Our Designers

Designer Bios

As an auction house, we deal in a wide spectrum of designers – consigned to us on the grounds that they fall beneath the umbrella of Modernism. That being said, there are specific designers that we carry more often than others and among this group there are a handful that command our personal enthusiasm:

Edward Wormley

Edward Wormley

1907-1995 (b. Rochelle, Illinois, USA)
Education: Art Institute of Chicago

Wormley began designing furniture in the late twenties, employed at Marshall Field's design studio in Chicago. In the early thirties he was hired by Dunbar, a company famous for hand-made production in an increasingly automated industry. His designs were well received and heavily publicized. He later opened is own office in New York in the mid forties, while continuing to consult for Dunbar. He produced the "Precedent" collection for the Drexel Furniture Company. He met great success following the production of the "Janus" series under a renewed commitment to Dunbar. His work was featured in Playboy in 1961.

Tommi Parzinger

1903-1981 (b. Munich, Germany)
Education: Kunstgewebeschule (School of Arts and Crafts)

Parzinger began working on a freelance basis in Germany – designing ceramics, furniture, lighting, textiles, and wallpaper – he later moved to the United States in the early thirties, shortly after winning a contest for a steamship company (North German Lloyd) for designing a poster, and settled in New York three years later (1938).

Parzinger is associated with Charak of Boston, Doryln, Rena Rosenthal (Smart Furniture and Accessories Shop), Parzinger Inc (later renamed "Parzinger Originals"), Salterini, Hofstatter Willow & Reed.

Tommi Parzinger
Karl Springer

Karl Springer

1931-1991 (b. Germany)

Springer emigrated to New York in the late fifties with the intention of becoming a bookbinder. Instead he created decorative objects covered in animal skins using innovative methods while employed at Lord & Taylor. His designs attracted the attention of a Bergdorf Goodman buyer resulting in growing attention from a discerning clientele.

In the early sixties he opened a small workshop and began focusing on designing furniture. The Duchess of Windsor secured the success of his business, openly praising his designs to people of influence.

He is renowned for his pursuit of quality, his innovative methods and his use of a wide spectrum of materials.

Paul Evans

1931-1987 (b. Newton, Pennsylvania, USA)
Education: Philadelphia Textile Institute; Rochester Institute of Technology

Evans began crafting copper chests and sculpted steel-front cabinets in the fifties. He was one of two designers featured in an exhibition at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York (formerly known as a The Museum of Contemporary Crafts) titled "America House" in 1961.

Consistently signing his work, he insisted his pieces be produced by hand and supervised their production personally – establishing industry precedents in anticipation of the limited edition art furniture of today. He is associated with Directional Furniture, producing a number of furniture lines including his Argente series, Cityscape series, and Sculpted Bronze series. He contributed heavily to the American Craft Movement of the seventies.

Paul Evans
Harvey Probber

Harvey Probber

1922-2003 (b. Brooklyn, New York, USA)
Education: Studied design informally at Pratt Institute

A self-taught modernist, inspired by plane geometry, Probber designed his first piece of furniture, a sofa, at the age of 16 – the design sold for $10.

He established his own furniture company, Harvey Probber Inc., in 1945 after a brief stint as a cabaret singer following his service in the United States Coastguard. His designs frequently featured understated modern lines softened with warm finishes, delicate hardware and bright colors. He once noted that his use of decoration was intended as a service to his clients, who weren't always content with modernism's academic purities. He is credited for the invention of sectional / modular seating in 1944.

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

1905-1976 (b. London, UK)
Education: Studied architecture at London University

Ensuing a brief stint as a naval architect designing ocean liner interiors, Robsjohn-Gibbings worked as an art director for a motion picture studio. In the mid twenties he worked as a salesman dealing in Elizabethan and Jacobean furniture, working accounts of notable prominence (e.g. Elizabeth Arden, Neiman Marcus).

