Chrysler Building

The skyscraper served as a powerful image which many designers used to symbolize a new found freedom from the constraints of the past. Soaring vertical lines, often juxtaposed against a stable, solid horizontal plane, suggests a daring faith in the future, yet signifies a firm grounding in the reality of the present.

Paul T. Frankl, a pioneer of the "skyscraper design", created a line of furniture which displays a series of stacked figures resembling the low, boxy background upon which the Manhattan skyline rests. The influence of this type of verticality drove many others to design other types of furniture, household items and drawings representing the premium placed on the linear height of the skyscraper, as shown in this display.

Click on Picture

from J. Stewart Johnson, American Modern 1925-1940: Design for a New Age. (New York: Abrams, 2000), 46-63.

by Chuck Holmgren AS@UVA, Fall '02