Friday, November 13, 2009

Dig This Hipster's Decor From A Library's Store

Have you always wanted a crazy, copacetic crib but your pad screams strictly squaresville? Are you a cool cat or a hot chick with style galore but not much bread in store? Well you're in luck. Indiana's Elkhart Public Library is having a furniture sale.

Normally a library is about the last place you'd expect to find retro-cool, Mid-Century Modern furniture but this one is the exception. The Elkhart Public Library moved into a modernist building in March of 1963, and the original furnishings included Herman Miller and Jens Risom desks, credenzas, tables and chairs, and Eames fiberglass chairs. Some of the library's furnishings have been in storage for years, while others have remained in use. Beginning November 16, 2009 bids will be accepted in an online auction for hundreds of these interior design icons of the fabulous 50's. Such minimalist chic furnishings are now coveted by interior designers, and sought after by collectors.

The Elkhart Library's website offers a complete listing of all the items to go on the block. The most amazing lot up for grabs has to be the 174 (!) fiberglass Eames Auditorium Stack Chairs. There are also 16 other Eames Shell Chairs for sale, making this a truly astonishing collection of items from perhaps the most influential interior designer of the post World War II era.

Charles Eames designed his organically-shaped, one-piece chair seat in response to a 1948 international competition for low cost furniture designs sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art. His was the competition's winning entry, which guaranteed a contract for production through retailer Herman Miller. The original Eames shell prototype was a stamped metal bucket seat, but ultimately the commercial product became the first mass-produced molded plastic chair. The Eames shell chairs were made from a revolutionary material: fiberglass-reinforced polyester.

The Winter 1950-51 issue of Everyday Art Quarterly waxed poetic about the chair that made the most of modern industrial technology: "The new Eames plastic chair is a dream fulfilled--a dream made possible because of recent technological developments in the field of plastics. The plastic is practically indestructible--it is warm to the touch, mar proof, and unbelievably light in weight. Its soft luster gives it a feeling of warmth and translucency that lends an almost magical quality to the play of light through the flowing unbroken surfaces of the shell." That's enough to make even Benjamin Braddock reconsider a career in chemical compounds.
So all you hep cats out there -- scare up some scratch, and bid early, bid often, bid high at the Elkhart Library auction to win a piece of that supermurgitroid Mid-Century Modern pie. It really is too much, and you're sure to dig it the most, baby.

1 comment:

  1. If something can survive for 40 years, then it is likely to be collectible--cars and books, included.


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