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76 posts categorized "Newsletter"

March 01, 2013

Scottsdale: A very special DWR Studio.

Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Our Scottsdale Studio is in a building designed by Frank Henry, who was inspired to become an architect after a chance meeting with Frank Lloyd Wright. A native of Southern California, Henry moved to Arizona in the 1940s, and in 1960 he became the first person to receive a Bachelor of Architecture degree in the state of Arizona.

Archival photo of the Frank Henry building where the DWR Scottsdale Studio is today.

With more than 50 years in the industry, Henry has designed airports, banks, churches, hospitals, university buildings and one DWR Studio, although it was originally a Valley National Bank headquarters. Today he is Studio Master emeritus, teaching Hand Rendering and Perspective Drawing at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Continue reading " Scottsdale: A very special DWR Studio. " »

February 28, 2013

On location with architect Michael P. Johnson.

Architect: Michael P. Johnson. The Bradley residence, Scottsdale, AZ.
Photo: Bill Timmerman, Timmerman Photography, Inc.

“One percent of buildings are architecture,” says Michael P. Johnson. “The rest are just stuff.” Standing six foot four with a mop of white hair and a lot to say, Johnson has a rugged elegance that’s a lot like the juxtaposition between his sleek streamlined buildings and the rough terrain of the Arizona landscape. He drives a red pickup, drinks his coffee black and likes his scotch on the rocks. He’s married to the documentary filmmaker Suzanne Johnson, and the two of them live in a house that Michael designed in Cave Creek, Arizona. Inspired by Suzanne’s dream of living in a loft in New York City, Johnson gave his wife “a loft in the desert.”

Architect: Michael P. Johnson. The Johnson residence, Cave Creek, AZ.
Photo: Richard Mack

The Johnson house is set in a remote area north of Cave Creek, keenly attuned to the changing light throughout the day and subtle shifts of the seasons. It has luscious views of mountains, cacti and sky, and one of the few houses that can be seen is the Ellsworth house, which Johnson also designed (talk about taking control of your view).

Architect: Michael P. Johnson. The Ellsworth residence, Cave Creek, AZ.
Photo: Bill Timmerman, Timmerman Photography, Inc.

The Ellsworth was one of the houses where we photographed the DWR March catalog, and we chose the space for its bold simplicity, balanced proportions and sleek industrial surfaces. In other words, we knew our furniture would look fantastic in a house designed by Johnson.

Continue reading "On location with architect Michael P. Johnson. " »

January 28, 2013

Pop the Champagne – winners have been chosen!

Congratulations to the winners of our 2013 DWR Champagne Chair Contest. Choosing the top three was one of the toughest decisions our judges ever had to make in this contest. Our judges -- DWR President and CEO John Edelman; COO John McPhee; VP of Merchandising Kari Woldum; and VP of Marketing and Creative Michael Sainato -- send their sincere appreciation to all of the entrants this year. 

First Place and $1,000 DWR Gift Card goes to Miwa F. for her "Rockin' Chaise." This design is truly masterful with a functional drink holder that moves. Our judges loved the innovation of this design using mid-century aestethics and were impressed with how the materials come together into one seamless piece.


Second Place a $500 DWR Gift Card goes to Jeffery Molter who designed a modern folding chair as well as a case to store it in. Our judges were so impressed with this design and we cannot remember ever receiving anything like this before. Form meets funciton in this whimsical yet useful piece.


Third Place and a $250 DWR Gift Card goes to Aaron Padilla. Named "F8 Chaise," this is beautifully constructed, unique design. The underside of the seat is fully sculpted of cork and the the upholstery overlaying it is a foil basketweave. Thank you Aaron for this clean and well thought out design. We also loved the packaging it came in! 


On behalf of our judges and everyone here at DWR, we would like to congratulate the winners and all of the contestants on their beautiful, innovative and functional designs this year. Thank you for taking the time to create a champagne chair for our special contest. Please browse all 319 submissions here

We'll see you next year!

January 08, 2013

Architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable dies at 91.

