American Furniture and Design
“The real questions are: Does it solve a problem? Is it serviceable? How is it going to look in ten years?” —Charles Eames
Refined, utilitarian, and far less ornamental than their European counterparts, American designs and their ethos trace back to the Puritan values of the Colonial era. During the 18th century, the American Chippendale style presented a simplified take on the British Baroque and French Rococo aesthetics with its elegantly-carved mahogany furniture. In the 1920s and ‘30s, designers of the American Studio Craft Movement such as Sam Maloof and George Nakashima continued the tradition of hand-crafted furniture, looking to these historic methods of construction for inspiration. The advent of Modernism in the mid-20th century ushered in some of the biggest names in American design—Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, George Nelson, and Florence Knoll among them—while capitalizing on wartime innovations in materials and manufacturing. In the 1960s, Wendell Castle produced items that blurred the line between art and furniture, a legacy that is continued by the Texas-born Haas Brothers today.