Charles W. Niedringhaus Photogram of Hand
Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1939 Print Date 1939
Dimensions 15-1/2 x 11-1/4 in. (394 x 286 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Stamped on verso. Provenance: estate of photographer.
Charles Niedringhaus graduated as one of five students in the first graduating class of the Institute of Design in 1942. As a student, he served as Institute Director László Moholy-Nagy's assistant in the basic product design workshop, as well as assisting the director in two seminars on contemporary art and design problems. The student Niedringhaus designed and built a prototype machine dubbed the "Smell-O-Meter." This device proved less useful than the machine he co-developed with Nathan Lerner for forming plywood that was used in making most of the school's furniture.
After graduation, Niedringhaus' skills in furniture design and production quickly came to the attention of Hans Knoll--always on the lookout for designers to work for what was then Knoll Associates. Niedringhaus began his long and fruitful career with Knoll when he assisted Herbert Matter with the production of the Knoll Index of Designs in 1950. Then Niedringhaus and Florence Knoll were granted a patent on July 21, 1953 for their design of a sofa/daybed on an angular steel frame.
Throughout his long career with Knoll, Niedringhaus often acted as an artistic liaison linking the inspired visions of designers such as Isamu Noguchi with Knoll's engineers, draughtsmen and marketing department. This confluence of art and business was fundamental to Knoll's identity and success. That same confluence of art and business first encountered as Moholy-Nagy's student in Chicago helped Charles Niedringhaus secure his rightful spot in the pantheon of American Modernism.
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