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August 28, 2014

What the doctor ordered?

The Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

It’s surprising to find so much clutter inside the Farnsworth House. Not actual stuff, but drama from the past and energy that’s out of whack. The unsettling circumstances during which this house was created are palpable. What’s especially heartbreaking about this feeling of turmoil is the fact that the project began as a wonderful collaboration between architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and client Dr. Edith Farnsworth, who shared a vision for creating a house – Mies’ first residential project in the U.S. – that “would become the prototype of new and important elements of American architecture,” said Farnsworth.

Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

We arrive on a spectacular August day with a sapphire blue sky and soft breeze. At the Visitor Center, we’re handed OFF! towelettes and told, “The mosquitos are extra brutal today.” I wipe on the toxic suit of armor and notice that it melts the polish on my fingernails. Does Mies’ spirit object to my application of ornamentation?

Continue reading "What the doctor ordered?" »

August 27, 2014

Craving Culture? Exhibitions to see now.

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Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand (2013), at the Aspen Art Museum.

From a new museum in Aspen and Japanese deco in Seattle to Frida Kahlo in Chicago and Jamie Wyeth in Boston, there is so much exciting art to see now. Here is a selection of must-see exhibitions around the country.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville
State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now – Opens Sept. 13

Aspen Art Museum
Shigeru Ban: Humanitarian Architecture

The museum has just opened a new $45 million, 33,000-square-foot home designed by Shigeru Ban.

Continue reading "Craving Culture? Exhibitions to see now." »

August 22, 2014

Be Original: Supporting authentic design.

Nine-0 Chair, Broom Chair, Hudson Chair, 111 Navy Chair and 1006 Navy Chair - all by Emeco.

DWR is proud to be a member of Be Original Americas, joining Alessi, Cassina, Emeco, Flos, Fritz Hansen, Herman Miller®, Vitra and other companies in the fight against counterfeit design. Being a member means that we’re a vetted retailer of authentic goods.

Gregg Buchbinder surrounded by Su Stools designed by Nendo for Emeco.

This month’s Be Original profile is of Gregg Buchbinder, president and CEO of Emeco, the Pennsylvania-based company that’s been responsibly making built-to-last furniture in America since 1944.

Q: Why is Be Original important?

A: Be Original Americas is working to inform and educate people about the importance of original design. Be Original also enlightens the public about the negatives of knock-offs and ways to identify them in the marketplace.

Continue reading "Be Original: Supporting authentic design." »

Saving Gastrotypographicalassemblage.


From cognac to bouillabaisse, knockwurst to finocchi, the CBS cafeteria wall work of art celebrates the world’s culinary traditions and is as renowned as its visionary designer, Lou Dorfsman. Spanning 33 feet in length and inspired by a partitioned drawer known as a California job case that was designed to store movable type used in printing, the piece is a smorgasbord of carved words, spoons, canned peas, a recipe for escargots, an eggbeater from Dorfsman’s own kitchen and even a quote from Longfellow.

“Honey, have you seen the eggbeater?” Imagine Mrs. Dorfsman’s surprise when its location was revealed.

Dorfsman called his opus “Gastrotypographicalassemblage,” and he produced it with design legends Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase, who masterfully crafted the typography, as well as John Alcorn, Stanley Glaubach and Nick Fasciano.


Lou Dorfsman with his wall in the CBS cafeteria, circa 1966.

Continue reading "Saving Gastrotypographicalassemblage." »

August 19, 2014

Two great American companies
in one great chair.

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Emeco’s 111 Navy Chair®, for which Design Within Reach is the proud retail source.

What could a plastic soda bottle and a chair have in common? Everything, as it turns out.

This is the story of how Coca-Cola and the Electrical Machine and Equipment Co., better known as Emeco, teamed up to produce a beautiful and timeless chair from recycled soda bottles.

The story, told on the Coca-Cola website, follows a fascinating chain of events that include Emeco's manufacture of the 1006 aluminum chair for the U.S. Navy during World War II and the certain juxtaposition of sailors’ seated on those chairs downing bottles of Coca-Cola, which the company had committed to providing to American service men and women.

Read the inspiring story and see more photos.

August 08, 2014

Congratulations to our Milo Recliner winner!

The Milo Recliner (far right) in its new home.

“The chair arrived last week and we absolutely love it,” writes Shauna, the lucky winner of our Milo Baughman Recliner Giveaway. “It’s gorgeous and so comfy – perfect for reading – and I’ve enjoyed using it every day since it arrived.”


Living in Queens with her husband Matthew and dog Cashew, Shauna is a conservator of modern and contemporary paintings, and her husband is a PhD candidate in art history. Translation: aesthetics and great design are important to this savvy duo, and we were flattered when they responded to our “you won” email with, “The basket weave fabric in wheat is lovely and will look great in our home. We’re so excited and can’t wait to receive it!”

Continue reading "Congratulations to our Milo Recliner winner!" »

August 07, 2014

Designing for a need... their own.


Illustration by Kathyrn Rathke, courtesy of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens.

"We never planned to be New Englanders. We were New Yorkers through and through," writes Scott Fellows in Connecticut Cottages & Gardens. Fortunately for modernists everywhere, he and his partner Craig Bassam made the move to New Canaan, Conn. Upon arrival, the design duo completely restored the Willis Mills House – saving it from destruction by neglect – and started designing their own furniture.

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Architect Willis Mills designed this New Canaan house for his family in 1956.

They needed "pieces that would hold their own against the powerful nature outside and the double-height glass walls," explains Fellows. Thus, the furniture powerhouse called BassamFellows was born.

Continue reading "Designing for a need... their own. " »

The Living Room Sale has begun!


It's the Living Room Sale at DWR! Save on sofas, sectionals, sleepers, armchairs, occasional tables and rugs. We're also offering free shipping on all lighting. Shop the sale at your local DWR Studio or online at