Alvin Lustig The Lustig Chair

Alvin Lustig, known as a graphic designer and typography designer, also dabbled in designing furniture. After moving back to Los Angeles following a two-year relocation in New York City, Alvin Lustig was commissioned by Paramount Furniture to create this chair. Called the Lustig chair, the chair is created with molded plywood creating a graceful, curvy flow. This midcentury design is upholstered in multiple colors, including a dark, military green and a vibrant orange (seen in the featured image). The chair rests on strategic metal legs that are painted and designed with strict angles that contrast the soft curve of the chair. The pattern made by the stiff metal legs are reminiscent of his work with New Directions in the New Classics reprint series where he was inspired by modern artists like Miro. Paramount Furniture, which started in California, worked directly with Alvin Lustig to design the modern piece of furniture and produce it to finish. The goal of the piece, in Alvin’s eyes, was to challenge Eero Saarinen. Eero is a Finnish furniture designer, who is known for his “Womb Chair” design. Our very own James B. Hunt library owns an Eero Saarinen chair and it is on display in the graduate students lounge. The Womb chair has one design problem, the production cost of the chair is through the roof. Alvin decided to design his chair in two parts nested in a metal frame with molded plywood in order to lower production costs. Interestingly, only 50 of these chairs were produced. Alvin Lustig’s ideology on furniture design is that people should be surrounded by good design. That good design would promote a creative lifestyle, encouraging imagination and innovation. Alvin took this to heart and created all of his own spaces with the same principles. In the photographs of his office and studio, the Lustig Chair can be seen within the modern room. The reason I chose this chair as part of Alvin’s portfolio is because I am very intrigued by midcentury furniture design. My freshman year in my first graphic design studio, we were tasked to design a poster for a chair we found in Hunt Library. I decided to design around Hans Wegner’s Shell Chair which also has molded plywood as its structure. This chair reminded me of all the other designs that I was opened up to during my research phase in this project. I am also just simply intrigued by Alvin Lustig’s sheer amount of work he created in about 20 years and how he found time and inspiration to stray from graphic design and typography into furniture design.

 

“Alvin Lustig: Practical Elegance.” Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA), 28 Feb. 2017, lamodern.com/2017/04/alvin-lustig-practical-elegance/.
“Alvin Lustig.” Alvin Lustig, Modern American Design Pioneer 1915-1955, Kind Company LLC, www.alvinlustig.com/index.php.
Heller, Steven, and Elaine Lustig Cohen. Born Modern: the Life and Design of Alvin Lustig. Chronicle Books, 2010.