Back to School Part 3: Cranbrook Academy of Art

Sometimes called the “Cradle of American Modernism,” the Cranbrook Academy of Art boasts such prestigious alumni as Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Florence Knoll, Charles Eames, and Ray Eames.

The Academy of Art was founded by George Gough Booth and Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen in 1932. From the beginning, the foundation was built using the latest ideals in art and architecture. Eliel Saarinen’s Brookside School Cranbrook, Institute of Science, Academy Art Museum, and Library buildings are still in use today and remain the most complete examples of the celebrated architect’s work.


 Cranbrook Art Academy, Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.

Some say the seeds for American Modernism were born at Cranbrook, since some of the key innovators of the movement met while studying and teaching there. It was at Cranbrook that Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames began their long and fruitful friendship, and it was also here that a student named Ray Kaiser fell madly in love with her industrial design professor. Cranbrook is where Harry Bertoia learned to work with wire and metal, and the place that Florence Knoll studied furniture design. The list goes on.

Below we feature some of the artists and works that were born from the rich artistic community of the Cranbrook Academy of Art.


Interior of the Saarinen House on the Cranbrook campus, designed by Eliel Saarinen in the early 1920s. Photo courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.


Eliel and Loja Saarinen’s home studio, designed by Eliel Saarinen. Photo courtesy of Dula Notes.


Prototype tea urn by Eliel Saarinen, 1934. Photo courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Cranbrook Tower and Quadrangle, designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1927, Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.


Florence Knoll with Eero Saarinen at Cranbrook in 1947. Photo courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.


Jewelry designed by Harry Bertoia during his time at Cranbrook, early 1940s. Photo courtesy of Scoop on Design.


Jewelry designed by Harry Bertoia during his time at Cranbrook, early 1940s. Photo courtesy of Scoop on Design.


David B. Runnells with Eero and Eliel Saarinen on the Steps of Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1941. Photo by Charles Eames.


Eliel Saarinen with Le Corbusier on Academy Way. Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.


The Orpheus Fountain by Carl Milles, 1936. Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.

Eames Drawings

Architecture sketch by Charles Eames for the Case Study House Program, 1941. Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives.


Organic Armchair, a collaboration of Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen for the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” design competition at the Museum of Modern Art. 1940. Photo courtesy of the Vitra Design Museum.

By |September 18th, 2014| Comment

BYVM X Modernica Contest Submissions

The submissions have been pouring in for the Blank You Very Much X Modernica contest! We’re thrilled with the creative and original thinking as contestants create their own Fiberglass Shell Chair designs. Want to design a Fiberglass Shell Chair for yourself? Get inspired by some of the submissions below and submit your own today! Submissions will end on the 28th of September, 2014.

You can see more contest submissions on our Pinterest Page. Keep ‘em coming!

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By |September 17th, 2014|1 Comment

Introducing the Krink Fiberglass Shell Chair

Modernica and Krink have teamed up to bring a new color with a unique shimmer to a California design icon. Understated and neutral at first-glance, a closer look reveals the Krink Fiberglass Side-Shell shines in classic Krink silver. The individual strands of fiberglass catch and hold the silver-pigments producing a soft luster with changing light and perspective.


As two companies who produce handmade goods in the USA, we are extremely pleased with this collaborative work that sees New York City and Los Angeles sensibilities perfectly combined. The Krink Fiberglass Side-Shell chair comes in Krink silver with solid walnut dowels, black wire and embossed plate underneath featuring the Krink logo. This open-edition product is available at the Modernica Showroom or on our website.

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By |September 16th, 2014|2 Comments

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