created for a new wing of the (currently named) California Science Center; it is now owned by and on display at the New York Hall of Science.

Charles and Ray Eames by Charles and Ray Eames

Charles and Ray Eames

F for Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll Bassett was an American architect and furniture designer who studied under the likes of Mies van der Rohe and Eero Saarinen. She was born in Saginaw, Michigan as "Florence Schust" and is known in familiar circles simply as "Shu". She graduated from Kingswood School in 1934. In 1943 she joined with her husband Hans Knoll in redirecting Hans's furniture company more toward a modernist, Scandinavian style. After Hans's death, Florence took over as head of Knoll. In 1958 she married Harry Hood Bassett. Her American interpretation of minimalist, rationalist design theories is clearly evident in Knoll's storage pieces. She mixed woods and metals to great effect and added laminates as they became popular. Dressers and desks are all square in design but never lack for quality. Hanging cabinets have glass shelves, sliding doors and drop down fronts that can be used as bars. As an architect, Knoll's most famous creations are the Connecticut General Life Insurance building in Bloomfield, Connecticut and the interior of the CBS Building in New York City.

Florence Knoll by Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll

G for Eileen Gray

Eileen Gray was an Irish lacquer artist, furniture designer and architect now well-known for incorporating luxurious lacquer work into the stark International Style aesthetic. She first studied painting at London's Slade School of Art. She eventually left painting to study lacquer under the guidance of lacquer craftsman, Sugawara. In 1913, she held her first exhibition, showing some decorative panels at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs. She combined lacquer and rare woods, geometric abstraction and Japanese-inspired motifs into her work. It attracted the attention of Jacques Doucet, an art connoisseur and collector. He commissioned a few pieces – her only signed and dated creations. In 1924 Gray and Badovici began work on the house E-1027 in Roquebrune, Cap Martin in southern France (near Monaco). The codename stands for the names of the couple: E for Eileen, 10 for Jean (the tenth letter of the alphabet), 2 for Badovici and 7 for Gray. L-shaped and flat-roofed with floor-to-ceiling windows and a spiral stairway to the guest room, E-1027 was both open and compact. Gray designed the furniture as well as collaborated with Badovici on its structure. Her circular glass E-1027 table and rotund Bibendum armchair were inspired by the recent tubular steel experiments of Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus (who had been inspired, in turn, by Mart Stam). le Corbusier was quite impressed by the house, and built a summer house behind the house. Le Corbusier left his hark on the building in the form of several colourful wall murals.

Eileen Gray by Eileen Gray

Eileen Gray

H for Joseph Hoffman

Josef Hoffmann was an Austrian architect and designer of consumer goods. Hoffmann's style eventually became more sober and abstract and it was limited increasingly to functional structures and domestic products. In 1906, Hoffmann built his first great work, the Sanatorium in Purkersdorf. Compared to the Moser House, with its rusticated vernacular roof, this was a great advancement towards abstraction and a move away from traditional Arts and Crafts and historicism. This project served as a major precedent and inspiration for the modern architecture that would develop in the first half of the 20th century, for instance the early work of Le Corbusier. It had a clarity, simplicity, and logic that foretold of a Neue Sachlichkeit. Palais StoctletThrough contacts with Adolphe Stoclet, who sat on the supervisory board of the Austro-Belgischen Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, he was commissioned to built the Palais Stoclet in Brussels from 1905 to 1911 for this wealthy banker and railway financier. This masterpiece of Jugendstil, was an example of Gesamtkunstwerk, replete with murals in the dining room by Klimt and four copper figures on the tower by Franz Metzner. In 1907, Hoffmann was co-founder of the Deutscher Werkbund, and in 1912 of the Österreichischer Werkbund. After World War II, he took on official tasks, that of an Austrian general commissioner with the Venice Biennale and a membership in the art senate.

Joseph Hoffman by Joseph Hoffman

Joseph Hoffman

J for Arne Jacobsen

Arne Jacobsen was a Danish Jewish architect and designer, exemplar of the "Danish Modern" style. Among his architectural achievements are St Catherine's College, Oxford, work at Merton College, Oxford, the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Copenhagen, the Danish National Bank building in Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Embassy in Knightsbridge, London as well as a number of town halls and other buildings in his native Denmark. Jacobsen has created a number of highly original chairs and other furniture. He has received several international distinctions and medals. Jacobsen is perhaps best known for the Model 3107 chair of 1955, known also as the "Number 7 Chair" which has sold over 5 million copies. The Number 7 chair is perhaps best known for being the prop used to hide Christine Keeler's nakedness in Lewis Morley's iconic portrait. Many of Jacobsen's furniture designs have become classic, including the Ant chair from 1952 and the Swan and the Egg which were both designed for the Radisson SAS Hotel. Jacobsen is, however, perhaps best known for the Model 3107 chair of 1955, known also as the "Number 7 Chair" which has sold over 5 million copies. . Morley just happened to use a chair that he had in the studio, which turns out to have been a copy of Jacobsen's design. Since then, Number 7 chairs have been used for many similar portraits imitating the pose.

