William Gray Purcell (1880 – 1964) American architect and furniture designer

Advertisements
William Gray Purcell featured image
William Gray Purcell

William Gray Purcell was an American architect and furniture designer. He was active in Minneapolis and Philadelphia. He worked with George Grant Elmslie and George Feick for a short time. Purcell & Elmslie designed structures in twenty-two states, Australia and China. Minneapolis, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Portland, Oregon, were among the firm’s locations.

Early Life

Frank Lloyd Wright erected his Oak Park studio on the same street as Charles A. Purcell’s house when he was fifteen. The work of Louis Sullivan continued to amaze Purcell in Chicago, where he regularly visited his grandfather at The Interior offices. After graduating from Oak Park High School in 1899, he enrolled in Cornell University’s School of Architecture in Ithaca, NY, to study the building arts in college.

Design Career

In Minnesota, he established the architecture firm Purcell and Feick with George Feick, and he was active between 1907 and 1909. Purcell and George Elmslie went into business over the war years. Purcell met George Elmslie in the office of Louis Sullivan in Chicago during the short time he worked there. Their architectural commissions included banks, many in small towns throughout the upper Midwest. Like Sullivan and Wright, the studio team avoided prominent Beaux-Arts forms and neo-classical detailing to create a simple, indigenous American style, Prairie School. 

Their building facades with steel frames, brick facings, pier, and lintel articulation incorporated terracotta ornamentation, arched entryways, high clerestory windows, stained-glass windows, and site-specific furnishings. The firm took on numerous local commissions, including private residences and municipal buildings.  

Furniture Design

Purcell was mainly designed for comfort and was fond of the modular, geometric type of club chair with narrow vertical splats on three sides. Their cube-like shape echoes that of the buildings they were commissioned for.

Sources

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

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, March 15). William Gray Purcell. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:08, June 4, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=William_Gray_Purcell&oldid=1012328312

More on Furniture Design

  • Classic Comfort: The Timeless Allure of Adirondack Chairs

    Classic Comfort: The Timeless Allure of Adirondack Chairs

    The Adirondack chair, originating from early 1900s New York, is admired for its iconic, comfortable design and versatile adaptability. This timeless piece epitomizes outdoor relaxation, continues to inspire designers, and remains popular globally.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Yngve Ekström: Scandinavian Modernism through Furniture Design

    Yngve Ekström: Scandinavian Modernism through Furniture Design

    Swedish furniture designer Yngve Ekström significantly contributed to the Scandinavian Modernism movement, most famously with the “Lamino” armchair. Co-founder of Swedese, Ekström’s designs emphasize simplicity, functionality, and connection to nature.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • These 6 Furniture Trends Will Be Huge in 2024, Design Experts

    These 6 Furniture Trends Will Be Huge in 2024, Design Experts

    In 2024, furniture trends will focus on aesthetics and sustainability with subtle patterns, sustainable and ethically produced pieces, deeper color hues, personalized designs, multi-functional items, and incorporation of natural elements.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Gearóid O’Conchubhair: A Pioneer in Irish Furniture Design

    Gearóid O’Conchubhair: A Pioneer in Irish Furniture Design

    Irish designer Gearóid O’Conchubhair is prominent in furniture and industrial design, with his unique approach, use of materials, and comprehension of structure and ergonomics. With numerous awards, his works combine functionality, ergonomics, and aesthetics, significantly influencing the Irish design industry. Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Exploration of French Furniture Over 200 Years

    Exploration of French Furniture Over 200 Years

    French furniture has evolved over 200 years, showcasing varying styles including the grandeur of the Baroque era, the whimsical Rococo, the simplicity of Neoclassical designs, the departure of Art Nouveau, and a 20th-century revival of previous styles. These iconic styles continue to inspire contemporary design.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • ILIO 10 SPECIAL EDITION: Timeless Functionality

    ILIO 10 SPECIAL EDITION: Timeless Functionality

    Artemide launches the ILIO 10 Special Edition lamp to celebrate the original ILIO’s 10th anniversary, featuring a sustainable shaded metal finish, dynamic light management via an app, and a commemorative laser-engraved signature, signifying the brand’s commitment to design excellence and sustainability.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta: A Maestro of Multifaceted Design

    Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta: A Maestro of Multifaceted Design

    Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta, a globally influential figure, blends architecture with furniture design. Born in Belgium and based in Mexico, his works reflect his international background and his focus on functional aesthetics. His career includes academia, architectural identity projects, and award-winning designs. Read More →


    Learn More →


  • James Irvine: The Unknown Hero of Industrial Design

    James Irvine: The Unknown Hero of Industrial Design

    James Irvine, a renowned industrial designer born into a creative family, balanced geometric formalism and user-centric design to produce practical and aesthetically pleasing designs across sectors. Despite his early demise in 2013, his legacy continues in Studio Irvine.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • The Evolution and Impact of Colour Blocking in Design

