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HAPPENINGText: Alma Reyes

The other room exhibiting a home interior consists of Nelson Thin Edge Bed (1954) by one of America’s most distinguished industrial designers, George Nelson, lead designer of the Herman Miller furniture company. Nelson uses a rosewood bed frame with parts set at angles. The bed depicts a slim profile and expert woodcraft technique.

Nelson Thin Edge Bed, 1954, George Nelson, Photo: Alma Reyes

Many of the designs we see today emerged in the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution when production methods based on traditional handcrafts were replaced by machinery. Michael Thonet’s famous Thonet bentwood chair was conceived as early as 1859. Thonet modernized the Viennese chair by utilizing a technique for bending steam-heated beech rods on metal molds. The simple design was epoch-making for marketing mass-produced furniture.

214 (No.14), Michael Thonet, Photo: Alma Reyes

By the early 20th century, art and design had become inseparable. The principles of William Morris’s Arts and Crafts Movement towards decoration impregnated in design had pervaded throughout Europe. The Vienna Workshop, established in 1903 by Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann and Fritz Waerndorfer was a vital movement that embodied architecture, furniture, tableware, textiles, and fashion into a “whole” design.

Series “B” (Wine Glass, Wine Decanter, Liqueur Tumbler, Water Tumbler, Beer Tumbler, Champagne Cup), Josef Hoffmann, Design: 1914, Photo: Alma Reyes

The Series “B” (Wine Glass, Wine Decanter, Liqueur Tumbler, Water Tumbler, Beer Tumbler, Champagne Cup, 1914) by Hoffmann captures this philosophy with geometric patterns in striped black and white, harmonizing perfectly with the clean texture of the glass. Coinciding in this era was the Bauhaus movement, founded in 1919, which produced the greatest leaders in architecture, furniture and design. One of the members, Marcel Breuer is best remembered for the Wassily Chair, commonly called Breuer chair, and the S 32 V (1929) or Cantilever chair that introduced tubular steel in Modernism. The woven rattan seat and back, set within wooden frames, contrasts with the elegant curves of one continuous line of tube.

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