creators

A moment to appreciate the architects, designers and engineers.

Achille Castiglioni

Designer

Achilles Castiglioni was born in Milan, Italy in 1918. As early as 1940 he dedicated himself to testing industrial production with brothers Livio (1911-1979) and Pier Giacomo (1913-1968). After graduating in architecture in 1944, he began research into shapes, techniques and new materials, aimed at developing an integral design process. In 1969, he was authorised by the Ministry of Education to teach ``Artistic Design for Industry`` and was a professor at Turin´s Faculty of Architecture until 1980 and then professor of ``Industrial Design `` in Milan until 1993.

Aino Aalto

Architect & Designer

Aino Aalto (1894-1949) was a pioneer of Finnish design. Born in Helsinki, Finland, she received her architecture degree in 1920 from Helsinki Polytechnic. In 1924, Aino joined famed Finnish architect Alvar Aalto’s firm. Aino soon married Alvar, creating a lifelong partnership that built an international design legacy. The couple worked closely until Aino’s death.

Aino is also known for her own individual contributions which helped bring modern Finnish design to the international arena. Her architectural exhibitions for Artek received the Gran Prix at the 1936 Milan Triennial. Aino also won the gold medal at the same competition for her “Aalto Glasses” which were inspired by the circles created by throwing rocks in the water.

Alvar Aalto

Architect

Born in Finland as Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto, Alvar Aalto was primarily an architect in his early career, said to execute his designs with a traditionalNordic Classicism. Aalto is classed as one of the most influential architects of the Scandinavian Modernist Movement. Although Aalto studied at the Helsinki University of Technology, he also worked under Eliel Saarinen. During 1930's Aalto started designing and making singular pieces of furniture for his architectural projects such as Paimio Sanatorium. This extension into furniture and lighting was also aided by the newfound friendship of Aino (Aalto) who later became his first wife until her death. At the beginning of this extension, the most notable of designs was the Paimio Chair - made for Tuberculosis sufferers. Together in 1935, Alvar and Aino Aalto set up the company Artek to sell Aalto products to international markets.

Antonio Citterio

Architect

Antonio Citterio was born in Meda, Italy in 1950 and graduated in architecture at the Politecnico of Milan. From 1972 he worked in the field of industrial design as a designer and consultant. He works with many manufacturers and in 1987 he won the Golden Compass Award for the 'Mobil' system and in 1995 for the 'Battista' folding table for Kartell.

Armi Ratia

Designer

Armi Ratia (1912-1979) was born in Pälkjärvi in Karelia - now part of Russia. Her father owned a small grocery store and her mother worked as a grade school teacher. She studied in Helsinki and graduated as a textile designer in 1935. That same year, she got married to Viljo Ratia.

In 1949, Armi took the first steps to creating Marimekko. She joined Printex, her husband's oilcloth and print fabric company, and she started buying exceptionally colourful and bold patterns for the company. Marimekko was founded two years later, when Armi and Viljo began making clothes from Printex's unique fabrics.

Arne Jacobsen

Architect

Arne Jacobsen was born in Denmark in 1902. His mother was a bank teller with a hobby in painting floral motifs. Jacobsen wanted to pursuit a career in art but his father persuaded him to peruse a more secure career in architecture. As a student at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Jacobsen travelled to Paris to participate in the Art Deco fair of which he won a Silver Medal for his chair designs. While in Paris he found a fondness to the aesthetic of Le Corbusier then on a trip to Germany came across the works of Miles Van Der Rohe and Walter Gropius. It was through these influences that Jacobsen's graduate piece won him a Gold medal. In 1941 as the darkness of World War II struck Europe, the Nazi race regime on Jewish Danes being sent to concentration camps meant Arne Jacobsen had to flee Denmark. Rowing a small boat, Jaconsen made it to Sweden where he would stay for two years.

Charles and Ray Eames

Architects

Charles studied architecture briefly at Washington University but left after two years. However, in 1930 Charles started up his own architectural practice along with two other partners. Around the same time, Ray was studying at Bennetts Women's College in New York. After graduation in 1933 she studied abstract expressionism under Hanz Hofmann becoming the founder of American Abstract Artists Group 1936 with pieces becoming permanent placements at Riverside Museum, Manhatten. In 1938 Charles had been invited by Eliel Saarinen's eldest to move to Michigan, Eliel Saarinen was a great influence for Charles Eames and so Charles, his wife Catherine Woermann and Daughter moved to study architecture at Cranbrook Academy of Arts. Charles soon became a teacher and head of industrial design within the school.

