The 1940s: Celebrating 90 Years of Design
The decade opens as Dorothy Draper & Co. redesigns the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., and Dorothy Draper herself beings broadcasting the radio show Lines About Living. In 1941, New York’s Museum of Modern Art holds a design competition and showcases the winners-including Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, Harry Reese, and Bernard Rudofsky- in “Organic Design in Home Furnishings.” Florence Schust joins her future husband’s furniture company, forming the Knoll Planning Unit in 1943. George Nelson and Henry Wright publish the best-selling Tomorrow’s House in 1945. MoMA curator Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., follows up with “Modern Rooms of the Last 50 Years” in 1946. In 1948, George Nelson & Associates devises the first track lighting, for a Herman Miller showroom. A single year, 1949, sees the completions of Marcel Breuer’s prototype house in MoMA’s garden, the Eames house and studio in Pacific Palisades, California, and Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.
Editor’s note: Explore more coverage of design through the decades here.
1941 – The December issue of Interior Design and Decoration spotlights a Joseph Mullen residence.
1943 – Before marrying Hans Knoll, Florence “Shu” Schust introduces her first furniture designs, for Knoll.
1944 – Bruno Mathsson’s father’s company, Karl Mathsson, unveils this lounge chair.
1946 – Charles and Ray Eames design the LCM chair, picked up by Herman Miller three years later; Ward Bennett and Ben Baldwin of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill design Cincinnati’s Terrace Plaza Hotel.
1947 – Alvar Aalto begins building the Massachusetts Institute of Technology dormitory shown in this floor plan.
1948 – Luis Barragán moves into this house in Mexico City, as Knoll launches Eero Saarinen’s Womb chair.
1949 – George Nelson & Associates’s model room appears in “An Exhibition for Modern Living” at the Detroit Institute of Art.
The 1930s: Celebrating 90 Years of Design
Check out the leading design projects, products, and people from the 1930s as Interior Design celebrates its 90th anniversary.
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