    The Evolution and Impact of Colour Blocking in Design

    Colour blocking, a practice rooted in early 20th-century modernist art, involves using contrasting or complementary colours to create dynamic visual effects. It’s heavily applied in fashion and interior design, offering a fresh approach to personal style and vibrant spaces. Despite differing opinions on its origins and future, colour blocking remains a transformative and timeless element…


    Learn More →


  • Paolo Buffa: A Maestro of Mid-Century Italian Furniture Design

    Paolo Buffa: A Maestro of Mid-Century Italian Furniture Design

    Paolo Buffa, influential mid-century Italian designer, is known for his fusion of traditional and modern aesthetics. Trained at Milan’s Polytechnic Institute and mentored by Gio Ponti, his acclaimed works now define the era and remain popular among collectors. Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Fred Lowen: A Pioneer in Australian Furniture Design

    Fred Lowen: A Pioneer in Australian Furniture Design

    Fred Lowen, a German-Australian designer and Holocaust survivor, left a significant legacy in Australian design. His celebrated collections including SC Series, Narvik, Fleronde and Twen, intertwine personal history, aesthetics, and functionality. His life and work represents the transformative power of design. Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Austrian Furniture Design: The Wiener Werkstätte Era

    Austrian Furniture Design: The Wiener Werkstätte Era

    Early 20th century Vienna was a hotbed of creativity in art, architecture, and design, particularly due to influential figures like Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser. Involved with Wiener Werkstätte, they created utilitarian yet artistically innovative furniture, shaping Austrian design significantly.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • The Q Stak Chair: A Testament to Modernism and Practical Design

    The Q Stak Chair: A Testament to Modernism and Practical Design

    The Q Stak chair, designed by Robin Day for Hille in 1953, embodies British modernism and the innovation of accessible, quality furniture. Combining aesthetics, practicality, and material innovation, it remains a seminal symbol of good design.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Antoine Rouzeau: A Master of Clarity in Design

    Antoine Rouzeau: A Master of Clarity in Design

    Antoine Rouzeau, acclaimed architect and designer, has transitioned from architecture to product design. Having worked in prestigious agencies and now the Musée d’Orsay, Rouzeau applies a design philosophy emphasizing clarity and utility. His work consistently combines aesthetics and functionality.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Muszla (Shell) Chair: A Timeless Emblem of Mid-Century Design

    Muszla (Shell) Chair: A Timeless Emblem of Mid-Century Design

    Hanna Lachert’s mid-century “Muszla” [Shell] chair, created in 1956, epitomizes aesthetic and functional mid-century modern design. Despite decades past since its creation, it remains popular due to its timeless appeal and iconic features.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • 5 Influential Spanish Furniture Designers: Impact and Innovation

    5 Influential Spanish Furniture Designers: Impact and Innovation

    The article explores five influential Spanish furniture designers – Patricia Urquiola, Jaime Hayon, Javier Mariscal, Oscar Tusquets Blanca, and Ramón Esteve. Their innovative works combine diverse elements such as multidisciplinary design, humor, storytelling, classical aesthetics, and minimalism, impacting global design trends.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Baleri Italia: A Vanguard in International Design

    Baleri Italia: A Vanguard in International Design

    Baleri Italia, established in the 1980s, is a trailblazing international design brand known for its Italian craftsmanship, collaborations with renowned designers, minimalist yet bold aesthetics, and iconic creations. Its designs reflect a blend of classic and contemporary styles, and its influence extends to prestigious institutions such as MoMA. Read More →


    Learn More →


  • “Modern Scandinavian Design” by Charlotte and Peter Fiell

    “Modern Scandinavian Design” by Charlotte and Peter Fiell

    “Modern Scandinavian Design” by Charlotte and Peter Fiell is an authoritative guide on Nordic design, emphasizing its commitment to social equality and quality of life. The in-depth book covers various design disciplines, making it an essential resource for design enthusiasts and practitioners. Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Timeless Elegance: The Mid-Century Side Table’s Enduring Allure

    Timeless Elegance: The Mid-Century Side Table’s Enduring Allure

    The Mid-Century 1-drawer Wood Side Table demonstrates the mid-century design principles of simplicity, functionality, and natural beauty, featuring a light walnut finish, recessed drawer, and tapered legs, garnering continued admiration for its timeless appeal.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • McKinnon and Harris: Elevating the Art of Outdoor Furniture Design