Eero Aarnio

Interior Designer

The Finnish designer Eero Aarnio (b.1932) is one of the great innovators of modern furniture design. In the 1960s, Eero Aarnio began experimenting with plastics, vivid colours and organic forms, breaking away from traditional design conventions. His now iconic plastic creations include the Ball (1963), the Pastil (1968), and the Bubble (1968) chairs which echo the pop culture and spirit of their time. Many of Aarnio’s works are included in the world’s most prestigious museums.

They are objects that stimulate the imagination and challenge seriousness and stiffness. Aside from sound ergonomic design Eero Aarnio follows very few rules when creating his furniture. “A chair must be comfortable for sitting and after that everything is free.”

Eero Saarineen

Architect, Sculptor and Industrial Designer

Eero Saarinen was a Finnish-American architect, sculptor and industrial designer. His father was famous architect and Cranbrook Academy of Arts Director Eliel Saarinen, while his mother was textile artist Loja Saarinen. In 1929 Saarinen studied sculpture in Paris which would define how he worked for the rest of his life. It was at Cranbrook he met Charles Eames. Together they where thrown into the forefront of design after winning first prize - in all categories - with their moulded plywood chairs in the MoMA sponsored 1940 Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition. Saarinen also befriended Florence Knoll, who attended Cranbrook. Knoll was a promising protege of Eliel Saarinen, and as such she spent a lot of time with the family including vacations to Finland. Knoll and Eero Saarinen where said to have a sibling like bond and when Florence joined Knoll in 1940 Eero was invited to design for the company.

Finn Juhl

Architect

Juhl never studied to become a furniture designer, the first furniture he designed were for his own use and not designed for a mass production.

The Pelikan Chair designed in 1939, was exhibited during the Guild Exhibitions, a yearly Cabinetmaker’s Exhibition and highly criticised because of its organic form far from the Danish furniture tradition of functional objects. However, despite the numerous criticisms Finn Juhl 's works started to be appreciated abroad throughout the 1940s for the virtuous, radical and organic design clearly inspired by contemporary artists and by natural forms; like the aforementioned Pelikan Chair and the Chieftain Chair.

Florence Knoll

Architect & Furniture Designer

Florence Marguerite Knoll Bassett (née Schust; born May 24, 1917) is an American architect and furniture designer who studied under Miesvan deer Rohe and Eliel Saarinen.

While at Kingswood, Florence befriended Eilel Saarinen, whom she would later study under at Cranbrook. The connections she made and the skills she developed while at Cranbrook were the foundations of Florence Schust’s incredible design education and pioneering career. With recommendations from Eliel Saarinen and Alvar Aalto, Florence went on to study under some of the greatest 20th century architects, including Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

In 1941 Florence moved to New York where she met Hans Knoll who was establishing his furniture company. With Florence’s design skills and Hans’ business acumen and salesmanship, the pair, who married in 1946, grew the nascent company into an international arbiter of style and design.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Architect

Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an American architect interior designer, writer, and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures. Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic structure. This philosophy was best exemplified by Fallingwater (1935), which has been called ``the best all-time work of American architecture``.Wright was a leader of the Prairie School movement of architecture and developed the concept of the Usonian home in Broadacre City, his unique vision for urban planning in the United States. Perhaps uniquely among the great architects, Wright pursued an architecture for everyman rather than every man for one architecture through the careful use of standardisation to achieve accessible tailoring options to for his clients.

Gio Ponti

Architect, Designer and Essayist

Giovanni ``Gio`` Ponti, Milan, Italy, was one of the Italian masters of architecture, designer and essayist. This is demonstrated in his three Milanese houses which were fully furnished in the ``Ponti`` style.

From 1923 to 1930 Ponti worked at the Manifattura Ceramica in Milan, changing the company's whole output. His industrial design work includes: a line of furnishings for the Rinascente department stores, under the name Domus Nova ceramic objects production: maiolica vases, porcelain, sanitary ware (like sinks and toilets) chairs: among others, he worked for Cassina designing an angular armchair, named ``Distex``, and the very famous 1957 ``Superleggera`` a wonderfully elegant chair that has left its mark on the world of furniture design.

Hans G Knoll

Designer

Hans G. Knoll (1914–1955) was a German American who, together with his wife, Florence Knoll founded Knoll the well-known design company and furniture manufacturer.

German-born Hans Knoll was a member of a prominent furniture-making family. His father Walter C. Knoll was one of the pioneer makers of modern furniture in pre-Hitler Germany.

Knoll went first to England where he opened his own interior design company, Plan Ltd. His stay in England was brief and in 1937 he came to New York. With his background in the production of furniture and his zeal for good design, he was ready in 1938 to form the Hans G. Knoll Furniture Company in small space on East 72nd Street.

