Saturday, February 27, 2010

63526 letter rack and 63527 magazine rack | Walter Zeischegg | Helit, Germany | 1973

Walter ZeischeggWalter Zeischegg
63526 letter rack and 63527 magazine rack
Helit, Germany, 1973

Walter Zeischegg was born in Vienna, Austria on February 5, 1917.  In 1921, the Zeischegg family moved to Graz.  Walter studied in Graz from 1932 to 1936 and then began his study of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He served in World War II until 1946 and then continued his studies with master sculptor Fritz Wotruba.

During his studies, Zeischegg acted as a freelance designer and worked on the design of tool handles, surgical instruments and equipment. On a trip through Switzerland, he met Max Bill.  In 1950, Zeischegg set aside his artistic work in devotion to design. Between 1951 and 1953, Zeischegg worked in the construction office of the future Ulm School of Design.  In 1953 he became a lecturer in the department of product form at the “Hochschule für Gestaltung” (Design College) in Ulm. In 1968 the college was closed. An archival history of the school can be found here.

Ulm Design College philosophy Hochschule für Gestaltung curriculum (1951).  Image source.

Following his lecturer position at HfG, Zeischegg founded a design studio in New Ulm. He mainly worked for the company Helit.  To 1983, more than 70 design-oriented products were developed by Walter Zeischegg for Helit.

Helit logo

In addition to industrial jobs, Zeischegg devoted his attention to the study of geometric forms, which is apparent in many of his designs. Walter Zeischegg died on December 20, 1983 in Ulm.

Helit 2009 catalogThe Helit 2009 catalog.

The company name “Helit” was created by combining the founder's name “hefendehl” and “bakelit” - the name of the plastic used for production in the 1920s. Their catalog contains  lots of plastic items and design classics.  Helit’s design philosophy is

Good design is not only the visually attractive but what remains of it in one’s memory - he who wants to create design classics cannot follow today’s ever changing fashion fads, but he must create real trends himself.

The 63526 letter rack is a rectangular array of 24 prongs in a 4 by 6 configuration.  The rack is approximately 9.5 cm high by 14.5 long by 9 cm deep.

The 63527 magazine rack is a square array of 17 prongs arranged 3-4-3-4-3.  The rack is approximately 19 cm high by 24 cm long by 16 cm deep.

63527 US Patent

The first page of the United States “Magazine Rack” design patent, number D278,663 (1985). The patent was granted after Zeischegg’s death.  The rest of the patent can be found here.

63527 sketch, top view, from patent 63527 sketch, bottom view, from patent

Top and bottom plan views of the magazine rack as shown in the design patent.

63527 sketch, top view, from patent Top plan view of a similar holder (Fig. 4 in the design patent) except for the addition of a seven member holder.

Helit 63527 rack, red, with oriignal box Helit 63527 rack, red Left, red Helit rack with original box.  Right, red helit rack.  Image source:  brocnshop.  Item was for sale (now sold), 95 € ($ 129).

Helit 63527 rack, black, imprint                                              Image source,  eBay.

I have also seen the 63527 magazine rack in white, but I don’t have a picture.  That will have to wait for an update.

Helit 63526 rack, black

The 63526 letter rack.  Image source:  Markanto.  Item was for sale in Germany for 90 €($ 122.50).


Designlexicon International.  Retrieved February 15, 2010 from: http://www.designlexikon.net/Designer/Z/zeischeggwalter.html

HfG Archiv Ulm.  Retrieved February 15, 2010 from: http://www.hfg-archiv.ulm.de/die_hfg_ulm/

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Frilly chair | Patricia Urquiola | Kartell, Italy | 2008

Patricia Urquiola Frilly chairPatricia Urquiola
Kartell, Italy

Patricia Urquiola was born in 1961 in Oviedo, a town in northern Spain. She studied first in Madrid and then in Milan, where in 1989 she graduated from the Milan Polytechnic. Her thesis was supervised by the internationally renowned Achille Castiglioni.

