Select manufacturers produced these special pieces just for us
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 3/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
Ralph Pucci International
Founded in 1957, this company started as a mannequin-repair shop and manufacturer before expanding into sculptural furniture that explores the inter- section of design, art, and fashion. Artist-designer Patrick Naggar—a frequent collaborator—updated a 1932 Jean-Michel Frank director's chair with mirror-image musings in acrylic paint. An edition of one, the chair appears against a 20-year-old poster advertising mannequins.
A woodworker logo, dating from this manufacturer's 1889 inception, bespeaks origins in traditional furniture. More recently, Bernhardt has generated buzz by partnering with such top-notch talents as Ross Lovegrove, whose space-age Go chair came out in 2001 in powder-coated magnesium. Bernhardt now unveils 25 special versions in a high-polish raw magnesium.
A respected producer of luxe custom designs for projects ranging from private residences to the Oval Office, this company also has a less-known claim to fame: coining the term area rug, introduced in a 1950's Lord & Taylor advertisement. This tufted-wool example, inspired by Gustav Klimt's 1908 painting Hope II, captures the artist's striking composition and coloration.
Since its 1946 debut, Charles and Ray Eames's popular molded-plywood LCW chair has been available only in single-color finishes. But the company recently uncovered photographs of early mix-and-match experiments, which never made it to the sales floor. The serendipitous rediscovery prompted a new twist on an old favorite: two-tone offerings, including these one-of-a-kind light-ash and red-painted versions—shown with a line drawing by Charles Eames.
Maya Romanoff Corporation
Be it shimmering glass beads or 1970's tie-dyed velvet—shown in the background—this company is known for au courant patterns, tantalizing textures, and inspired partnerships with offbeat design talents. This beguiling one-off swath of Beadazzled wall covering is backed by artist Dzine's acrylic-on-canvas study for an installation at this year's Arco art fair in Madrid.
The world's first single-piece molded-plastic seat, Verner Panton's Panton chair has remained a crowd pleaser since the 1960's. Vitra now throws it a curve with a cross-shape cutout, symbolizing the 70-year-old company's Swiss roots and commitment to precision engineering. The one-off design is juxtaposed against a brochure page from the 1970's.
Never content to rest on its laurels, this company took time out from a centennial celebration to reissue 25,000 editions of the lean, luminous Lytegem lamp, a Michael Lax design ensconced in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art. The 1965 original—in aluminum and injection-molded polycarbonate—is shown alongside a 1960's ad.
For more than 90 years, this pragmatic company's clever storage solutions have been organizing the contents of our offices—to say nothing of our minds. Clean-lined steel lockers from the 1930's preceded the revolutionary lateral file, which Allsteel invented in 1968. This one-of-a-kind Persona is covered in a Charles and Ray Eames fabric, 1947 Circles from collaborator Maharam.
By producing archival fabric patterns alongside of-the-minute high-tech textiles, brothers Michael and Steven Maharam honor the memory of their great-grandfather, company founder Louis Maharam—shown in 1905 with his wife, Rose. They give a nod to Anni Albers, subject of an upcoming retrospective at New York's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, by reissuing her sound-absorbing cellophane wall covering, created for her 1929 Bauhaus thesis. The 1,000-yard run of today's interpretation, Raffia Cord, features a silvery tape yarn no longer in production.
This manufacturer got its footing as a supplier to the shoe industry before shifting to luxe contract products, but an artistic outlook has been integral to the corporate philosophy all along: Witness Andy Warhol's whimsical 1959 ad campaign. Toeing the line between fine art and craftsmanship, a shimmering new collection of engraved, hand-antiqued metallic hides Serpent, Sulky, and Ostrich is being launched this spring.
How does a 154-year-old company stay fresh? By joining forces with clients on innovative bespoke designs for projects as diverse as showrooms and airports. These cuttings from custom jobs—shown with a 1970's schematic style graph for a carpet produced on a T-slat tufting machine—are fodder for collections now in the works.
Skylark plastic laminate, reportedly conceived by Brooks Stevens and fine-tuned by Raymond Loewy, was an immediate hit when introduced in the 1950's—depicted in this ad. Relaunched from 1988 to 1997 under the name Boomerang, the retro squiggles are now getting a third lease on life with sprightly new colors.