This collection consists ofcorrespondence, scrapbooks, catalogs, brochures, original drawings, photographs, financial records, resumes, legal documents, magazine articles, business records, press releases, artwork, and samples of boxes, bags, and buttons. Files documenting the company's history include a statement of the company's philosophy and records pertaining to the establishment of new stores in various cities. Project files document the furniture, fabrics, rugs, and accessories imported and design by Design Research, Inc. Bound reprints of articles that appeared in Interiors and International Design magazines are included. Clippings and other records documenting the design and construction of D/R stores are provided in the files pertaining to Benjamin Thompson & Associates, Inc. Also found in these files is a printed and bound presentation copy of Thompson's address, "The Craft of Design and the Art of Building", along with other articles by and about Thompson. Additional information pertaining to D/R's association with Marimekko can be found in the Cooper- Hewitt Design Archive's Marimekko Collection.
Unprocessed. Consists of six record groups: 1) Company history; 2) Office records; 3) Project files; 4) Clippings and Scrapbooks; 5) Benjamin Thompson & Associates, Inc. for D/R; and 6) Photographs.
Retail establishment and product design. Design Research, Inc. (D/R), founded in 1953 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by architect Benjamin Thompson, specialized in the latest post-war products for the modern home. The displays in the stores were considered unique in that they were designed at domestic scale and the products were shown in realistic, homelike arrangements.
Products were sought and selected based on the anticipated preferences of customers, not on traditional retail buying patterns. At the time, the availability of "good design" was limited to wholesale firms such as Herman Miller and Knoll. Thompson was the first to introduce the work of many European and Asian designers to the American retail market, including the work of the design firm of Marimekko for which D/R was the exclusive U.S. represenative. The company also created many of its own products including chairs manufactured by Thonet. D/R later opened stores in New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Thompson's own architectural firm, Benjamin Thompson & Associates, Inc., designed all of the D/R stores. For the San Francisco store, Thomspon renovated the former Ghirardelli Chocolate factory. Even after the stores officially closed in 1978, D/R remained a model for many merchants.
The materials in this collection were donated to Cooper-Hewitt in 1995 by Benjamin and Jane Thompson.
Unprocessed; access is limited. Permission of Library Director required for use.
Furniture design -- United States -- History -- 20th century Search this
This collection covers the period that Ratia was with Marimekko, 1951-1979.It includes scrapbook, press releases, correspondence, brochures, photographs, magazine articles, swatches, and trade catalogs. It contains extensive information about the company's affiliation with D/R and its operations in Finland. It includes a copy of "Phenomenon Marimekko," the catalog from a comprehensive exhibition that was held at the Museum of Applied Arts in Helsinki in 1986. The collection contains legal correspondence and contracts pertaining to D/R's representation of Marimekko in the United States, as well as numerous swatches, sample books, brochures for stockholders, and trade catalogs. Files pertaining to Marimekko's work in Finland is mostly in Finnish and consists of brochures, posters, articles, and sample books, as well as a copy of the publication, "Design in Finland 1983."Additional information on Marimekko's association with D/R can be found in the Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive's Design Research, Inc. Collection.
Unprocessed. This collection consists of six record groups: 1) Company history and background information; 2) Marimekko/Design Research, Inc. Correspondence; 3) Marimekko Finland; 4) Scrapbooks and press clippings; 5) Swatches and samples; and 6) Photographs.
Finnish fabric manufacturer and retail chain. The company's chief designer was Armi Ratia (1912-1979), who was known for her use of vibrant colors and large patterns. She first joined her husband's design firm, Printex, in 1949. In 1951, the company was renamed Marimekko, which means "a little dress for Mary" in Finnish. During the 1960s and '70s, the firm manufactured cotton, jersey, and wool fabrications, along with paper, laminated plastics, and table coverings. Ratia was known for designing free, easy fashions in bold painterly designs taking much of her inspiration from nature and handicraft.
Ben Thompson, the founder of the retail establishment Design Reseaach, Inc. (D/R), discovered Ratia's designs at the Finnish Pavilion of the Brussels World Fair in 1957, and persuaded her to come to the United States. D/R became the exclusive representative of Marimekko products in the U.S. Today, through franchises worldwide, Marimekko stores sell simple clothing for women and children, as well as household accessories and furniture.
Location of Other Archival Materials Note:
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Textiles Department. 28 printed textiles designed by or for Marimekko.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Wallcoverings Department. One samplebook.
Marimekko Homepage. Additional information on the history of the company and its activities today can be found on Marimekko's homepage: http://www.marimekko.fi/.
The materials in this collection were donated to Cooper-Hewitt in 1975 by Benjamin and Jane Thompson.