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Inside Steven Alan

A Look at Plywood: Material, Process, Form

  • February 3rd, 2012 | Events

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    On a recent trip to MoMA, we swung by Plywood: Material, Process, Form, an ongoing installation. The exhibit celebrates the woodworking medium and highlights several now iconic designs. Plywood earned a unique place in 20th century design history as a lightweight, flexible, yet durable material that afforded new possibilities in design and manufacturing.  Once described as “a layercake of lumber and glue,” its ability to be molded into a variety of fluid forms literally helped shape the modern aesthetic, and in the process opened up opportunities for mass production.   Championed by innovative designers from Alvar Aalto to Charles and Ray Eames,  it lends itself particularly well to organic, ergonomic shapes. It has been used to create everything from furniture, prefabricated homes, medical equipment, and even aviation design.

    This leaf platter by Finnish designer and sculptor Tapio Wirkkala was declared the Most Beautiful Object of 1952 by House Beautiful.

    Japanese designer Sori Yanagi’s Butterfly Stool, bottom left, fuses two pieces of plywood with just two screws and one brass stretcher, and also brings an Eastern aesthetic to the medium.

    Mounted on the wall are medical braces.  In the 1940′s, the US Navy commissioned the Eameses to create leg splints made from plywood, which absorbed vibration and conformed to the contours of the leg far better than metal varieties commonly used at the time.

    You can check out more information about the exhibit here.

    This entry was posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at 7:49 pm and is filed under Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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