2011 44¢ Pioneers of American Industrial Design –
Issue Date: June 29, 2011
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
As with many early designers, Russel Wright (1904-1976) began his career in theater, working under Norman Bel Geddes. By the end of the 1920s, he was working out of his own studio. Wright soon became, quite literally, a household name. His “Russel Wright” signature was engraved on the bottom of every piece of American Modern dinnerware, the most popular set sold in U.S. history.
American Modern exemplified one of Wright’s basic concepts: that the comfort of a home began at the kitchen table. “A home carefully planned around the requirements of your own family will provide much richer satisfactions,” he wrote. The set was colorful, with distinctly curved shapes.
Wright, along with his wife, Mary, also designed home furniture, which often featured what Mary called “blonde” wood frames (light, yellow-toned wood). Their 1950 book called “A Guide to Easy Living” featured many of Wright’s visions of home planning, as well as lifestyle.
Wright incorporated “Easy Living” principles in a self-designed home called Dragon Rock, in New York’s Hudson Valley. The house is built on a 75-acre estate named Manitoga. Now a National Historic Landmark, it is a lasting testament to Wright’s impact upon the American lifestyle.