When Ben Thompson opened Design Research in Boston in 1953, his innovative store became synonymous with modern interior design, lighting a public spark that still burns today, though the store itself is no longer. When the mass-produced furniture of impersonal department stores reigned supreme, this boutique retailer dared to provide a learned yet unpretentious environment for sleek design. Today, Design Research's legacy can be seen in the showrooms of Crate & Barrel and Design Within Reach. Through interviews, anecdotes and lush photographs, Design Research documents the array of household objects and furniture introduced to the American home through the legendary store that made good design available to all.
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Jane Thompson is an urbanist--designer and planner-who has spent her thirty-year career creating successful and well-loved places that contribute to the vitality and identity of cities worldwide, such as Dublin, Cardiff, Amsterdam, and Tokyo. Since 1994, she has been principal of Thompson Design Group in Boston, whose projects include Navy Pier in Chicago, the Grand Central District and Times Square Center in New York, the North Coast Harbor plan in Cleveland, and the Redevelopment Master Plan for Houston's Buffalo Bayou. Jane graduated from Vassar College and pursued graduate studies at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. She then worked for the Museum of Modern Art and became acting assistant curator in the Department of Architecture. This was followed by positions as architecture editor of Interiors magazine and founding editor of Industrial Design (now I.D.). In the late 1960s Jane became co-owner of Design Research, Inc., founded by her late husband, architect Benjamin Thompson. With Thompson, she conceived and designed Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace and numerous waterfront restorations in the United States and abroad. She has been a board member of the International Design Conference in Aspen, the Institute for Urban Design, and the Waterfront Center in Washington, D.C. Jane chairs the Gropius House Advisory Committee in Lincoln, Massachusetts. She has received numerous awards for her work, including a lifetime achievement award from the Industrial Design Society of America and Institute Honors from the AIA. In 2000, Jane and Ben Thompson were each named Knight First Class, Order of the Lion of Finland.
Alexandra Lange is a critic, journalist and architectural historian based in Brooklyn, and her work has appeared in The Architect's Newspaper, Icon, Metropolis, New York Magazine and The New York Times. She teaches architecture criticism in the D-Crit Program at SVA and the Urban Design & Architecture Studies Program at NYU.
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