History Lesson: I.M. Pei

Ieoh Ming Pei, more commonly known as I.M. Pei, was a Chinese-American architect who moved to the United States in 1935 to study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Once arriving Pei was so discouraged by the teaching style of his professors and intimidated by the skill levels of his peers that he decided to transfer to MIT and changed his major to engineering. However, not long after arriving, the dean of MIT’s architecture school noticed his eye for design and encouraged Pei to switch back to architecture.

Pei was most inspired by Swiss architect, Le Corbusier and had the opportunity to meet him when he visited MIT. Pei referred to the time Corbusier visited MIT as “the most important day in my architectural education.” Pei graduated from MIT with a bachelor’s degree in architecture.

After graduating, he joined the Harvard Graduate School of Design and befriended architects Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. In 1948, Pei was recruited by William Zeckendorf and worked for seven years before establishing his own independent design firm, I. M. Pei & Associates, in 1955 which later became Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Pei retired from full-time practice in 1990.

Check out a few of his most popular works below:

Louvre Pyramid

Pei was the first foreigner to work on the Louvre. He proposal included a central entrance to link the three museum buildings. At the center of his design was a large pyramid made of glass and steel. At the time, there was large opposition from the Louvre director and even the majority of the citizens of Paris. As a response to his, Pei placed a full-size model of pyramid in the courtyard. Almost 60,000 people visited the Louvre to see it and Pei gained enough support to go ahead with his plans. The courtyard was opened to the public in 1988 and the pyramid entrance opened a few months later. The Louvre Pyramid is considered Pei’s most famous structure.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

One project Pei considered his “most important commission” was the John F. Kennedy Library. This library was built as a memorial after the President’s assassination in 1963. Jackie Kennedy picked Pei to complete the project. Pei had to submit multiple designs and site locations before the project was moved to Columbia Point. The new design included a large glass-enclosed atrium and a circular walkway. The Library was dedicated in October 1979.

National Gallery East Building

In the 1960s, directors of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. offered Pei the commission on a new building.

Pei took to the project and his first obstacle was the unusual shape of the site. Inspiration struck Pei in 1968, when he scrawled a rough diagram of two triangles on a scrap of paper. The larger building would be the public gallery; the smaller would house offices and archives. This triangular shape became a singular vision for the architect.

Pei expected large crowds of people to visit the new building, so he planned accordingly. He designed a large lobby roofed with skylights. Individual galleries are located along the sides, which allowed visitors to return after viewing each exhibit to the main room.

The East Building was unveiled to the public in June 1978. Large crowds visited the new museum, and critics generally voiced their approval. Fellow architect Allan Greenberg called the building a “masterpiece.”

History Lesson: The Wright Way

*m. Falling Water designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935. he was born in 1867! - what an amazing mind to have timeless ideas that changed the way we look at space and live in it.

We wanted to take some time to recognize one of the greatest American architects to ever live, Frank Lloyd Wright. You might have heard of him before, but not everyone knows he was, and continues to be, one of the most important American architects.

Born in Richland, Wisconsin in 1867, and dying in 1959 at the age of 91, Wright’s fame reached its peak in the early 1920s. His Usonian homes, as well as his large public work projects, made Wright a household name.

With influences as eclectic as Beethoven and Japanese art, Wright managed to create cohesive, uniform spaces and buildings that all worked with, instead of against, the nature around them. This philosophy of architecture which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world provided the tenants for the “organic architecture” movement. Today, any building’s shape or function that mimics nature is categorized as organic.

One of Wright’s most famous residential creations is his Fallingwater house in southwestern Pennsylvania, seen above. The levels of the house juxtapose each other, creating visual interest  without disturbing the surrounding nature.

Those same juxtaposed linear levels are often seen in modern design, in everything from buildings’ exterior structure to the furniture within. You are kidding yourself if you think a building with an organic shape does not catch your eye and make you want to go inside.

Wright’s legacy continues to influence modern design. He changed both the ways we live and build.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Barnes House | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

33 Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture

Frank Gehry's major European retrospective opens at the Centre Pompidou in Paris | Architecture | Wallpaper* Magazine

Frank Lloyd Wright. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York. 1959

organic architecture whole tree architecture. Savin Couëlle www.couelle.com

1,221 Me gusta, 10 comentarios - Amazing Skyscraper (@amazingskyscraper) en Instagram: "Ferrell Residences - Iconic Architecture  Developer: Premium Land Pte Ltd (C0431)  #Singapore…"


Beautiful design at Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright

Marcel Breuer Cesca Chair – 1928

Marcel Breuer Cesca Chair – 1928

Did you know? “Marcel Breuer designed and built the chair Cesca Chair in 1928 working with the steel tubes with the intention of creating a session that would ensure both comfort and elegance. The use of tubular steel was quite widespread during those years and other designers such as Mart Stam and Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, had made extensive use.
The chair was named “Cesca” as a tribute to his daughter named Francesca.
“Michael Thonet (for another history lesson on Thonet, click here) was the first to manufacture the chair in 1928, then known as model B32, for about $24. Thonet produced the chair until World War II. In the 50’s Dino Gavina, a furniture manufacturer in Foligno, Italy, started making the chair with Breuer’s permission, under the name Cesca. In 1968, Knoll Associates, now the Knoll Group, bought the Gavino factory, which conitnures to produce the chair today. About 250,000 Cesca chairs have been sold since 1968, said David Schutte, a product manager at Knoll.


