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 Connect the Dots:  Design Style in Context

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Susan Slotkis - Interior Designer, Professional Speaker, Industry Expert, Author & Educator
Dallas Design Center Speaker 
Susan Slotkis


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If you teach interior design you may qualify to receive a complimentary desk review copy of  
Foundations of  Interior Design, 2nd ed.  
Consult Bloomsbury's website for more info. 
I hope you had a wonderful summer and are enjoying the new season.  Moving forward from my recent articles on decorative arts of the 17th - 19th centuries,  I turn to the 20th c. "between the wars"  to feature the
Women of the International Style
  Hope you enjoy.

The International Style is a term given to the growing modernist movement between WW1 and WW2. It includes the Bauhaus, a school of art and design founded in 1919 in Germany by Walter Gropius. Functional design, in which art was combined with engineering, new materials, and craft was its aim. 
Contributions to the modern movement and its influence on the built environment included the work of several women some of whom were affiliated with the Bauhaus.  All had much in common: coming from educated, well to do European families; strong social and political ideologies; and an insistence on form and function. Interestingly, they all enjoyed very long, productive lives.
Eileen Gray, architect, furniture designer, and interior designer was born in Ireland and immigrated to Paris to continue her studies in the arts. This included studies under an expert Japanese lacquerer. Later she exhibited her lacquered furniture, screens, and objects which catapulted her career, including commissions for interior design. One of her iconic furniture pieces in glass and chrome (featured here) has remained a staple side table in contemporary interiors. Her Bibendum chair in leather and chrome was inspired by rubber tiles by Michelin.

Charlotte Pierrand born in Paris was an architect and furniture designer whose work aimed to create functional living spaces believing that better design helps to create a better society. Now classics, several chairs were designed in collaboration with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeannert. The chaise longue featured the new material, tubular chrome.  She spent several years living in Tokyo at the Imperial Hotel built by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was in Japan that she recreated several of these chairs into wood and bamboo, indigenous materials crafted by local Japanese artisans  below).

Marianne Brandt
is one of few women of the Bauhaus to make her reputation in design fields outside the territories associated with women such as textiles, weaving, and pottery. Her metal ware tea services from the 1920s have become widely known, with a number of them produced under license by the Italian firm Alessi. After leaving the Bauhaus in 1929, Brandt worked at the studio of Walter Gropius in Berlin designing furniture for mass production and modular furniture while also working as an interior designer. Brandt was also a pioneering photographer.

Grete (Margaret) Schutte-Lihotzky,
born in Vienna, focused her lifelong work as an architect of affordable design through efficient planning. Along with architect Ernst May she created the Frankfurt Kitchen, a standardized, efficiency kitchen, referred to as a galley kitchen, installed in 10,000 public housing units. The units incorporated an understanding of ergonomic principles based on the study of human movements during food preparation. The units were also designed to incorporate prefabricated fixtures and cabinets. In 2010 the prototype was installed for an exhibit at MOMA (right).
Frankfurt Kitchen

Eva Zeisel, ceramicist and industrial designer, was born in Budapest where she studied pottery-making. She then moved to Germany where she acquired skills in all phases of industrial production. Shortly after moving to NYC in 1938 she created the department of ceramic arts and industrial design at Pratt Institute where she taught for many years. She remained active throughout her long life (104 years) designing for companies such as Crate&Barrel pictured here.
Zeisel Crate&Barrel

For more images of the International Style and other periods visit my 
Upcoming Seminars in Manhattan
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   4 all-day sessions
   lectures, field trips & speakers  
   Fri. & Sat. 10/10-11 & 10/17-18
   10 am - 5pm 
Woolworth Bldg. near City Hall & field trips  
Upcoming Seminar in Baltimore
Design Directions & Trends 
Convention Center 
 October 30:  9:30 - 10:30 am
Susan J. Slotkis 
Profiles - Personalized Interiors
Until the next time...