The Philadelphia Museum of Art
will present Richard Schultz: Five Decades of Design, a small selection of works by the celebrated designer of outdoor furniture on the Perelman Building's Café Terrace. The works date from the early 1960s to the present day, and reflect the designers interest in sculptural form, innovative materials, and their relationship to man and the environment. The installation will include approximately twelve works by Schultz, who will inaugurate the exhibition and deliver the Collab Spring Lecture on Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. in the Perelman Building Media Room. The annual lecture is presented by Collab, the Group for Modern and Contemporary Design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
As our thoughts turn to the outdoors with the onset of springtime, it seems particularly appropriate to welcome designer Richard Schultz for the annual Collab lecture, and to share some of his works with our visitors, Kathryn Hiesinger, Curator of Decorative Arts after 1700, said. His outdoor furniture is compelling in part because it has been and continues to be at the defining edge of what is formally and technologically modern.
From the high modernist style he helped to define in the 1960s to his more recent work in cast aluminum forms, Schultz has been an influential figure in his field. Educated as a mechanical engineer and industrial designer at Iowa State University and the Design Institute of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Schultz joined Knoll Associates in New York in 1951. He was hired to assist Bertoia in developing an outdoor furniture collection, most famously creating the "petal" table (1960) and leisure collection (1966), winners of numerous awards. Schultz's sculptural sensibility and love of elegant lines pervade his designs. His furniture is also highly attuned to natural surroundings, whether on a terrace, or by a pool, and is artfully engineered for the rigors of environment and climate.
I am interested in form, primarily, Schultz has said, but also in materials because they lead to new forms. He admires Shaker designs and furniture by Charles and Ray Eames. Striving for simplicity in his own work, in recent years Schultz has worked increasingly with anodized and coated aluminum sheet metal, materials that allow him to create especially subtle forms. Schultz launched his own company with his son Peter in 1992, reissuing his Knoll classics along with such new designs as "Topiary" (1996) and "Wing" (2008).