Arne Jacobsen by Arne Jacobsen

Arne Jacobsen

J for Jasper Morrison

Jasper Morrison is an English product and furniture designer. Morrison was born in London, England but brought up in New York, USA. He was educated at Bryanston School. He received a Bachelor of Design degree from Kingston Polytecnic Design School in 1982 and a Masters degree in Design from the Royal College of Art, London, in 1985. He also studied at the Berlin University of the Arts

Jasper Morrison by Jasper Morrison

Jasper Morrison

K for Poul Kjaerholm

Poul Kjćrholm was a Danish designer. Born in 1929 in Oster Vra, Denmark, Kjaerholm began as a cabinetmaker's apprentice with Gronbech in 1948, going on to the School of Commercial Art in Copenhagen in 1952. He was very articulate and with his natural authority he started an outstanding career as an educator in the same year (1952) but continued to study with Prof. Erik Herlřw and Prof. Palle Suenson. From the mid 1950s he worked for his friend Ejvind Kold Christiansen, an entrepreneur who, giving him tremendous artistic freedom, produced an extensive range of his furniture. His distinctive style is evident as early as 1952 in his PKO minimalist plywood series. The PK61 coffee table of '55 is a playfully irrational supporting frame visible through the glass top. In 1958 he attracted international acclaim for his contributions to the 'Formes Scandinaves' exhibition in Paris and the award of the legendary 'Lunning Award', the same year for his PK22 chair. In both 1957 and 1960 he won the Grand Prize at the Milan Trennali. In 1959 he became assistant at the Royal Danish Academy of Arts in Copenhagen and lecturer. In 1965 his PK24 Chaise Longue typified his mature style. Its simple flowing lines combine steel and woven cane. In 1967 he was awarded the Danish ID Prize for product design. He became head of the Institut for Design in 1973 and finally professor in 1976 until his death 4 years later. Most of his furniture was initially produced by his friend E. Kold Christensen in Hellerup. Since 1982 a wide selection of those products have been produced by Fritz Hansen, a leading Danish furniture manufacturing firm.

Poul Kjaerholm by Poul Kjaerholm

Poul Kjaerholm

L for Le Corbusier

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier was a French, Swiss-born architect and writer, who is famous for his contributions to what now is called modernism, or the International Style. He was a pioneer in theoretical studies of modern design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. His career spanned five decades, with his iconic buildings constructed throughout central Europe, India, Russia, and one structure each in North and South America. He was also an urban planner, painter, sculptor, writer, and modern furniture designer. Le Corbusier began experimenting with furniture design in 1928 after inviting the architect, Charlotte Perriand, to join his studio. His cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, also collaborated on many of the designs. Before the arrival of Perriand, Le Corbusier relied on ready-made furniture to furnish his projects, such as the simple pieces manufactured by Thonet. In 1928 Le Corbusier and Perriand began to put the expectations for furniture Le Corbusier outlined in his 1925 book L'Art Décoratif d'aujourd'hui into practice. In the book he defined three different furniture types: type-needs, type-furniture, and human-limb objects. He defined human-limb objects as: "Extensions of our limbs and adapted to human functions that are. Type-needs, type-functions, therefore type-objects and type-furniture. The human-limb object is a docile servant. A good servant is discreet and self-effacing in order to leave his master free. Certainly, works of art are tools, beautiful tools. And long live the good taste manifested by choice, subtlety, proportion, and harmony". LC2 chair, 'cushion basket'The first results of the collaboration were three chrome-plated tubular steel chairs designed for two of his projects, The Maison la Roche in Paris and a pavilion for Barbara and Henry Church. The line of furniture was expanded for Le Corbusier's 1929 Salon d'Automne installation, Equipment for the Home. In the year 1964, while Le Corbusier was still alive, Cassina S.p.A. of Milan acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture his furniture designs. Today many copies exist, but Cassina is still the only manufacturer authorised by the Fondation Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier by Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier

M for C R Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish architect, designer, and watercolourist who was a designer in the Arts and Crafts movement and also the main exponent of Art Nouveau in Scotland. Mackintosh worked in interior design, furniture, textiles and, metalwork. Much of this work combines Mackintosh's own designs with those of his wife, whose flowing, floral style complimented his more formal, rectilinear work. Like his contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright, Mackintosh's architectural designs often included extensive specifications for the detailing, decoration, and furnishing of his buildings. His work was shown at the Vienna Secession Exhibition in 1900.