Hans Wegner

Designer

Hans Wegner (1914 - 2007) is one of a handful of designers who helped to define modern Danish design. In a career spanning more than seven decades, Wegner worked quietly and consistently on a remarkable range of designs that were to transform the domestic aesthetic and become coveted classics.

Born in 1914 in Tønder, the son of a shoemaker, he was apprenticed to a carpenter at the age of 17 before studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He studied there from 1936-1938, before taking further studies as an architect.

In 1940 Wegner initiated a joint project with Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller in Aarhus, which involved fitting out Aarhus' town hall.

Harry Bertoia

Sound Art Sculptor & Modern Furniture Designer

Arri ``Harry`` Bertoia was born on March 10, 1915, in the small village of San Lorenzo, Friuli, Italy. In 1930 at 15 years old Harry chose to move to Detroit in America where his brother Oreste was already established.

In 1936, a one-year scholarship to the School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts allowed him to study painting and drawing. His fate was cast when in 1950 Harry was invited to move to Pennsylvania to work with Hans and Florence Knoll (Florence was also a Cranbrook Graduate). During this period he designed five wire chair pieces that became known as the Bertoia Collection for Knoll. Among these was the famous diamond chair a fluid, sculptural form made from a welded lattice work of steel.

Hella Jongerius

Industrial Designer

Jongerius sees her work as part of a never-ending process, and the same is essentially true of all her designs: they possess the power of the final stage, while also communicating that they are part of something greater, with both a past and an uncertain future.

In 1993 she founded the Jongeriuslab studio, where independent projects are developed as well as work for major clients, including the upholstery fabric company Maharam, the interior design of the Delegates’ Lounge of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, cabin interiors for the airline KLM. Since 2012, Jongerius has served as Art Director for the rug company Danskina and since 2007 as Art Director of colours and materials for Vitra.

Jasper Morrison

Product & Furniture Designer

Jasper Morrison is an English born Product & Furniture Designer. He received a Bachelor of Design degree from Kingston Polytechnic Design School in 1982 and a Master's degree in Design from theRoyal College of Art, London, in 1985. He also studied at the Berlin University of the Arts. He is known as one of the most successful industrial designers in recent times. Along side Naoto Fukasawa, the pair defined the term 'super normal', which Morrison believes answers the question of what 'good design' is. Morrison has a design language which is said to be creating good examples of design which are useful, understood and responsible. Morrison has a wide range of products from home to office to public spaces with collections present in New Yorks Museum of Modern Art and other prestigious museums around the world.

Jean Prouve

Metal worker, Architect and Design

Jean Prouvé (8 April 1901 – 23 March 1984) was a French metal worker, self-taught architect and design. He is also designated as ``constructor``. His main achievement was transferring manufacturing technology from industry to architecture, without losing aesthetic qualities. His design skills were not limited to one discipline. During his career Prouvé was involved in architectural design, industrial design and furniture design.

Jean Prouvé completed his training as a metal artisan before opening his own workshop in Nancy in 1924. In the following years he created numerous furniture designs, and in 1947 Prouvé established his own factory. Due to disagreements with the majority shareholders, he left the company in 1953.

Joe Cesare Colombo

Industrial Designer

Cesare Colombo (better known as Joe) was born in Milan in 1930. He attended the Brera Academy and Milan Polytechnic School of Architecture. He worked in number of jobs before opening his own design studio in 1963. A tall inveterate pipe smoker, he was never a slave to idealogical bounds but embodied many of the utopian values of the 60s.

From his studio Colombo worked primarily on architectural commissions - including ski lodges and mountain hotels - as well as product design. His furniture designs were characterised by optimistically bold and round forms. He was remarkably prolific during his single decade as a designer some of his most notable projects include the 1963 Elder Armchair and 1970 Bobby trolley.

Le Corbusier

Architect

After designing his first house, in 1907, at age 20, Le Corbusier took trips through central Europe. His travels included apprenticeships with various architects, most significantly with structural rationalist Auguste Perret, a pioneer of reinforced concrete construction, and later with renowned architect Peter Behrens, with whom Le Corbusier worked from October 1910 to March 1911, near Berlin.

In the 1930s, Le Corbusier reformulated his theories on urbanism, publishing them in La Ville Radieuse (The Radiant City) in 1935. The most apparent distinction between the Contemporary City and the Radiant City is that the latter abandoned the class-based system of the former, with housing now assigned according to family size, not economic position.

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

Architect

Born in Germany in 1886, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe broke new ground with his architectural designs. He started out as a draftsman before striking out later on his own. During World War I, Mies served in the German military. He then became a well-known architect in Germany, creating such structures as the German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona Exposition. In the late 1930s.

Mies emigrated to the United States. There he created such well-known Modernist works as the Lake Shore Drive Apartments and the Seagram Building. He died in 1969.