From 1990 to 1992, Urquiola was an assistant professor at the Milan Polytechnic and at the ENSCI (Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle) in Paris. From 1993 to 1996 she worked in a design workshop started with other designers where she was involved in architectural planning of buildings, interior design, and exhibition design. Since 1996, she has been a coordinator of the design group of the company Lissoni Associati.

I became interested in the Frilly chair when I saw it paired with the Stone stool at the Space showroom.  The link will take you to that post.

Frilly chair

Frilly chair Kartell promotional images:  Frilly chair

The Frilly chair was designed by Patricia Urquiola for Kartell and launched on November 5, 2008 in Milan.  It is made of transparent polycarbonate, which makes the chair suitable for indoor or outdoor use.  The chair is 47 cm wide by 47 cm deep by 78 cm tall, with a seat height of 46 cm.  The chairs are stackable to up to 5 units.  It’s given the designation 5880 by Kartell and comes two to a box.  Numerous retailers sell the chair at $ 299.

Frilly was born from the idea of an industrial sculpture transformed into a charming ergonomic shape.  The wide range of colors is reminiscent of natural elements, giving the chair a light and lovely appearance.  Patricia Urquiola describes Frilly:

“I designed this chair as an oversized shape which is then ‘deformed’ and enriched, to create a ‘fabric effect.’ I think that Frilly is feminine but not nostalgic; rather it’s totally contemporary, combining emotion and functionality.”

Technicla data sheet for Frilly chair

Technical data sheet for Frilly chair.

The wavy effect covering the entire surface gives this chair a light and soft look like pleated fabric, for a sensual, fun and feminine optical effect.  The iconography surrounding the launch of the chair underscores these ideals.Frilly chair iconography

Kartell flagship, Frilly chair Kartell flagship, Frilly chairKartell showroom during the Frilly chair launch.  Image source:  Kartell.


Design Dictionary. Retrieved February 20, 2010 from: http://www.designdictionary.co.uk/en/urquiola.htm

Kartell.  Retrieved February 20, 2010 from: http://www.kartell.it

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stone stool | Marcel Wanders | Kartell, Italy | 2006

Marcel Wanders Stone stoolMarcel Wanders
Kartell, Italy

Marcel Wanders was born on July 2, 1963 and grew up in Boxtel, the Netherlands.  He graduated cum laude from the School of the Arts Arnhem in 1988.  Marcel Wanders was one of the first designers for Droog and is art director and co-founder of moooi.

The Stone Stool, designed by Marcel Wanders for Kartell, has a gem-like symmetrical linear shape, reminiscent of an hourglass. Its surface is an irregular array of facets which reflect the light and create a striking and unique play of colors, like a cut diamond.

Stone stool Kartell Promotional image:  Stone stool.

Stone is 45 cm tall by 30 cm in diameter and lists for $245.  Here is Marcel Wanders’ website for the Stone stool.  You can see a 360 degree view of the stone stool here.

Marcel Wanders logo

The Stone Stool is made in a single mold of batch dyed polycarbonate, is strong and rigid, scratch and weather resistant, and suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Because of its jewel-like nature, Stone is offered in the colors of precious stones: crystal (diamond), yellow (tourmaline), amber (topaz), smoke (onyx), blue (sapphire), and red (ruby).

Space window displayThe blue in particular is spectacular.  It’s in the window display of Space right now with a Frilly chair (also in polycarbonate) by Particia Urquiola for Kartell.

Techincal data sheet for Stone stool

Technical data sheet for the Stone stool.

Stone stool, green Stone stool in green (emerald).  Image source: mocoloco.com

It’s given the designation 8800 by Kartell.  I wonder what Olaf von Bohr would have to say about that…considering 8800 is the designation for his bed tray (which will be the focus of a future post).  I think the Stone stool has some similarity to the Optic storage cube by Patrick Jouin, also for Kartell and that they would look great paired together.  The Optic storage cube is made of PMMA.

