Photo from The Boston Globe.
A few weeks ago as I was rushing through Harvard Square, a glint of Marimekko fabric caught my eye. Could it be!? A huge Marimekko flagship store in Harvard Square!? Too good to be true, although there is a Marimekko concept store in Cambridge. I had forgotten about it completely, until I read an article in the Globe about the Design Research installation at the Design Research building in Harvard Square.
D/R in 1972 (photo found on Flickr.)
I was unfamiliar with Design Research, but after doing a little research of my own, I came to learn that it was an interior furnishings and lifestyle accessories store started by architect Benjamin Thompson in 1953, right in Cambridge, Mass. D/R brought a lot of mid-century pieces into the local culture, and it’s most notably recognized as being the first US business that carried Marimekko textiles and clothing. In fact, Jackie O. bought a Marimekko dress at the Brattle Street store and was photographed wearing it for cover of Life magazine, spawning the Marimekko trend thats waxed and waned in the US over the past forty years.
The current D/R street-view installation celebrates both Benjamin Thompson and Marimekko. It is a recreation of the original lifestyle store that stood there until the late 70s, complete with imported pots from France (brought to the states from the Thompsons’ friend — and fellow Cambridge dweller — Julia Child; Thompson’s collection of butcher block tables; Marimekko frocks; and white Haitian-cotton covered couches. Unfortunately you can’t go inside, but the all glass facade is intentionally conducive to browsing.
Here are some great articles and blog posts I’ve found about the installation:
The Moment: “Now Showing | A Look Back at Design Research”
The Cottage (run by event organizer Nancy Hemenway)
A Bit Late: “D/R Rising”
And finally, “Through a glass brightly” from The Boston Globe.
Good to know: The D/R installation will be up and running through December 2009.