April 18, 2014

WHOA, Edward Durell Stone Kids Furniture Exists


Architect Edward Durell Stone designed MoMA, the Kennedy Center, and the house next door to us on the Upper East Side, but I had no idea he ever designed kids furniture. Yet here some is.


In 1969 Stone built the Orlando headquarters for Tupperware, and it looks like he also threw in a kid-sized (twin) bed/desk, chair and toybox for the TupperToys showroom. [See the Shape-O ball and Zoo-it-Yourself animals on the desktop and in the box? We totally had those things growing up. I would close the Shape-O ball on my brother's finger like a marauding clam.]


Anyway, what we see here is oak and veneer, with a little more wear than you'd expect from a showroom piece, but less than you'd get from a kid's desk that's actually been used for 40+ years. It seems that one of the executives at Tupperware rescued the Stone furniture in 1993 when the company was tanking [and was apparently preparing to sell the Stone building to the Country Music Association for a retirement home? Did this happen?]


And now it can be yours, for the ambitious opening bid of $3,000 ($3,750 with premium) at Heritage Auction's 20th/21st Century Design sale next Wednesday. 4/24 UPDATE: Give them a call if you like; it seems they didn't sell.


I gotta say, the bed and chair are nice, but a bit clunky. Buy them for their rarity and historical significance, ahem. The toybox is a freebie. Honestly, it looks like a Popular Mechanics project to me. And I say that as a fan of both Stone and Popular Mechanics projects.


What's more interesting, though, are some of the toys in the old Ezra Stoller photo up top: like the Mr. Potatohead-looking snap-together animals in the toybox. And the mod, Mondrian-ish dollhouse on the corner shelf. Not sure if that's Stone or Tupperware, but it looks like a party.


Lot 62083, 23 Apr 2014: EDWARD DURELL STONE (American, 1902-1978). Children's Bed, Desk and Chair Set with Toy Box, 1969, est. $4-6,000 [ha.com]
Previously: Tupperware Noah's Ark triggers flood of childhood memories

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