centralasian (centralasian) wrote,

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____________________[PRO] Wendell Castle & Plastic Fantastic

Selections of design creations by Wendell Castle, from the exhibit AutoPlastic.

надо заметить, что весть этот дизайн создавался 30-40 лет назад. даже сейчас это всё выглядит неплохо, а для того времени это должен был быть фурор.

сродни "жёлтой подводной лодке", сродни архитектурной группе... эээ? забыл, надо будет потом вписать.

ещё пара работ:

и статья, в которой рассказывается про дизайнера -

Plastic Fantastic

A giddy tingle traveled through the crowd of more than 150 design journalists, art collectors, and interior designers who gathered at the R 20th Century gallery last week for a celebrity roast of sorts: the long-awaited unveiling of a long-lost chapter in the design career of internationally known artist and furniture craftsman Wendell Castle.

Like a scene from the 1950s television show "This is Your Life," Castle, known mostly for his fine wood craftsmanship and organically-shaped designs, looked on as the crowd swooned over AutoPlastic: Wendell Castle, 1968-1973, an historic reunion of a rare series of candy-colored plastic designs from the 1960s that few scholars or collectors even knew about.

"Most people are not aware of this body of work" he said of the mostly one of a kind molded fiberglass chairs and tables sprayed with high-gloss high-volume car paints that lined the main floor of the gallery, a series he stopped producing in 1973 when the oil crisis made it financially impossible to produce plastics. "The response has been incredible."

Castle is among the most innovative of the American craft masters of the mid-century, and along with designers George Nakashima and Sam Maloof, forged new ways to use woods in modern design while many of their peers experimented with plastics and man-made materials.

But Castle became interested in experimenting with the plastics his European contemporaries were using in the 1960s and launched what became the "Molar" series of chairs produced by the manufacturer Beylerian. And it is those designs, based on teeth that collectors are familiar with. But few knew of the lamps, shelves, or tables in the now-revived collection in the current exhibit made of fiberglass-reinforced polyester, last seen in a 1970 show at the Lee Nordess Gallery in New York. While all had been photographed for long out of print catalogues and design books, they were an enigma not only for their stunning beauty and innovation, but nobody seemed to know where they were. It turns out they were stored in Castle’s barn upstate gathering dust.

Enter Evan Snyderman and Zesty Meyers of the R Gallery, the Frank and Joe Hardy of mid-century modern history, who have a knack for discovering long lost pieces of the puzzle, and who introduced (or reintroduced) pop design legend Verner Panton to a new generation in a landmark exhibit in 2001.

"Every one of these pieces belong in a museum," says Zesty. Apart from the Molar series, he adds, "this exhibit is his entire body of plastic work."

"There is nothing like the R Gallery in the country," says Castle of the two young gallery owners who spent two years collaborating with the designer on the current show. "They approach and edit their shows like a museum."

A Google search for the name Wendell Castle proves that his name has not (and had not) fallen into obscurity at any point in his career - he’s simply long been associated with another body of work where he has earned great accolades. In 1987 he was commissioned by the Steinway piano company to create their 500,000th piano for their 135th anniversary. In 1994 he was given the "Visionaries of the American Craft Movement" award sponsored by the American Craft Museum. He has a 1997 Gold Medal from the American Craft Council. In the high craft world he is a god.

And so what does it feel like to be "outed" for his Austin Powers years?

"In the end it was well worth it," said Castle of the shiny lamps that looked as fresh as the day they were made in 1968, and seemed to wow the crowd of young designers who lamented that they had been MIA for so long. "I love the outrageousness of all of it," he said, "especially the colors. I would like to revisit some of these pieces. They don’t look dated at all."

"The colors are incredibly fresh," said New York Magazine editor Rima Suqi. "I’m shocked that they’ve been stored away for so long."

Everything old is new again. It looks like Mid-century modernism has a new rock star.

(AutoPlastic: Wendell Castle, 1968-1973, curated by Donald Albrecht and designed by Claudia Dias, at the R Gallery, 82 Franklin Street, New York, 212-343-7979.)

By Chip Cordelli, Fashion Wire Daily, May 01, 2004.

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