Department Stores no longer act as Taste Makers
In the postwar years, department stores took on an important mission of educating the public in matters of taste in design. I am thinking of Bloomingdales in NY and Takashimaya in Tokyo, just to mention two design planets, where one could view the latest and most dazzling directions in furniture design during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, even though their main initiatives were commercial. At Bloomingdales, it was Barbara D’Arcy White, who died last year, that with model rooms at the furniture department of flagship store, shaped its image as a pioneer, stylish, and sophisticated home decorating center. From 1958 until 1973 she designed hundreds of model rooms, which came to inspire not only generations of consumers interested in ‘designed’ living, but also interior decorators. Her two most memorable rooms are the all-cardboard room she created with the furniture Frank Gehry designed for Easy Edges, Inc, and the Cave Room with furniture built into the urethane foam wall.