Getty Images

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Ada Louise Huxtable. The famed architecture critic for the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Huxtable "changed the way most of us see and think about man-made environments," said an editor at the Times. In 1963, she became the first full-time architecture critic for an American newspaper, and in 1970, she won the first-ever Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

Huxtable with Arthur Ochs Sulzberger in 1970. Librado Romero/New York Times

Still writing at 91, Huxtable's piece about the $300 million restructuring plan for the New York Public Library appeared in the Journal just a few weeks ago. In Undertaking Its Destruction, Huxtable's honest, eloquent, smart, witty and somewhat saucy style is in full gear as she writes "This is a plan devised out of a profound ignorance of or willful disregard for not only the library's original concept and design, but also the folly of altering its meaning and mission and compromising its historical and architectural integrity. You don't 'update' a masterpiece. 'Modernization' may be the most dangerously misused word in the English language."

"Buildings change; they adapt to needs, times and tastes," she continued. "Old buildings are restored, upgraded and converted to new uses. For architecturally or historically significant buildings with landmark protection, the process is more complex; subtle, subjective and difficult decisions are often required. Nothing, not even buildings, stands still."

Ada Louise Huxtable in 1974. Alfred Eisenstaedt/Life Magazine

Huxtable inspired us and made us think about the world that surrounds us. I love her for using "august" as an adjective -- referring to the library as "an august institution" -- which I rarely see except for in the poetry of Wallace Stevens. My compass and my mentor, you will be missed.


January 04, 2013

Express yourself in cork and foil.

Previous contest winner by Tony Nemyer. Chair name: Grape Divine Chair.

Still haven’t taken out the recycling from New Year’s Eve? Luckily, it’s not too late to enter the DWR Champagne Chair Contest™. The challenge is simple: Create an original miniature chair using only the foil, label, cage and cork from no more than two champagne bottles.* Three winners will receive a DWR Gift Card. The deadline for submissions is January 14. Cheers!

Learn more at After you've designed your chair, feel free to share it on Instagram and Twitter with #dwrchampagnechair

*If champagne is not your thing, we also accept chairs made from the foil, label, cage and cork of Prosecco or any other sparkling wine.

December 20, 2012

Miles, the modern dog.

Miles on the Milo Recliner.

If DWR had a mascot, it would most certainly be Miles, who has appeared in our catalogs as well as on our blog and facebook page. He is also a regular at our photoshoots. Here are a few of our favorite photos of DWR’s favorite dog.

On location in Armonk, New York. House in background was designed by Arthur Witthoefft in 1957. Read more about the house here. Keep reading to see MORE PHOTOS.

Continue reading "Miles, the modern dog." »

December 17, 2012

Long-vacant TWA Terminal could become boutique hotel.

Photo: John Bartelstone and Beyer Blinder Belle

In early 2011, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued a request for proposals to transform the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Terminal at JFK Airport into the centerpiece of a hotel. A few big players – including Trump and Starwood – sent representatives to tour the vacant terminal, and now the Wall Street Journal (wsj subscription required) is reporting that hotel developer Andre Balazs is in talks to develop the site. Balazs developed the Mercer Hotel in SoHo and The Standard in the Meatpacking District, and according to the Journal’s sources, the Port Authority aims to finalize a deal with him in the next few months. If the project moves forward, Saarinen's iconic building could become the lobby (with restaurants and shopping) for a 150-room hotel to be built in the space between the old TWA terminal and the new (built in 2008) JetBlue building. Completed in 1962, the TWA Terminal has been vacant since American acquired TWA in 2001. It was added to America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2003.

Photo: Gwendolyn Horton for DWR

November 21, 2012

You have to read George.

George Nelson posing for Herman Miller advertisement "Traveling Men," ca. 1954. Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum Archive.

At last week's Yale symposium about George Nelson, one message was clear: You have to read George. In other words, George the writer trumps George the architect, George the designer and George the teacher, combined.

For two days, scholars, design nerds, editors and Murray Moss (there is no label to define him) talked about the legacy of this American icon. Known mainly for his furniture and design work for Herman Miller, Nelson also wrote and edited for Architectural Forum, Fortune, Pencil Points, Life and McCall's, and co-authored the bestselling Tomorrow's House with Henry Wright.

Cover of November 1959 issue of Architectural Forum, where George Nelson was associate editor (1935-1943) and consulting editor (1944-1949).

