Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Digging through the crates

When I was asked for a quote from Paul McCobb to put into the brochure for Reform Gallery’s Paul McCobb/Directional Design exhibit at the Los Angeles Antiques Show I figured that it wouldn’t be too difficult finding something appropriate. I wasn’t exactly hard pressed for material after all. McCobb was interviewed frequently during the 50’s and 60’s and I have literally thousands of articles to choose from. The challenge was to find something simple, succinct and to the point. 

As it turns out much of McCobb’s interviews are not at all about design or process but rather tend towards giving helpful hints to homemakers. In fact there is an entire series of articles doing just that, making suggestions to homemakers about how to go about decorating their homes; tips and tricks to aid in providing a “light, airy and spacious” home in a time of shrinking rooms and diminishing scale of the household environment. Great stuff from a historical standpoint, but not exactly sexy. 

McCobb was also a great champion of the American contemporary furniture movement, defending it repeatedly in print. His being one of the prime moving forces behind this faction of American designers it’s easy to understand why he would speak frequently and passionately about the design trend of which he was such an integral part. 

Unfortunately this material was not what I was looking for. What I really wanted was some few words or a phrase which would sum up Paul McCobb in a nutshell. Finding this was turning out to be not quite so easy as I thought it would be. But, as I’ve learned through the past few years doing this research, persistence pays, and after scanning through the material at my disposal for some time I finally found something which was EXACTLY what I was looking for, a precise summation of everything I knew Paul McCobb to be.


"Design appeal is based on integrity of form, simplicity of line, and true organic function."

- Paul McCobb

Interiors July, 1952

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