    McKinnon and Harris: Elevating the Art of Outdoor Furniture Design

    McKinnon and Harris specializes in high-end aluminium outdoor furniture, merging craftsmanship with durability. Their work, available internationally, combines design aesthetics with functionality, extending the discourse of decorative and applied arts to outdoor settings. Their strong digital presence facilitates global accessibility.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • B&B Italia: A Beacon of Contemporary Design

    B&B Italia: A Beacon of Contemporary Design

    Since 1966, B&B Italia has defined contemporary design with innovative use of technology and culturally responsive creations like Patricia Urquiola’s informal “Tufty-Time” and Antonio Citterio’s balanced “Michel Club.” Its pioneering use of cold-molded polyurethane foam sets it apart.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Roberto Menghi’s Timeless Creation: The Libra Lux Lamp of 1948

    Roberto Menghi’s Timeless Creation: The Libra Lux Lamp of 1948

    Explore the timeless brilliance of Roberto Menghi’s Libra Lux lamp of 1948. Discover its ingenious design, adaptability, and craftsmanship in this homage to a true design masterpiece.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Embodying the Art of Catalan Modernisme: Gaudí’s Sillón Calvet

    Embodying the Art of Catalan Modernisme: Gaudí’s Sillón Calvet

    Trace the Sillón Calvet’s journey from its original location in Calvet House to its current residence in the Inter-American Development Bank. Uncover the reasons behind its enduring appeal and its contribution to the ongoing relevance of Catalan Modernisme.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Eclipse Minimalist Lighting from Lee Broom

    Eclipse Minimalist Lighting from Lee Broom

    Eclipse Minimalist Lighting from Lee Broom. One of four new lighting collections to be launched during Salone del Mobile (2018). Read MORERead More →


    Learn More →


  • Experimental Acrylic Side Tables from Nortstudio

    Experimental Acrylic Side Tables from Nortstudio

    These side tables are the outcome of an acrylic resin experiment. Acrylic is a two-part substance made up of mineral powder and water-based acrylic resin.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Distinctly retro furniture by Masquespacio

    Distinctly retro furniture by Masquespacio

    Because of the studio’s trademark lively aesthetic, its hospitality and retail fit-outs are the stuff of design bloggers and Instagrammers’ dreams.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Interlübke: A Legacy of German Furniture Craftsmanship

    Interlübke: A Legacy of German Furniture Craftsmanship

    Discover Interlübke, a renowned German furniture manufacturer known for its craftsmanship and innovative designs. From the revolutionary ‘endless cupboard’ storage unit to the internally illuminated EO system, Interlübke continues to redefine space utilization. Collaborating with top designers, their modern furniture solutions offer versatility and functionality. With a recent acquisition by Domovari, Interlübke remains a trusted…


    Learn More →


  • Angaraib: An Avant-Garde Masterpiece by Danny Lane

    Angaraib: An Avant-Garde Masterpiece by Danny Lane

    Discover the ‘Angaraib’ chaise longue, an avant-garde masterpiece by Danny Lane. This extraordinary piece of furniture blends glass and tree branches in a visually stunning composition. Explore Lane’s unique creative process and his commitment to pushing design boundaries. ‘Angaraib’ transcends traditional notions of furniture, functioning as both a captivating art object and a comfortable seating…


    Learn More →


  • Pedestal Table inspired by 🏛️ classical architecture

    Pedestal Table inspired by 🏛️ classical architecture

    A pedestal in furniture serves either as central support for a tabletop or seat, pair of drawer sets supporting a flat top, a stand flanking a sideboard, or a decorative detail on architecturally inspired pieces.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Kaare Klint’s “KK47000” Safari Chair: A Refined and Iconic Design

    Kaare Klint’s “KK47000” Safari Chair: A Refined and Iconic Design

    Kaare Klint’s “KK47000” Safari Chair is a refined and iconic design that combines historical influences with modern sensibilities. Inspired by British campaign furniture, the chair features a simple ash wood frame, exquisite leather components, and visible joinery. Read More →


    Learn More →


  • No. 22 Diamond Chair by Harry Bertoia

    No. 22 Diamond Chair by Harry Bertoia

    No. 22 Diamond Chair by Harry Bertoia. Many would argue that this is more of a sculpture than a chair. READ MORERead More →


    Learn More →


  • Classic Elegance Revived: Home Countryside High Back Spindle Dining Chair,

    Classic Elegance Revived: Home Countryside High Back Spindle Dining Chair,

    Experience timeless charm and modern comfort with the Christopher Knight Home Countryside High Back Spindle Dining Chair. Influenced by the iconic design of Thonet’s Chair No. 14, this antique white chair showcases a high backrest with intricate spindle detailing. With its blend of classic elegance and contemporary appeal, it’s the perfect addition to any dining…


