Designer Desire: Richard Koppe

Mosaic of Richard Koppe artwork | H is for Home

Richard Koppe (1916-1973) was an American modernist artist, designer and educator. In the late 1930s, Koppe attended the New Bauhaus in Chicago where he was taught by László Moholy-Nagy. You can really see the tutor’s influence on the pupil’s style.

For ages we’ve hankered after a menu he designed in 1948 for Well of the Sea restaurant located in the basement of Hotel Sherman, Chicago. Examples appear on eBay occasionally – but they are never cheap!

He produced other designs for the restaurant including 5 impressive ‘glow in the dark’ wall murals, coloured recessed back-lighting and kinetic mobiles. A range of crockery was produced for the restaurant by Shenango in 1953 using his designs. Someone on Zazzle is currently producing exact replicas of this restaurant-ware; putting it to china, melamine and textile home accessories.

We have an illustration painted by Cal Dunn of one of Koppe’s Well of the Sea murals in one of our vintage cookbooks, ‘The Ford Treasury of Favourite Recipes from Famous Eating Places‘. We’ve also found a couple of  contemporary black & white photographs of the restaurant here and here.

Richard Koppe exhibited widely at international institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Academy in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Academy in Philadelphia, the Royal Academy of Art in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

He also taught for many years as Head of Visual Design and Fine Arts at the Institute of Design (ID) at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and later as Professor of Art at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Portrait of Richard Koppecredit

Additional image credits:

Art in America magazine | Corbett vs Dempsey | Elmhurst Art Museum | Invaluable | Flickr

Get their look: Mid-century lounge

Mid-century loungecredit

Our love affair with all things 50s-inspired continues with this mid-century lounge. It has many of the classic hallmarks of this type of space – light & airy, unfussy, optimistic. The furniture is stylish, yet retains a functional simplicity – the distinctive splayed legs and feet associated with the era are much in evidence. The parquet flooring is a wonderful original feature that really suits the overall design. Clean lines and hard edges are softened with textiles and lots of natural foliage.

Whilst we’re concentrating on the lounge area, we love the open plan nature of the apartment and glimpses through to the kitchen and mezzanine bedroom. The glazed panel works perfectly to section off the bedroom area whilst retaining the sight line and flow – this is cleverly echoed by the the mirror on the wall beneath.

  1. ASTRO Tressino S 7042 IP44 wall light
  2. Aspect mirror
  3. Mid-century media 6-piece set
  4. Mid-century turned wood leg planters
  5. Stellar white marble side table
  6. Santiago leather armchair in camel
  7. 2 x Lule high back carver dining chairs
  8. Porto left-hand corner sofa

Have a look at some of the other interiors we’ve featured in our Get their look series.

Get their look: Mid-century lounge | H is for Home

Get their look: Mid-century-inspired kitchen-diner

Mid-century-inspired kitchen-dinercredit

This is the kind of mid-century-inspired kitchen-diner where I’d happily spend lots of time; cooking, eating, entertaining, relaxing.

It’s an incredible use of space with a very unusual kitchen island / breakfast bar combo. Most breakfast bars are designed in such a way that you perch atop an often uncomfortable bar stool; these vintage Scandi Model 42 dining chairs are a far preferable alternative!

There’s oodles of storage and display space thanks to the custom-built shelving unit in the centre of the photo above. I love the detail of the top shelf following the slope of the ceiling. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t even more storage in the base of that bench!

  1. Vertigo 2-light foyer pendant
  2. Vertigo 1-light hanging mini pendant
  3. Martini cocktail set
  4. Perforated decorative bowl
  5. Oak and glass dining table
  6. Vintage Model 42 dining chairs by Kai Kristiansen for Schou Anderson
  7. Live edge wood slabs

Click here to see other rooms featured in our Get their look series.

Get their look: Mid-century-inspired kitchen-diner | H is for Home

Bookmarks: 100 Midcentury Chairs

100 Midcentury Chairs book on a vintage Ercol stacking chair by the fireside | H is for Home

We’ve had a few cold, wet and windy days here in Todmorden recently – perhaps even some snow tonight. So it’s wood-burner lit, 6 Music radio on – and time to catch up with some recently arrived magazines and books.

100 Midcentury Chairs book cover by Lucy Ryder Richardson

This edition of Bookmarks comes courtesy of a lady we first featured on our blog five years ago.

Grass-seated chair designed by George Nakashima

Lucy Ryder Richardson is the co-founder of Modern Shows and is the author of this newly published book, 100 Midcentury Chairs.

