Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes
Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes
Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes
Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes
Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes
Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes
Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes
Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes

Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes

Pentagram Design, San Francisco, California, 2010

Description

Project brief: Established in 1953, Design Research was the first influential modernist mini-chain that mixed design objects from Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen with eclectic folk materials and textiles from around the world and helped introduce the modern “lifestyle” to postwar Americans and their homes. Jane Thompson, the wife of store founder Ben Thompson, came to the designers and asked them to help tell the remarkable Design Research story. The result was Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes.

Approach: When Jane Thompson first approached the design team, she brought several scrapbooks of Design Research (DR) ephemera. The writers and designers worked through boxes and binders of artifacts, photographs, documents and other materials in Thompson’s archive. Many members of the team had a personal connection to the store, making the project a labor of love.

This personal approach extends to the book, which is organized as a lively oral history assembled from reminiscences by Jane Thompson and DR staff, friends and collaborators from around the world, with excerpts from Ben Thompson’s memoirs. The book features personal photographs, period advertisements and catalogue pages, and includes special sections on DR’s collaboration with Julia Child (the store helped furnish the sets of Child’s TV show The French Chef) and DR’s beloved Marimekko, the bright, bold prints and apparel imported from Finland, which became a phenomenon after Jackie Kennedy was photographed wearing a pink Marimekko dress in 1960. The cover of the book is wrapped in a Marimekko-inspired pattern that helps turn the book into an object that might have been found in the store.

Effectiveness: Jane Thompson was thrilled with the result and the book has won the admiration of the design community for capturing the iconic history of Design Research.

Juror Notes

A delightfully organized history that keeps the aesthetic of the store contemporary without becoming nostalgic. A book all designers should have!

Collections: 50 Books/50 Covers of 2010
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book, Book cover
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