Contract asks eight designers to name and explain their preferred commercial interior products from the past five decades.
Michael Graves, FAIA
Founder & Principal, Michael Graves & Associates
1. Akari Bamboo Lamp BB2/K1 (upper left)
1951, designed by Isamu Noguchi
This lamp is made with an Indian silk shade, bamboo shaft, and cast-iron base in the shape of a rock. The lamp appeals to me because of its timelessness and the fact that it is intrinsically useful.
2. Snow Peak (bottom left)
Bamboo Folding Chair,1998
This folding chair reminds me of the 1940s butterfly chair, but it provides a dining height rather than lounge. It is surprisingly comfortable, and for those who want to fold it up and put it away, it accomplishes that task splendidly.
3. Renee Desk Lamp (bottom right)
by Michael Graves for Neue Galerie
I couldn’t help but include the table lamp I designed for the Neue Galerie last year, as it is a product I am quite proud of and one that I use daily.
Nestor Santa-Cruz, IIDA, LEED AP
Associate and Design Director, Gensler, Washington, D.C.
4. Taccia (top left)
1962 , designed by Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, produced by Flos
The scale of the lamp and combination of the classical column shaft with the parabolic diffuser is so incredibly chic. The way it works is a technical triumph, and once you place it in a room, it becomes a “light sculpture.”
5. PK 54 Table (top center)
1963, designed by Poul Kjaerholm, produced by Fritz Hansen
This is the most beautiful and minimal of Modern tables designed in the last 50 years. The juxtaposition of the round and the cube, the detailing of the steel, and most clever and genius solution for a cantilevered extension ring, make this table a work of art.
6. MechoShade, Solar Protection Shade System (top right)
1969, MechoShade Systems, Inc. This unique product was ahead of its time in terms of energy efficiency in modern office buildings. It works with interiors and exteriors alike; this is in addition to all the technical and energy-efficiency qualities and benefits make this product a very special one.
Principal, Perkins+Will | Eva Maddox Branded Environments
7. Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman (top left)
1956, designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller
It is a classic in any setting and wonderfully comfortable.
8. Barcelona Table (top center)
1927, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for Knoll
It’s always stunning!
9. Eileen Gray Adjustable Table E1027 (top right)
1927, designed by Eileen Gray, produced by M2L
It’s perfect, fitting, and compact for all uses.
Julia Monk, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP
Managing Partner, BBG-BBGM
10. Seura Vanishing LCD TV Mirrors (top left)
The technology is terrific; it allows us to have TVs (or not appear to have TVs) in locations limited by depth or exposure to moisture.
11. Eames Molded Plywood (top center)
Dining Chair (Potato Chip Chair)
1946, designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller
I’m glad this classic is back in production.
12. Edelman Cavallini European (top right)
Hair-On Cowhide, Chartreuse
It just makes me happy.
Paul Lewis, AIA, LEED AP
Principal, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects
13. Vola Deck Mounted z1-Hole Faucet (top center)
1961, designed by Arne Jacobsen It’s a geometrically reductive yet logical form that elicits a sense of pleasure with use.
14. Plyboo Amber Edge Grain (top left)
1996, Smith & Fong
This is a species of rapidly renewable plywood whose cross section is more intriguing than its surface. Its current ubiquity is both evidence of its success and a limit to its appeal.
15. Droog 85 Lamps chandelier (top right)
1993, designed by Rodi Graumans
The ingenious strategy is to take a generic functioning unit—a light bulb, socket, and cord—which through accumulation is transformed into a topographical glowing spectacle.
Jaime Velez, IIDA, ASID
16. Eames Molded Plywood Chair (left)
1946, designed by Charles and Ray
Eames for Herman Miller
This chair is a true reflection of the new industrialized era. Both practical and beautiful, it uses a rather mundane product, such as plywood, and delivers a sublime result.
17. The Ribbon Table by Zographos (bottom left)
1960, designed by Nicos Zographos
This table represents to me the perfect balance between incredible design and perfect execution. The way in which the stainless steel is bent is very unique. I also enjoy the timeless quality of its presence.
18. Cedric Hartman Lamp 91CO (right)
1960s, designed by Cedric Hartman
This lamp to me is the Ferrari of lighting design. Its craftsmanship is only surpassed by the beauty of its execution. The care that is taken during its production is a true reflection of the attention to detail. It is a true piece of art
Lisa Bottom, LEED AP, Associate AIA, Associate IIDA
Principal, Gensler, San Francisco
19. Aeron Chair (top left)
1994, designed by Don Chadwick & Bill Stumpf for Herman Miller
Aeron was the game changer for ergonomic seating. Every other chair before it was a variation of a marshmallow on wheels.
20. 40/4 stacking chairs (top center)
1964, designed by David Roland for GF (now Howe)
The first seating option that let you store 40 chairs in 4 sq. ft., it was way ahead of its time. And the big idea still resonates—much more utility in much less space.
21. Leaf Light (top right)
2006, designed by Yves Behar for Herman Miller
This is an LED task light that is sculptural and beautiful to the point of being—do I dare say—sensual! Not only is it incredibly responsible from the standpoint of energy efficiency, but it is also unashamedly beautiful.
Ronald Reed, FAIA
Principal, Westlake Reed Leskonsky
22. The Torso Chaise Lounge (top right)
1982, designed by Paolo Deganell for Cassina
In my opinion the most comfortable (and from a seating consideration, versatile) lounge chair of the 20th century. Sensual in form, it can be tasteful and elegant or highly provocative depending on how the designer chooses to dress it up.
23. The Tizio Lamp (bottom right)
1972, designed by Richard Sapper for Artemide
Beside being highly functional and aesthetically an instant classic, the design of the lamp was ingenious in the way power is transmitted to the bulb directly through the metal frame.
24. The Bellini Chair (left)
1998, designed by Mario Bellini for Heller
Simple, serene, and quite comfortable for an unupholstered stacking chair, this one brings high design to the masses with its consumer-friendly price point.