C R Mackintosh by C R Mackintosh

C R Mackintosh

N for Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi was a prominent Japanese -American artist and landscape architect whose artistic career spanned six decades, from the 1920s onward. Known widely for his sculpture and public works, Noguchi also designed stage sets for various Martha Graham productions, and several mass-produced lamps and furniture pieces, some of which are still manufactured and sold. Among his furniture work was his collaboration with the Herman Miller company in 1948 when he joined with George Nelson, Paul László and Charles Eames to produce a catalog containing what is often considered to be the most influential body of modern furniture. His work lives on around the world and at the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in New York City. Noguchi is famous for his organic modern forms. The Noguchi Coffee Table - has become famous for its unique and unmistakable simplicity. Refined and at the same time natural, it is one of the most sought after pieces associated with the modern classic furniture movement.

Isamu Noguchi by Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi

O for Frank Gehry

Frank Owen Gehry is a Pritzker Prize winning architect based in Los Angeles, California. His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions. Many museums, companies, and cities seek Gehry's services as a badge of distinction, beyond the product he delivers. His best known works include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic, and his private residence in Santa Monica, California, which jump-started his career, lifting it from the status of "paper architecture". a phenomenon which many famous architects have experienced in their formative decades through experimentation almost exclusively on paper before receiving their first major commission in later years.

Frank Gehry by Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry

P for Verner Panton

Verner Panton is considered one of Denmark's most influential 20th-century furniture and interior designers. During his career, he created innovative and futuristic designs in a variety of materials, especially plastics, and in vibrant colors. His style was very "1960s" but regained popularity at the end of the 20th century; as of 2004, Panton's most well-known furniture models are still in production (at Vitra, among others). Panton was trained as an architectural engineer in Odense; next, he studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi) in Copenhagen, graduating in 1951. During the first two years of his career, 1950-1952, he worked at the architectural practice of Arne Jacobsen, another Danish architect and furniture designer. Panton turned out to be an "enfant terrible" and he started his own design and architectural office. He became well known for his innovative architectural proposals, including a collapsible house (1955), the Cardboard House and the Plastic House (1960). Near the end of the 1950s, his chair designs became more and more unconventional, with no legs or discernible back. In 1960 Panton was the designer of the very first single-form injection-moulded plastic chair. the Stacking chair or S chair, which would become his most famous and mass-produced design.

Verner Panton by Verner Panton

Verner Panton

R for Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. Mies, like many of his post WW I contemporaries, sought to establish a new architectural style that could represent modern times just as Classical and Gothic did for their own eras. He created an influential Twentieth-Century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define austere but elegant spaces.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

S for Eero Saarinen

Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect and product designer of the 20th century famous for varying his style according to the demands of the project: simple, sweeping, arching structural curves or machine-like rationalism. Saarinen first received critical recognition while still working for his father, for a chair designed together with Charles Eames for the "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition in 1940, for which they received first prize. This chair, like all other Saarinen chairs was taken into production by the Knoll furniture company, founded by the Saarinen family friend Florence (Schust) Knoll together with her husband Hans Knoll. Further attention came while Saarinen was still working for his father, when he took first prize in the 1948 competition for the design of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, not completed until the 1960s. The competition award was mistakenly sent to his - at that time more renowned - father. The first major work by Saarinen, started together with his father, was the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, designed very much in the rationalist Miesian style, in steel and glass, but with the added accent of panels in two shades of blue. With the success of the scheme, Saarinen was then invited by other major American corporations to design their new headquarters: these included John Deere, IBM and CBS. Despite their rationality, however, the interiors usually contained more dramatic sweeping staircases, as well as furniture designed by Saarinen, such as the Pedestal Series. In the 1950s he began to receive more commissions from American universities for campus designs and individual buildings; these include the Noyes dormitory at Vassar, and dormitories, an ice rink and an auditorium at Yale University.

Eero Saarinen by Eero Saarinen

Eero Saarinen

V for Flo Viererbl

The cantina is an organic shaped bird feeder designed by Flo Viererbl. It’s a cool place for birds’ rendez-vous. They can gather and chat together to their hearts delight whilst they enjoy a meal.

Flo Viererbl by Flo Viererbl

Flo Viererbl

W for Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the world's most prominent and influential architects. He developed a series of highly individual styles over his extraordinarily long architectural career and influenced the entire course of American architecture and building. To this day, he remains America's most famous architect.

Frank Lloyd Wright by Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright

Z for Tarcisio Zani

Tarcisio Zani United States Patent 4204607. A stainless steel cooking utensil is provided with a bottom layer or insert fully enclosed between the base of the cooking utensil and a protective outer base member to eliminate dirt and grease catching spaces. A brazing material is provided all around the bottom layer, which may be made of aluminum and which is disc-shaped, while the peripheral rim of the protective member, which may be made of stainless steel, may be flared upwardly and outwardly.

Tarcisio Zani by Tarcisio Zani

Tarcisio Zani

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