Optic storage cube  Kartell Promotional image:  Optic storage cube.


Bernadine Walrecht (2002). Home made Holland: How craft and design mix‎. Great Britain:Crafts Council.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Plano table | Giancarlo Piretti | Anonima Castelli, Italy | 1971

Giancarlo PirettiGiancarlo Piretti
Anonima Castelli, Italy, 1971

The Plano table forms part of the PL series of furnishings designed by Piretti for Anonima Castelli throughout the '60s and into the early '70s. Other designs include the Plia chair, Plona chair, Pluff stool, Platone desk, Planta coat rack and Pluvium umbrella stand.  In 1972 Piretti participated at the exhibition “Italy: the New Domestic Landscape” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York with Plano, Plona, Plia, and Platone.

Plona chairPlona chair.  Image source:  Adesso at 1stdibs.

The Plano table by Giancarlo Piretti was released in two models, one with a round top 72 cm tall and 95 cm in diameter (1971) and another with a square top 72 cm tall and 85 cm on a side (1978).  The table is constructed of reinforced polyester in four sections and diecast aluminium. The legs spread open like a fan, then the four leaf sections are lifted up and lock into place via a spring loaded mechanism. The diecast feet end in plastic glides for mobility.

 Plano table US Patent

The first page of the United States “Folding Table” patent, number 3,779,176. The rest of the patent can be found here.  This is a detailed patent with numerous illustrations of the table and mechanisms.

Round top Plano table

Plano table, white Plano table, white Plano table, white

Plano table, original box The Plano folding table in white in various stages of folding.  Lower picture, the original box.  Image source:  eBay.

Plano table, brown Plano table, brown
Plano table, brown Plano table, brown
The Plano folding table in brown in various stages of folding.  Image source:  1stdibs seller Collage 20th Century Classics.  Item is for sale at $ 2,800.

Plano table, greenPlano table, greenPlano table, greenPlano table, green

Plano table, greenThe Plano folding table in green in various stages of folding.  At upper left is the label on the table.  Image source:  1stdibs seller Gallery 33.  Item is for sale at $4,400 (with 4 Plia chairs).

Plano table, red

The Plano folding table in red.  Image source:  Arcadja Auctions.

Square top Plano tableSquare top Plano table Image source:  Sourcebook of modern furniture (Jerryll Habegger, Joseph H. Osman, p. 218).

Square top Plano table, black Image source:  506070 Design.  Item for sale in Australia, P.O.R.

Square top Plano table, green Image source:  WorthPoint.

Selected Bibliography

Ambasz, E., ed. (1972). Italy: The new domestic landscape:  Achievements and problems of Italian design. New York, NY: Museum of Modern Art, NY.

Osman, J. and Habegger, J., (1997). Sourcebook of modern furniture, Second edition, p. 218. New York, NY: W. W. Norton and Company.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lumitime clock | Various designers | Tamura Electric Corp., Japan | ca. 1970 | UPDATE

LumitimeVarious designers
Tamura Electric Corp., Japan, ca. 1970

An update to my post of March 23, 2009, specifically the CC-11 Lumitime clock.  Here is a CC-11 in orange.  This one has some condition issues.  From the item description, “there is one of the small knob covers missing and sometimes the last digital number seams to flicker on parts of it.”  This Lumitime clock attracted 13 bids and a hammer price of $156.38, closing on February 9, 2010.  Most of the action came in the last couple of minutes, fairly typical of eBay. 

CC-11 Lumitime clock, orange CC-11 Lumitime clock, orange CC-11 Lumitime clock, orange CC-11 Lumitime clock, orange

Image source:  eBay.  From top to bottom:  front view, rear view, label, “starburst” display on clock.

Lumitime auction end screenshot      eBay final bid screenshot for the orange Lumitime CC-11 clock.

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