Continue reading "You have to read George." »

Exploring (and slightly disagreeing with) the Finn Juhl exhibition.


Across the museum courtyard, a beautiful red and gold building foreshadows the Finn Juhl exhibition we were about to see: Furniture for the Senses at Designmuseum Danmark.


Finn Juhl's gold and purple sofa designed in 1957, shown with a coffee table he designed for professor Alf Ross in 1948. Ross was a Danish lawyer, legal philosopher and the author of Guilt, Responsibility and Punishment in which he wrote about "morality's capacity to guide human behavior." Which brings me to the question of the built-in vase in this coffee table. Are we to see the flowers as imprisoned in the tabletop and, if so, what pray tell was their crime?

Continue reading "Exploring (and slightly disagreeing with) the Finn Juhl exhibition." »

October 05, 2012

New York Times + DWR = Design and Architecture Crossword.

DWR is proud to bring you a very special crossword puzzle, written for everyone who is passionate about design. Click on the puzzle for a larger image or click here for a printable PDF. This puzzle will also appear in the October 7 issue of T Design (see page 60) in The New York Times.


Keep reading for hints and answers. 

Continue reading "New York Times + DWR = Design and Architecture Crossword." »

August 28, 2012

Rockwell and Cherner. (Or how a commercial illustrator created a mid-century icon.)



It’s not often that a visual artist transforms the career of a furniture designer – and that’s only part of what makes Norman Cherner’s story remarkable.

In 1952, George Nelson (yes, that George Nelson, of Herman Miller® design director fame) designed the Pretzel Chair, which was, briefly, manufactured by Massachusetts-based Plycraft. It soon became clear that the Pretzel was too difficult to reliably produce on a mass scale and the company abandoned the project. But in 1957 they asked Norman Cherner – then known mostly for his pre-fab housing – to create something similar, using the same bentwood technology as the Pretzel. The result was the Cherner Armchair, with its thin waist and wide arms. And then things go sketchy: After delivering the design to the Paul Goldman, the head of Plycraft, Goldman told him the project was cancelled and production wouldn’t happen. But it did. Goldman continued to produce Cherner’s design, attributing the design to a certain “Bernardo,” undeniably a fabrication.

Understandably, Cherner was rather shocked to discover his design sitting in a showroom in New York. He sued Goldman in 1961, winning the case and receiving royalties. That same year, illustrator to the masses, Norman Rockwell, pictured the Cherner Armchair in his September 1961 cover of the Saturday Evening Post, in an illustration called “The Artist at Work” (above). This was all it took to catapult Cherner into the design spotlight, as demand for the Cherner Armchair soared. It’s an interesting example of how accessible modernism used to be – at the time, the Cherner Chair sold for $50 to $60. The work of someone like Norman Rockwell, whose art expressed pure, unadulterated mass appeal, was entirely of a piece with many of the tenets of modernism. Functional, commercial, accessible, mass produced – these things defined both modern design at that time and Rockwell’s illustrations.

Despite the success of the chair it went out of production in 1972. In 1999, Cherner’s sons, Benjamin and Thomas, launched the Cherner Chair Company to bring their father’s iconic work back into production. To learn more about Norman Cherner’s life and see the Cherner Collection (which is on sale during the Dining Sale), click here.

Posted by Emily Fasten.

June 14, 2012

Should animals appear in DWR catalogs?

We're having a Creative Department debate: Should animals appear in DWR catalogs? If so, here are some of the talented dogs and cats available to us (translation: the pets of various Creative Dept. staff members). Who would you like to see gracing the pages of DWR?

Miles the wonder dog.

Continue reading "Should animals appear in DWR catalogs?" »

April 23, 2012

Milan Highlights: Refuge Tonneau by Charlotte Perriand.

Charlotte Perriand is best known for her elegant modernist tubular steel furniture of the 1920s and 1930s, but it was her architecture that stole the show at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan.

An exhibition of her Refuge Tonneau showcased the kind of prefabricated aluminum buildings and interiors Perriand designed in the 1930s. Inspired by a children’s fairground ride in Croatia, Perriand had the idea for a mobile mountain refuge in 1936. Two years later, working with Pierre Jeanneret, she developed this dodecahedron structure, consisting of a metal frame, central pole and umbrella-like top with 12 spokes. It was initially envisioned for the steep terrain of the Alps, but one can easily see this “space shuttle–mountain shelter” taking off in the aeronautic world.

