Though plenty of architects turn their attentions to furniture, few can claim authorship of a proper classic. Ralph Rapson, the Minnesotan modernist who designed the original Guthrie Theater and scores of other midwestern gems, is one. His Rapson line for Knoll in 1945 helped bring American modernism into post-war homes. A new show, starting Friday, November 4th at Archer, Washington D.C.'s leading showroom for 20th-century design, celebrates Rapson for his contributions to the art of the chair. The show, "Ralph Rapson: The Architect as Chair Designer", offers a glimpse of Rapson's works, like the Rapson rocker, but also demonstrates what a spectacular draftsman Rapson was. If architecture ever let him down, Rapson could easily have found work as a New Yorker cartoonist. And it was in part his drawings that led him to win the lounge chair design contest Dwell sponsored with Blu Dot in 2007. Have a look at his stellar work and try to get into the exhibition.
November 1, 2011