The Cool House: steelcase
Showing posts with label steelcase. Show all posts
Showing posts with label steelcase. Show all posts

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quick swap

I edged the blue sofa out and replaced it with the crimson Steelcase chairs the Awesome Designer picked up for me. You would not believe how much it lightens up the room.



The blue sofa is currently taking a break in the empty great room on its way to my office, which will happen as soon as I have taken my Incredible Hulk pills and got some super-strength in my arms and back or when Vez comes for the Holidays, whichever happens first - that thing is dang heavy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Steelcase and Frank Lloyd Wright

I posted yesterday about seeing Steelcase office furniture everywhere after I received the two MCM chairs. Last week I came across the name while viewing one of the more interesting sections of the Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward exhibition at The Guggenheim Museum: the SC Johnson Building in Racine, Wisconsin.

In 1936 Wright worked with Steelcase to produce modular steel and formica desks and chairs in his signature Cherokee Red for the SC Johnson Wax Administration Building that Life Magazine called the "most inspirational office building of the twentieth century".

If you fall in love with the sensuous curves of the furniture you can purchase your very own Frank Lloyd Wright Johnson Wax 1 Writing Desk and Johnson Wax 2 Chair, although today they are no longer produced by Steelcase but by Italian furniture maker Cassina.

In 2001 Frédéric Compain made a fascinating documentary about the Johnson Wax Building as part of the Architects series. Part 1/3 above, click the links for part 2/3 and part 3/3. It not only shows employees at their work stations but explores Wright's belief that efficiency is affected by the surrounding office environment. (Note: the documentary is in French and although there is an English voice-over they haven't translated the written quotes. It would appear they spoke French in Wisconsin in the 1930s!)

The Steelhouse company has furthered their association with the architect, away from the industrial to the residential, by supporting the restoration of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park Illinois

and, in the 1980s, purchasing and fully restoring the Meyer May House in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Take the online tour here.
Steelcase is also sponsoring a Symposium on September 10 2009 to explore the relevance of Frank Lloyd Wright to 21st century architecture and design.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Since I got my sinfully scarlet Steelcase chairs last week I've been coming across the American manufacturer's modernist office furniture everywhere.

Founded in 1912 as the Metal Office Furniture Company, Steelcase got its new name at the height of the mid-century modern movement. Their website doesn't have much information about the designs from the 1950s, 60 and 70s but a few evocative photos can be found at the milestones section.

There's better luck searching for images of catalogs from that era: A selection of red office chairs with a contrasting yellow desk from a Steelcase catalog

or this yellow chrome armchair, from the early 1960s. (If you are hungry for more MCM images the Mid-Century Modernist has a post here).

Of course actual examples of Steelcase MCM furniture often come up for auction, on ebay, or at 1stdibs. Prices vary widely - as does the condition of the furniture.

And if you prefer your work space modern rather than modernist, The Steelcase Design Studio is still producing solid, ergodynamic office furniture. For more info on new products visit their blog.