The interior is made from pinewood, giving the minimal structure a welcoming feel. The heater is inside the central steel pillar and warms the entire interior while occupying as little space as possible. 

Continue reading "Milan Highlights: Refuge Tonneau by Charlotte Perriand." »

April 17, 2012

Milan: Day One – Courreges at Corso Como.

Fashion icon Andre Courrèges introduced the world to the miniskirt in 1961, but short skirts weren’t the only things on this designer’s mind. He also had a passion for futuristic cars. After more than 40 years, the battery-powered prototype that Courrèges made in 1968, might hit the streets as an electric vehicle in 2012. Andre’s wife Coqueline created the new design of Bulle EV (“bubble” in French), often working on it in the garage of her Paris home.

DWR’s Michael Sainato stumbled upon the Bulle yesterday at 10 Corso Como, which was founded by Carla Sozzani in 1990 as a virtual narrative of a magazine layout.

What do you think, is there an electric Bubble in your driving future? 

Click the "continue reading" link to see more photos.

Continue reading "Milan: Day One – Courreges at Corso Como." »

April 07, 2012

A DWR Film: Jens Risom.

DWR Presents: Jens Risom from Design Within Reach on Vimeo.

Running into legendary designer Jens Risom in the halls at Design Within Reach is just one of the many great things about working here. Our latest DWR Film lets you experience the wit and wisdom of the modern master, as he speaks with us about history, parachute straps, Hans Knoll and, of course, chairs.

March 10, 2012

Calatrava does Dallas.

Santiago Calatrava has designed more than 40 bridges around the world, and his latest was completed just days ago in Dallas. The cable-stayed bridge features a 400-foot-high arch of steel wrapped in a concrete skin, and a web of steel diagonal stays that give the bridge its unmistakable Calatrava look.

In what looks like the demise of the bridge, check out the fireworks show (above) that Dallas put on for the Bridge’s opening celebration (the drama begins after the first 45 seconds).

Continue reading "Calatrava does Dallas." »

March 06, 2012

DWR is now on Pinterest.

We are happy to announce that we are now on Pinterest! Our pinboards are brimming with visual inspiration for you to love and share. If you don't know about this new social media site, we'd love to get you up to speed.

Screen Shot 2012-03-06 at 11.12.06 AM

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February 17, 2012

New DWR Video: One bed, many ways.

With our new DWR Bedding Collection of sheets, duvet covers, blankets and pillows, there are many new ways to make the modern bed.

February 07, 2012

A Sommelier shares his home bar tips.

Greg Dickinson works as a sommelier and manager at Boston's L'Espalier restaurant, complementing the Back Bay gem's daily tasting menus with perfect bottles of wine. We were thrilled to get his expert advice for getting any Line Bar, Barboy, or Ollie ready for some spectacular entertaining.

Screen Shot 2012-02-03 at 11.11.23 AM

What wines should every home bar have for entertaining?

Personally, I always like to keep bubbly at home. It's an ideal cocktail wine and is always appropriate for any occasion when entertaining or ANY time of the day (morning, noon, or night). For everyday, I like Segura Viudas Cava brut NV. It retails for around $6 to $8 and mixes well with cordials. For special occasions, my go to is Pol Roger's Sir Winston Churchill Cuvee.

Continue reading "A Sommelier shares his home bar tips." »

January 13, 2012

Living in a Small Space.

Note: This article was originally titled "Leben Auf Kleinem Raum" and ran in the German magazine CouchIt has been translated into English (and slightly edited) by Iris in 't Hout.

33 sq meters

From a family home to a doll size apartment. How do designer Michael Sainato (V.P. Marketing + Creative at Design Within Reach) and stylist Iris in 't Hout solve this? With lots of style - and storage room.


The table barely measures 70 cm x 80 cm, so the built-in seat benches can have storage drawers underneath. Dog Miles always finds a spot by Iris and Michael.

Continue reading "Living in a Small Space." »