He opened a shop on Madison Avenue in New York in the mid-thirties. His aesthetic is commonly described as a modern mixture of Ancient Grecian and Art Deco design. He was considered the most important decorator in America during the late thirties and forties, designing homes across the nation for the likes of Alfred A. Knopf, Doris Duke, and Thelma Chrysler Foy. He worked as a designer for Widdicomb from 1943–56. He met Susan and Eleftherios Saridis in 1960, eventually collaborating on the popular Klismos line. He became a designer for Aristotle Onassis, following his move to Athens.

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Charles Eames

1907-1978 (St. Louis, Missouri, USA)
Education: Studied architecture at Washington University and Cranbrook Academy of Art

Ray Eames

1912-1988 (Sacramento, California, USA)
Education: Studied at Bennett School and Cranbrook Academy of Art

Having accrued experience in engineering, drawing, and architecture while working at Laclede Steel Company during his high school years, Charles Eames went on to attend university on an architecture scholarship. His collegiate attendance was short-lived – some claim he was dismissed for his interest in modern architecture, while others claim his employment as an architect at Trueblood and Graf had a detrimental effect on his performance.

Eames

Charles constructed his own practice in partnership with Charles Gray in 1930 – a third partner, Walter Pauley, joined shortly thereafter. Following an invitation by one of his influences, Eliel Saarinen (a Finnish architect), Charles moved to further study architecture, eventually becoming a teacher and the head of the industrial design department at Cranbrook. With the assistance of Eliel's son Eero, Charles designed furniture for the Museum of Modern Art in New York – their submissions, demonstrating the practical application of wood molding (a new technique originally developed by Alvar Aalto), earned awards in a competition titled "Organic Design in Home Furnishings". Eame's use of this technique would eventually play a crucial role in the development of products to be used by the U.S. Navy during the second world war.

Following the divorce of his first wife, Charles married Ray Kaiser (a Cranbrook colleague) and settled in Los Angeles, California, where they constructed the celebrated Eames House for Art & Architecture's 8th "Case Study".

An artist, designer and filmmaker, Ray studied abstract expressionism with Hans Hofman prior to meeting Charles. She is also credited for founding the American Abstract Artists group, designing numerous covers for Arts & Architecture magazine, and creating a body of textiles from which two were selected to be produced by the prestigious Schiffer Prints.

The operation of their office spanned the course of four decades – during which they pioneered with designs executed in molded plywood wood, fiberglass, plastic resin, and wire mesh. Among their accomplishments are the celebrated DCW, DCM, Eames Lounge Chair, Aluminum Group Furniture, and Eames Chaise.

Vladimir Kagan

1927-, (Worms on the Rhine, Germany)
Education: Studied architecture at Columbia University

Kagan moved to the United States in 1938. Shortly after his time at university he began working in his father's woodworking shop, learning the craft of furniture making. He opened a shop of his own in New York in the late forties. His shop catered to the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Walt Disney, and Gary Cooper. His work is collected extensively by celebrated presences in the world of art, theater, entertainment, and industry. His sought after pieces have enjoyed extensive publication.

Vladimir Kagan

Other Designers Featured

Fratelli Toso
  • Charak Furniture Co.
  • Johnson Furniture Co.
  • Jay Spectre
  • Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin
  • Harry Bertoia
  • Phillip & Kelvin Laverne
  • Paul Evans
  • Herman Miller
  • Knoll
  • Poul Kjaerholm
  • Paavo Tynell
  • Finn Juhl
  • Hans Wegner
  • Jean Royere
  • Jean Prouve
  • Louis Durot
  • Venini
  • Cenedese
  • Barovier & Toso
  • Claude Conover, Marcello Fantoni
  • Guido Gambone
  • Cenedese
  • Angelo Mangiarotti
  • Ettore Sottsass
  • Droog
  • Marcel Wanders
  • Tejo Remy
  • Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti
  • Philippe Starck