In Passing, 2010
To paraphrase Dickens somewhat, 2010 was neither the best of times nor the worst of times. The economy sagged, businesses teetered, relationships foundered, frustration spiked. Still, the year elicited from us perseverance, resilience, and adaptability. Fortunately, in the design community, creativity and grit are our stock-in-trade.
Unfortunately, as in every year, we lost members of our tribe, some in the fullness of time, others way too soon. Close to home, we lost the New York City design dealer Amy Perlin. Her sudden loss will be felt by all her clients and friends. Further afield, the design world lost some of its leaders, and more of its practitioners. Due to space limitations, only a few are mentioned here:
Raimund Abraham, age 76, Austrian-born architect and educator. Renowned for his visionary architectural drawings and unrealized projects, Abraham designed the critically acclaimed Austrian Cultural Forum on E. 52nd Street in New York City. He also taught for decades, primarily at the Cooper Union School of Art and Architect. He perished in a car accident hours after delivering a lecture in Southern California.
Eduardo Catalano, age 92, Argentinian-born architect and educator. Catalano was educated in Argentina, then did post-graduate work at the Harvard School of design under Gropius. His parabolic house in Raliegh, N.C., won House and Home Magazine's House of the Decade award in 1956. Along with Pietro Belluschi, he designed the Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. He taught for years at M.I.T.
Dennis Sharp, age 76, British architect, architectural historian, critic and teacher. A prolific and influential writer on late 19th to 20th century architecture, Sharp also had his own architectural practice that handled both new projects and historical restoration.
James Stageberg, age 85, influential Minnesota architect and educator. Stageberg studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and upon returning to Minnesota became the first hire by Ralph Rapson to teach architecture and design at the University of Minnesota. He mentored several generations of architects, including Bill Pedersen of Kohn, Pedersen, Fox. His daughter, Jane Stageberg-a colleague of mine--is a principal in the Brooklyn firm BSC Architecture.
Robin and Lucienne Day, British husband-and-wife design team, age 95 and 93, respectively. Britain's most celebrated modernist designers, Robin designed furniture, including the so-called Festival of Britain chair of 1951, the Hillestack chair of the early 1950's and the ubiquitous polypropylene stacking chair, while Lucienne was a prolific and renowned textile designer.
Bruce Graham, age 84, architect with Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. Joined SOM in 1951, and became a design partner in 1960, retiring in 1989 to open his own firm Graham and Graham. With SOM, he designed skyscrapers, most conspicuously the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Center in Chicago.