The hills are alive with incredible ligatures — Herb Lubalin was my first and foremost typeface design crush. In my book, Lubalin Graph out-slabs all the slab serifs. But Herb was no one trick pony (although that’s a pretty great Paul Simon album cover he did). Eros, Avant Garde, and UC&lc still have plenty to teach us about editorial art direction. Thanks for turning me on @hazen. #herblubalin
Long before he was teaching PBS viewers how to spatchcock while keeping an octogenarian #JuliaChild in check, and after his stint revolutionizing fast food as a chef at Howard Johnson HQ, #JacquesPépin opened his one and only restaurant in midtown Manhattan. “Jacques Pépin, has scored a success on Fifth Avenue with La Potagerie,” wrote @nytarchives in 1971, “an inexpensive soup restaurant that combines recipes based on classic principles with a kitchen technology originally developed for the basse cuisine of roadside chains.” And who better to soup up lunchtime than #GeorgeNelson, whose office handled the interiors and graphics. A promotional packet from Nelson explains, “one of the problems presented by the client was to treat the serving area so that the ‘cafeteria look’ was eliminated as completely as possible. Among the devices used were a tray rail made of massive wood planking with brass inserts, a liberal installation of Mexican tile at the back, hanging baskets of food and a specially lighted ceiling.” Other highlights include the waterfall “at the extreme end [that] gives life to what might have been a dead section of the restaurant,” and tapestries by none other than #SheilaHicks.
Time travel *is* possible inside the former offices of Irwin Management at 301 Washington Street in Columbus, Indiana. Excited to talk all things Alexander Girard with @aleishallgirardmaxon@alexander_kori_girard and @acid_free next Thursday evening at @newfieldstoday. If you find yourself in the Hoosier state, come put the Q in audience Q&A.
On January 5th, 1951 “twenty-five thousand pounds of American home furnishings exhibition material” departed the Museum of Modern Art in New York to begin a two year tour of Europe. Curated by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., Director of the MoMa’s Industrial Design Department, “Design for Use, USA” showcased a broad selection of contemporary American domestic items including electrical goods, crockery, cutlery, textiles, toys and of course furniture—including some of that #EastCoastIron, designed by #GeorgeNelson in 1950 and produced by Arbuck, Inc. of Brooklyn, NY. The collection was initially designed for the patio and garden of Mr. Nelson’s concept home for Holiday magazine—and if you’re scratching your head wondering how Georgie-Boy might have circumvented his contractual obligation to @hermanmiller, it was likely that he claimed this was non-competitive because it was intended for outdoor use. Needless to say, the exhibit drew tens of thousands of visitors at its foreign destinations, premiering in March 1951 at the Stuttgart Landesgewerbemuseum before moving on through Italy, France, Switzerland and the UK. For many it was their first opportunity to see American design in the flesh, and the show went a long way toward establishing the softer side of America’s military industrial complex abroad—as well as its brandname designers. This image is take from the German catalog “Industrie und Handwerk Schaffen Neues Hausgerät in USA” which was art directed by Alexander Girard, who also designed the modular display fixtures and architecture for the traveling show. Direct yourself to the link in my bio for another juicy take on the whole deal.
Finally caught up on Keith Jarrett, or Keith Jarrett caught up with me. If you need a 10xLP box set of improvised solo piano concerts that reach transcendental heights of bliss, Sun Bear is for you. Spirits sees Jarrett trading the keys (mostly) for sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, bass, and great bass recorders—with the occasional Pakistani and Vermont flutes thrown in for good measure. Both are amazing feats of solo improvised music (the latter with solo improvised overdubs), and distinct products of the context in which they were recorded—concert halls versus the home recording studio. In the liner notes to Spirits, Jarrett writes, “if there is such a thing as cosmic music, that music should certainly be in touch with the earth, which is the largest part of the cosmos to which we have access. What if so-called ‘ethnic music’ or ‘primitive’ music has really been cosmic all along?” If that sounds a tad pretentious, just wait until you get a load of KJ in the piece by Mikal Gilmore from the January 25, 1979 issue of Rolling Stone (#LinkInBio). It’s a deeply readable nugget from the golden age of high-budget magazine journalism, and quite possibly the most unflattering positive album review I’ve ever read.
Found I-Beam side table by #WardBennett in his Amagansett, New York weekend home—pictured in Joan Kron and Suzanne Slesin’s seminal 1978 publication, HIGH-TECH. Bennett is featured prominently through-out, with an emphasis on the reuse and appropriation of industrial elements like subway glass, sidewalk grates, and guard rails in his interior designs. For Bennett’s greatest hits, and more deep cuts, check out the incredible new @phaidonsnaps monograph by @various_projects.