Author(s): Michael Maharam
An intimate monograph of the professional and personal creations of a midcentury design legend. Irving Harper is the most famous designer you have never heard of. Working as an associate at the office of George Nelson in the 1950s and '60s, Harper was responsible for such icons of midcentury design as the Marshmallow sofa, the Ball clock, and numerous Herman Miller textile designs. Harper's unrecognized contribution to this seminal era of design, and his incredible paper sculptures (made in his spare time to "relieve stress"), are presented for the first time in this book. An essay by design critic Julie Lasky introduces Harper's commercial design work, recognizable designs from graphics to domestic goods to furniture that are still coveted and appreciated today, designed for the offices of Raymond Loewy, George Nelson, and then his own studio Harper + George. The second part of the book documents Harper's extensive paper sculptures, which have never been exhibited. More than three hundred works fill Harper's house and barn in Rye, New York, where this array of fantastical people and animal sculptures was created from modest and inexpensive materials as diverse as spaghetti and toothpicks in addition to paper. Images of Harper's home, filled with furniture and objects of his own design as well as his paper sculptures, offer a rare glimpse into a Modern design enthusiast's paradise.Offering insight into an important era of American design as well as the prolific output of a creative mind, this book promises to be the first to recognize Irving Harper's contribution to the field and will appeal to fans of Modern design.
Michael Maharam is the CEO of Maharam, a recipient of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Design Patron, and the author of Maharam Agenda. Julie Lasky is Deputy Editor, Home at the New York Times and was formerly the editor-in-chief of I.D. and Interiors.