“It’s among the 10 most important chairs of the 20th century,” Said Cara McCarty, associate curator, department of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. It’s also among the 10 most common.

One of our designers, Logan Ramirez, says that she sees them all the time while thrift shopping. In fact check out this craigslist post! 
If you find a chair that needs some repairing, don’t feel intimidated, check out this video!
Here are some inspiring pictures if you’re looking to 
incorporate the Cesca Chair into your home:

History Lessson: 1188 Chair


“The 1188 Chair (1968) was Milo Baughman’s favorite chair and the one with which he chose to furnish the home of business partner and friend Thayer Coggin. Given that the Coggin family could have picked any dining chair in their company’s inventory, the 1188 is something special indeed. Baughman and Coggin met in 1953 and formed a powerful partnership that lasted for five decades. Based in North Carolina, the Thayer Coggin company is still the exclusive manufacturer of Baughman furniture to this day. The designer’s work was included in High Styles: Twentieth Century American Design at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1985. Baughman was inducted into the Furniture Design Hall of Fame in 1987. Made in U.S.A.”

“Milo Ray Baughman, Jr., born in Goodland, Kansas on October 7, 1923, was a modern furniture designer. His American designs were forward-thinking and distinctive, yet unpretentious and affordable. Contemporary furniture designers and dealers continue to copy, reinvent, and revive his work in the new and secondary decorative arts markets.

Baughman designed for a number of furniture companies starting in the mid-1940s until his death, including Mode Furniture, Glenn of California, The Inco Company, Pacific Iron, Murray Furniture of Winchendon, Arch Gordon, Design Institute America, George Kovacs, Directional, Henredon and Drexel, among others. He is most famous, however, for his longtime association with Thayer Coggin Inc., of High Point, NC, which began in 1953 and lasted until his death in 2003.
He also lectured broadly on the state of modern design, extolling the positive benefits of good design on the lives of human beings, and helping to define and shape the discussion for years to come.”

History Lesson: Serge Mouille Lamp


Serge Mouille (1922 – 1988) was a French industrial designer and goldsmith. He is best known for his light fixture designs.


“Serge Mouille made each of his lamps by hand and never used machine technology to maximize production numbers.”


“A Serge Mouille lamp is as much a work of art as it is a source of illumination.”


“Serge Mouille designed his angular, insect-like lights as “a reaction to the Italian models that were beginning to invade the market in 1950,” which he criticized for being “too complicated.” His large-scale Three-Arm Floor Lamp (1952) has a kinetic, sculptural aesthetic that evokes a sense of movement in space. All of the arms can be rotated in various directions, allowing for ample, well-directed lighting for any task. Mouille designed the Three-Arm Lamp for a client whose instructions were simply, “I want a big light because I have clients in South America who have huge rooms.” All of his lighting solutions feature Mouille’s hallmark signatures as a designer: the way the arms are joined to the diffusers, the washer and six-sided screw hardware, the form of the reflectors, and the refined lines of the steel tubing. All of his products are made in France.”

Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi’s Home

The Philosophy of Serge Mouille

“Pragmatic art or the creation of an artistic representation that also has a necessary function is at the heart of what Serge Mouille and the company that carries his name have achieved over time with some of the most iconic lamps available today.  Until you need to choose one for a particular space, a lamp is often an overlooked accessory in a room.  However, walk into a room with a poorly chosen lamp and it is noticed immediately.  Or, walk into a room with just the right lamp and it goes from an accessory to part of the furniture that creates the perfect ambiance and feeling in a space.”

modern design lighting

“The lamps from Serge Moulle are certainly a furnishing and not a mere accessory.  Each lamp is simple at first glance, but as with most artistic renderings, a closer examination shows that there is a complexity that is easy to overlook.  A Serge Moulle lamp has versatility and grace whether examining metal lighting fixtures, wall sconces, or another design.  Some lamps can be adjusted to allow one part of even a small room to sit in the shadows, while that same lamp can be used, with a relatively minor and certainly simple adjustment can illuminate every nook and cranny.


It should not be the purpose of the lighting in a room to be the focal point of attention.  A great lamp can be simplistic in design, yet that same design can have an artistic bent, and serve its own in different ways.  It is not the fault of Serge Mouille or his company that his lamps and lights are dramatic in their usefulness while being so sleek in the design that they cannot escape your guests’ attention.”


“Serge Mouille offers modern design lighting, modern lighting, mid-century modern lamps, modern light fixtures and more.  There is a wide selection of lighting, lighting fixtures, and sconce lamps that fit every décor, every style, and every space.”

History Lesson: Eames Lounger & Ottoman

Eames Lounger & Ottoman from Design Within Reach
“Charles and Ray Eames made the lounge chair and ottoman as a gift for their friend Billy Wilder, the director of “Some Like It Hot” and “Sunset Blvd.” When we began manufacturing the set in 1956, we maintained as much of the hand-craftsmanship as was possible with mass production. Throughout the Eames/Nelson era, we came closer than anyone else to incorporating craft ideals into the mass production of furniture.”

