The California Design book, edited by Wendy Kaplan, is the first comprehensive study of mid-century modern California design to offer new ideas about the furniture, ceramics, graphic and industrial design, architecture, metalwork, textiles, and fashion produced in the Golden State. Accompanying a major exhibition, California Design, 1930–1965: “Living in a Modern Way" organized by LACMA, this book takes the California of our imagination—a utopia where a moderate climate permitted life to be led informally and largely outdoors—and demonstrates how this was translated into a style that defined an era.
The book begins by tracing the origins of a distinctively California modernism in the 1930s through émigrés such as Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra, influences from Asia and Mexico, and the role of innovative design schools. It then explores the design breakthroughs made possible by the conversion of World War II technologies to peace-time use, exemplified by the plywood and fiberglass furniture developed by Charles and Ray Eames. A burgeoning, newly prosperous population turned California into America’s most important center for progressive architecture and furnishings in the postwar years.
The book focuses on the modern California home, famously characterized by open plans and indoor/outdoor living and furnished with products from companies such as Heath Ceramics, Van Keppel-Green, and Architectural Pottery. Other furnishings were produced by previously unheralded designers and companies whose work will be a revelation to readers. The last chapter explores how “The California Look” was disseminated by exhibitions, magazines, and stores throughout America and the world. With ten interrelated essays written by leading design historians and 350 striking photographs and rare archival images, this will become the definitive book about California design.
- Hardbound only
- 9-1/2 x 12 inches, 360 pages
- 350 illustrations, 250 in color
Front cover adapted from original design by Saul Bass for Capitol Records Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color, 1956.
© EMI Group Limited – Capitol Records. Courtesy Saul Bass Estate.