Paimio chair designed by Alvar Aalto

As the title says, the author has chosen 100 chairs (and stools) from the era to highlight; some that are very famous – like Arne Jacobsen’s Ant and Egg chairs – and others that are less well known.

Chieftain Chair designed by Finn Juhl and executed by Niels Vodder

She interviewed the children and relatives of the designers to create unique portraits of each chair…

Danish furniture designer, Finn Juhl

…the designers’ personal profiles and back stories, their influences, any specific sites that chairs were intended for or functions of the furniture, production techniques & processes and so on.

Charles and Ray Eames designed DCW chair

We love snippets of information such as Alvar Aalto designing the Paimio Armchair specifically for the tuberculosis hospital in Paiomo, south west Finland. It’s form is designed to position the tuberculosis patient at just the right angle to help them breath as they rested & recuperated. He was actually commissioned to design the whole hospital, so it’s full of his genius work.

Furniture and product designer, Charles Eames

And how about, Bruno Mattheson, designer of the Eva Chair, “perfecting the art of sitting by studying the shape his body made when he fell back into a snowdrift at different angles”.

J16 chair designed by Hans Wegner

The pages are dotted with quotes from the designers themselves, including Hans J. Wegner, Xavier Pauchard, Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames.

JH550 Peacock Chair designed by Hans Wegner

Pieces are featured in chronological order, spanning 40 years from the early 1930s to the early 1970s.

Hans Wegner's top 10 chairs

Interesting and informative, you’ll expand your knowledge of furniture design no end, and with almost 200 pages of full colour photographs, you’ll be able to swoon at chair heaven all along the journey.

Stack of Hillestak chairs designed by Robin Day for S Hille and Co

And it’s not just furniture we learned about – the book is full of little anecdotes such as the fact that Ettore Sottsass’ red Valentine typewriter was launched on Valentines Day, 1970. Who knew?!

Ant Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen

The directory at the back of the book contains an extensive list of international midcentury modern furniture dealers, auctions, fairs and events.

International directory of Midcentury furniture dealers

It’s a new, must read resource for all modernist furniture fans and collectors.

Egg Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen

It’s one of those great books to dip in and out of – a few pages at a time with a cup of tea!

Cherner Armchair designed by Norman Cherner for Plycraft

We do love a nice chair – in fact we’ve probably got about 10 more chairs than we actually need in our house. We’ve got another hundred now – but these can all fit neatly on a bookshelf!

UP5 Donna Chair designed by Gaetano Pesce for C&B Itaila

This wonderful book comes highly recommended indeed and will provide us with an invaluable reference in future.

Synthesis 45 Typist Chair, Z9/r designed by Ettore Sottsass for Olivetti

Buy yourself a copy of 100 Midcentury Chairs by Saturday 19th November here, and get FREE entry to the following day’s Midcentury Modern Show at Dulwich College, London. You’ll even be able to get it signed by the author. Alternatively, you can find it available on AbeBooks, Amazon or Hive.

Lucy Ryder Richardson signing 100 Midcentury Chairs

[Many thanks to Pavilion Books for the review copy]

Get their look: Mid-century-modern-inspired kitchen

Mid-century-modern-inspired kitchencredit

This mid-century-modern-inspired kitchen merges vintage and brand new in just the right measure. The mint coloured cupboards, fridge and patterned wallpaper are very evocative of the period. The splashes of red and yellow give the space added impact.

The 1950s are associated with a post war optimism which influenced interior design greatly – and this kitchen is a suitably bright and cheerful space to reflect that spirit.

  1. Portfolio 9.45-in W chrome ceiling flush mount light
  2. Julia Rothmans Daydream (green) wallpaper tiles
  3. The Skylark shallow bowl stem mount light
  4. Smeg FAB28YV1 fridge A++ energy rating, 60cm wide, left-hand hinge, pastel green
  5. Eames moulded plastic side chair
  6. FairTrade red heera jute diamond 60cm x 150cm runner
  7. STENSTORP kitchen trolley, white/oak

Get their look: Mid-century-modern-inspired kitchen | H is for Home

Designer Desire: Jacqueline Groag

Mosaic of Jacqueline Groag designs | H is for Home

The day was sure to come when we were going to feature Jacqueline Groag in our Designer Desire series. We’ve blogged about her on numerous occasions in the past, so we won’t repeat ourselves here. Click here to read up and find out more about this wonderful textile designer!

These are just a taste of all the wonderful designs she produced in her lifetime. If we’ve piqued your interest in Jacqueline Groag there’s an entire book  available that’s dedicated to her work.

Jacqueline Groag

Image credits:

eBay | Pinterest | V & A