 Here is more information from the Herman Miller Company regarding production of the chair:

“But over the years, some efforts to improve the quality of the pieces came at the expense of craft. We chose a contract-grade leather that wore better and faded less than the original aniline leather, and in doing so we surrendered some of the soft hand of the original leather. We discontinued oiled wood finishes in the 1980s in favor of the more efficient and easily maintained lacquer.

Now we are restoring the balance—and letting you make the choice. The new MCL Leather provides much of the softness and “sink-into-it-iveness” of the original, along with durability and color-fastness. The oiled finishes, while requiring periodic maintenance, produce the rich, lustrous look of the original veneers.

These pieces have evolved over the years– from handmade for a friend, to made on a production line with handcrafting details, to alterations meant to ensure consistency and durability, to reviving some of the original craft qualities while maintaining durability.”

More photos of the Eames Lounger:

History Lesson: French Bergere Chairs

“Other than baguettes, berets, and Brigitte Bardot, few things are more classically French than bergères. Popularized in Louis XV–era salons, these cushy armchairs survived the revolution, adapting easily to the changing fashions of the Directoire and Empire periods. Today they remain as in vogue as ever. And for good reason—with their plush upholstery and regal frames, bergères blend comfort and style seamlessly.

For laymen, what sets them apart from other stately seats are their characteristic closed arms, loose seat cushions, and exposed-wood frames. “They really are masterpieces,” says Bruno de Caumont, an interior decorator and furniture designer. Having learned about bergères from the chief upholsterer at Versailles, Caumont is well versed in the different styles. A bergère en gondole has an arched back and sides upholstered as a single panel, while the bergère confessionale features a high back and low arms.

“Bergères were really designed for palaces,” notes interior architect Beata Galdi. Still, she finds their elegant form fits into even the most contemporary rooms, whether grouped in a formal seating area or standing alone in a bedroom. “Excellent design is timeless,” Galdi says.

History Lesson: Louis Ghost Chair

Louis Ghost Chair

“Who else but Philippe Starck would dare mess with a king? Reinventing the classic Louis XVI armchair for Kartell, the playful Louis Ghost Armchair (2002) is a postmodern triumph of technical innovation and historical style. Translating the varied lines and formal geometry of its predecessor into a single form of translucent injection-molded polycarbonate, the Louis Ghost is a robust chair with a medallion backrest for leisurely comfort. When interviewed about the collection by the Dallas Morning News, Starck commented that it “has a mix of materials and styles based on our shared memories. We all own this piece in a way. The chair is well balanced; I try to be balanced myself.” Suitable for indoor and outdoor use in residential and commercial settings. Stacks six high. Made in Italy.”

“The ghost chair brings subtle elegance to any space and is versatile enough for any room in a home or office. It is quickly becoming a popular chair offered by rental firms for large events such as weddings for its indoor/outdoor use, comfort, and durability.”

Photo Source

Single piece injection-molded transparent polycarbonate. 

View Video!

History Lesson: Wishbone Chair

Wishbone Chair

 “The Wishbone Chair is perhaps Wegner’s most celebrated work. A light, attractive and comfortable dining chair with the characteristic Y-shaped back. The chair is a triumph of craftsmanship with a simple design and clean lines. Despite the chair’s straightforward appearance it takes more than 100 steps to make one. Amongst other things, the hand-woven seat consists of more than 120 meters of paper cord. Hans J. Wegner designed the Wishbone chair for Carl Hansen & Søn in 1949 and it has been in continuous production since 1950″

Watch the making of the wishbone chair:

Click here to watch video.

Here are a few pictures with the wishbone chair being utilized:

History Lesson: Emeco Navy Chair

Emeco Navy Chair

The Original 1006 Navy Chair

    During World War 2, the U.S. government gave Wilton Carlyle Dinges, the founder of Emeco (the Electrical Machine and Equipment Company) a difficult task: make a chair that can withstand water, salt air, and sailors. The U.S. government wanted the chair to be light-weight and strong, and they wanted it to last a lifetime. Dinges threw the chair out of a sixth-floor window during a furniture show in Chicago, and other than a few scratches, the chair was fine.

   The Emeco Navy 1006 (“ten oh six”) Chair became popular among modernist designers and architects, and the design was copied world-wide.

Emeco works with Coca-Cola: 111 Chair AKA “Coke Chair

   Emeco still makes its classic chair, but now it uses recycled Coke bottles. Their mantra is to “make recycling obsolete” by making chairs that last for forever. If their Coke chairs are anything like their old chairs (which are made to last 150 years), they may just achieve their goal.

 Designers love both the 111 chair and the 1006 chair, check out how designers have used the chairs in various spaces: 
The Emeco chair combined with the use of the Eames® Molded Plastic Dowel-Leg Side Chair
A white Emeco Chair with the Tulip Table (a previous history lesson)

I love the rustic spin on these, the black matte finish really compliments the space.