Philippe Starck

Designer

Philippe Starck (French, born 1949) is one of the world's most recognised product designers with a prolific portfolio of designs to his name covering everything from citrus juicers to lighting, chairs to mirrors. His gift is to turn the object of his commission into an object of charm, pleasure and encounter. With his expertise still in huge demand he continues to work with leading brands Kartell, Alessi, Vitra and Flos amongst many others.

Poul Henningsen

Author, Critic, Architect, and Designer

Poul Henningsen was born in Copenhagen in 1894 to the famous Danish actress Agnes Henningsen. He never graduated as an architect, but studied at both the Technical School at Frederiksberg, Denmark and then at the Technical College in Copenhagen from 1914-17.

He started practicing traditional functionalistic architecture, but over the years his professional interests changed to focus mainly on lighting which is what he is most famous for. He also expanded his field of occupation into areas of writing, becoming a journalist and an author. For a short period at the beginning of WWII, he was the head architect of the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.

Sori Yanagi

Product Designer

Sori Yanagi, born in 1915 in Tokyo, attended art school in the city and worked from 1940 to 1942 in the office of the designer Charlotte Perriand.

In 1952, he founded the Yanagi Industrial Design Institute, which created a prolific number of articles of daily use and furnishings. Sori Yanagi’s organic forms combine western industrial designs with Japan’s native artisanal traditions. This successful synthesis made Sori Yanagi one of the most significant Japanese designers of the post-war era. In addition to furniture, he also designed lighting, glass objects, cutlery, children’s toys, metro stations, cars and motorcycles.

Tapio Wirkkala

Designer

Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) was a multitalented design genius, widely considered a leading figure of modern Finnish industrial art. Wirkkala's wide ranging portfolio spans from glass, furniture and product design to sculpture, city planning, art, graphics and even creating banknotes for the Finnish treasury. As his reputation grew internationally, Wirkala exhibited throughout the world but he was a recluse by nature. His favourite place was a spot so remote within the deep woodlands of middle Finland and it was in nature that he found his much loved solitude and the inspiration for forms that industry could produce or artwork could create. Throughout his incredibly productive career, Wirkkala received numerous awards including three gold medals at the Milan Triennale, the Lunning Prize, Pro Finlandia Medal and the Prince Eugen Medal.

Tom DeVesto

Audio Designer

Tom DeVesto, Founded Tivoli Audio, Llc. in 2000 and serves as its Chairman and Design consultant. Mr. DeVesto is a respected and established leader in the audio industry, with the goal of bringing simple to use, high-quality audio products to the consumer at reasonable prices. His thirty-year career he was responsible for the Development of many of today's best-selling hi-fi and multi-media products.

“It has always been my mission and passion to bring to market the highest quality consumer electronics products that reflect what consumers are looking for in outstanding design and sound quality.

Vico Magistretti

Industrial Designer

Magistretti was born in 1920 in the City of Milan, Italy. He graduated as an architect in 1945 and pursued a career chiefly in the fields of architecture, town planning and industrial design. His work was first recognised in 1948 when he won the coveted Gran Premio award. After that came forty years of activity with other prizes and awards. Throughout the course of his career, Magistretti held prestigious professorships at the Royal College of Arts in London and the Domus Academy in Milan.

Furniture, lamps and other objects that he designed may be found all over the world at important design museums which have given exhibitions in his honour and kept examples of his work in their permanent collections.

Vilhelm Lauritzen

Architect

Vilhelm Lauritzen (9 September 1894 – 22 December 1984) was a leading Danish modern architect, founder of the still active architectural firm Vilhelm Lauritzen Arkitekter. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, graduating in 1921. The following year he founded his own firm, Vilhelm Lauritzen Arkitekter, and remained active in the firm until 1969. He received the Academy's Gold Medal in 1926 throughout the 1920s he created a number of monumental designs in a classicist style.Towards the end of the decade he travelled in Central Europe and became acquainted with the latest trends in Functionalist architecture with its technical and structural innovations. This inspired him to create buildings reflecting grounded and restrained Modernism and it was with such buildings that he had his breakthrough.

Walter Gropius

Architect

Walter Adolph Gropius was a German American architect and educator who, particularly as director of the Bauhaus (1919–28), exerted a major influence on the development of modern architecture. Gropius who, along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modernist architecture. His works, many executed in collaboration with other architects, included the school building and faculty housing at the Bauhaus (1925–26), the Harvard University Graduate Centre and the United States Embassy in Athens.

Beginning in 1903 Gropius followed in his architect father’s footsteps. After a year of travel in Europe, Gropius joined the architectural firm of Peter Behrens in 1908.