Monday, August 9, 2010

The Tubular and Outdoor Designs of Walter Lamb!

Well we’ve off and done it again: we’ve chosen a Mid-Century Modern designer who's work we adore, but whom we can find hardly any information about! This time, we’re rather surprised by the lack of information. The name Walter Lamb is hardly a stranger to us—we’ve known and loved his designs for a long time. But, we had no idea just what a recluse this designer must have been during his life for us to barely be able to find any information about him.

We’re not kidding. We’re not really sure where he’s from or where he died or where he did his schooling (if he even went to school for design). We do know he created much of his fabulous modern furniture in the 1930’s and 1940’s (actually a little bit before the popular time period known as the Mid-Century). In fact, of all the designers out there, Lamb’s work followed quite a specific path of inspiration, and therefore is quite recognizable.

As the story goes, Walter Lamb was experimenting with bronze and copper tubing salvaged from sunken naval ships at Pearl Harbor (how cool is that?) when he stumbled upon the design ideas that would make him and his work famous. It’s at this time that he developed the actual prototypes for his outdoor collection that are still produced today—they’ve now reached iconic status.

His signature tubular furniture is quite simplistic—but also incredibly classic. He created relaxing, curvy shapes of outdoor furniture pieces: lounge chairs, seating, dining tables, benches and more, by combining the salvaged bronze and copper with canvas and yacht rope. The result is ultra-cool, ultra-comfy outdoor seating that is actually pretty darn weather-proof.

You better believe the originals of his work, the metals of which have taken on quite the natural and fabulous patina, are worth quite a pretty penny. Working with the 1940’s manufacturer Brown Jordan, they put out a lot of his work, but still prices are high. Thankfully, the modern furniture company Design Within Reach sells acceptable reproductions of Walter Lamb pieces (though the prices aren’t that much better). Whether an original or a reproduction, Walter Lamb’s pieces are worth every penny!

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