Design Lesson

The Erector Set

It is known as the toy that saved Christmas. Magician and recent Yale graduate Alfred Carlton Gilbert was commuting to New York to sell his magic kits when he became mesmerized by the network of steel girders erected to electrify … Continue reading

Wendell Castle’s Molar Settee

Castle is renowned both as the father of the American studio furniture movement and for his playful organic forms. He is prob-ably best known for his use and development of shaping solid, stack-laminated wood furniture and sculptures, an idea he … Continue reading

The Lunchbox

  Do you remember your first lunchbox? Our kids love and appreciate hand-me-downs but the one item we splurge on every fall is a new lunchbox. They just do not look or smell good after the school year and summer … Continue reading

The Butterfly Chair

Many of us have seen some version of the Butterfly chair over the years. The low, leather-and-iron chair is easy to move, easy to clean, and comfortable—until you try to rise out of it. Since you need to be agile … Continue reading

Noguchi’s Akari Lantern

Japanese American artist and designer Isamu Noguchi is known for having many talents: he created renowned outdoor plazas, gardens, sculptures, lighting, furniture, and interiors. It seems fitting to include some background about one of his most beloved designs in this … Continue reading

Brick by Brick: Lego’s History

The story of the beloved Lego begins in Billund, Denmark, during the early 1930s. A master carpenter named Ole Kirk Kristiansen had established his business building stepladders, ironing boards, and stools, but with the onset of the Great Depression he … Continue reading

The Artichoke Lamp

Have you ever walked into a store or restaurant and been completely turned off (pardon the pun) by the horrible lighting? Poul Henningsen was born in a small Danish town in 1894, growing up in a world lit gently by … Continue reading

Polaroid SX-70

  Today we use our phones to take the majority of our pictures. Presciently, the inventor of the Polaroid camera, Edwin Herbert Land (1909–1991), predicted in a 1970 short film he shot for his employees (you can find it online) … Continue reading

Robert Indiana’s Love

  I remember the first time I stumbled on my first LOVE. At the time I had already been living in New York City for a few months but for some reason had not passed the corner of 55th Street … Continue reading

Crayola Crayons

  There’s nothing like the smell of a brand-new box of crayons. When I was in elementary school one of my most memorable gifts was a 64-crayon Crayola box with a sharpener built into the back. My husband and I … Continue reading