Before stores like Design Within Reach, IKEA, Crate & Barrel, and Habitat brought design to the masses, there was the Design Research store in Cambridge. In it you could buy anything from design objects by Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen to eclectic folk materials and textiles from around the world (including Marimekko).
The founder of the store, Ben Thompson, wanted people/consumers to think about how to use and experience the spaces they lived in. His goal was to create a store that would help customers get ideas about how to put things together in their home and develop a modern style. Mission accomplished.
There are a few great options out there for children’s furniture, within a sea of overly cutesy yuckiness. MoMA’s new exhibition, “Century of the Child”, displays some of the best, but if you are looking for a more intimate view of tasty mini furniture, check out Mondo Cane’s collaboration with Partners and Spade, “Kids Chairs!” The show features over 50 examples of the form from the years 1890-1990 and will be on view at Partners and Spade May 17th-June 10th. The big opening is tonight, May 17th, from 6-9 p.m. so stop on by!
In 1949 the Detroit Institute of Arts put on an Exhibition for Modern Living. The show was curated by Alexander Girard, and its goal was to put good design on display for the masses. It featured custom room installations by the likes of modern masters including Alvar Aalto, Florence Knoll, George Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames, in addition to countless others … lucky for all of us more than 60 years later, the exhibition catalogue is equally beautiful with the most incredible illustrations by Saul Steinberg!