Jay Spectre (1930 – 1992) American Interior and furniture designer

A pair of lounge chairs ca.1975 by Jay Spectre
A pair of lounge chairs ca.1975 by Jay Spectre

Jay Spectre (1930 – 1992) was an American Interior and furniture designer. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He was professionally active in New York.

Spectre went from a teenager designing window displays for the Frankfort furniture store of his brother-in-law Elliott Marcus, to the top of the interior design industry propelled by a fresh yet classic sense of style, drive and considerable charm.

Politicians and movie stars were among his clients. Magazines such as House Beautiful and Architectural Digest had covered his work. With his venture into creating furniture, fabrics, rugs, lamps, and other accessories, his name had become more well-known in his latter career.

Biography

He began his interior design career in 1951 in Louisville. In 1968, he established the design company Jay Spectre, in New York. He designed interiors for luxury homes, private jet aircraft, yachts, and offices, which showed Art Deco, Asian, and African influences with high-tech and hand-carved elements. 

In 1985, he and (Geoffrey Bradfield) set up the licensing firm JSPS to sell rights to furniture, china, rugs, and other articles design by the Spectre firm. 

Large Jay Spectre coffee table
Large Jay Spectre coffee table
  • Joan Crawford Lips Coffee Table by Jay Spectre - top front at angle
  • Joan Crawford Lips Coffee Table by Jay Spectre -top front view
  • Joan Crawford Lips Coffee Table by Jay Spectre -top birds eye view
  • Joan Crawford Lips Coffee Table by Jay Spectre -top side view length
  • Joan Crawford Lips Coffee Table by Jay Spectre -close-up

In 1987, designed the Neo-Deco line of furniture for the Century Furniture Industry. The collection appealed to a wide range of people, and it could be used in a suburban home or a metropolitan apartment. Metals and light-colored white oaks add a sense of freshness and sophistication.

“The pieces seem ‘different,’ but never faddish; the line has what we call good continuity. We know it’s the kind of furniture our customers will enjoy for years to come.”

Harley F. Shuford, presidet of Century Furniture 1987

He executed rug designs for Louis de Poortere, outdoor furniture for Jordan Brown, Filipino wicker furniture for Century, and lighting for Sunset. 

(With Bradfield) he published the book Point Of View: Design by Jay Spectre (1991)

Recognition

In 1986, he was appointed to the Interior Design Hall of Fame and received the 1987 Bride’s magazine award for excellence. The Smithsonian Institution chose him as one of the nation’s top eight designers in its “Giants of Interior Design” program.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Reading List

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