    Learn More →


  • Introducing the Lexicon Elle Accent Chair: Elevate Your Living Room with Style and Comfort

    Introducing the Lexicon Elle Accent Chair: Elevate Your Living Room with Style and Comfort

    Discover the Lexicon Elle Accent Chair in Blue. This rustic-style chair combines elegance and comfort, with its cushioned back, armrests, and solid pattern. Crafted with high-quality materials, including wood, foam, and polyester upholstery, this chair offers durability and easy maintenance. Perfectly sized and designed for relaxation, it’s an ideal addition to any living room. Order…


    Learn More →


  • Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen: Shaping 20th Century Architecture

    Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen: Shaping 20th Century Architecture

    The post discusses the life and work of Finnish architect Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen, including his architectural accomplishments, influence on modernism in America, and his contributions to furniture and textile design. His emphasis on holistic and contextual design and his distinct aesthetic vision are notable.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Elevate Your Space with the Edenbrook Carlton Exposed Wooden Arm Accent Chair

    Elevate Your Space with the Edenbrook Carlton Exposed Wooden Arm Accent Chair

    The Edenbrook Carlton Exposed Wooden Arm Accent Chair offers mid-century modern design, comfort, and durability. Available in multiple colors, and with a capacity of 500 pounds, this accent chair combines timeless aesthetics with practicality. Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Fibreglass exciting early design medium

    Fibreglass exciting early design medium

    Known as glass-enhanced plastic (GRP) in Britain, fibre-enhanced plastic (FRP) in the USA or by the trade name fibreglass (after the manufacturer Fibreglass Ltd.), GRP has been used for a wide range of applications from car body panels and boat hulls to furniture and tennis rackets. Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Exploring the Enigmatic Beauty of the Dantesca Chair

    Exploring the Enigmatic Beauty of the Dantesca Chair

    The Dantesca Chair is a remarkable piece of furniture inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Its intricate design, featuring ornate carvings depicting scenes from the epic poem, pays homage to Dante’s imaginative journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, the chair incorporates symbolic motifs and materials like fine woods and…


    Learn More →


  • The Curious History of the Writing Desk

    The Curious History of the Writing Desk

    The writing desk or bureaux originated in the early seventeenth century from old fashioned Bible boxes. They were flat boxes just large enough to hold the family Bible, which was the most treasured possession. These boxes were almost always kept upon a shelf in the living room. The boxes flat surface and conveniently high form,…


    Learn More →


  • Grethe Meyer (1918 – 2008) Danish architect, & designer of furniture & glassware

    Grethe Meyer (1918 – 2008) Danish architect, & designer of furniture & glassware

    She worked on the editorial staff of The Building Manual from 1944 to 1955. She was a crucial figure in Borge Mogensen’s research on the standardisation of consumer product sizes, and she collaborated with him frequently. They created the Boligens Byggeskabe (BB) and resund cabinet-storage systems in 1957.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • The Influence of the Square in Furniture Design

    The Influence of the Square in Furniture Design

    Squares have influenced furniture design, enhancing aesthetics and functionality, with their roots in ancient Greek architecture and modernist furniture. The square shape is a timeless influence in furniture design, offering versatility, modularity, and sustainability through its equal sides and right angles.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Metal Desk Lamp – with Adjustable Gooseneck

    Metal Desk Lamp – with Adjustable Gooseneck

    This lamp features a high-quality metal lampshade and base that is heavy-duty, long-lasting, and attractive, brightening your living space, bedroom, or study room.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Hille Modernist British Furniture Manufacturer

    Hille Modernist British Furniture Manufacturer

    Hille, a British furniture manufacturer, is known for its Modernist chairs and has collaborated with renowned designers like Robin Day and Fred Scott. The Poly Side chair, introduced in 1963, is renowned for its innovative use of materials and functional, minimalist design. Made from molded polypropylene, it is durable, lightweight, and easy to clean. The…


    Learn More →


  • Nightstand with Charging Station

    Nightstand with Charging Station

    The OKD square nightstand features a rustic & industrial combination of beauty and functionality with a distressed rustic finish and dark iron-tone metal accents. It is equipped with 2 smooth-gliding 2 drawers and strong powder-coated metal pulls to get essentials quickly. It can be used as an end table, office supplies storage, or in the…


    Learn More →


  • SOOWERY End Tables with Charging Station

    SOOWERY End Tables with Charging Station

    Side Tables with Charging Stations feature two AC outlets, USB ports, and a 6.5 ft cord each, with a well-considered design and curved design. They fit tight spaces and are easy to assemble.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Louis Midavaine (1888 – 1978) French Furniture Designer

    Louis Midavaine (1888 – 1978) French Furniture Designer

    Louis Midavaine (1888 – 1978) was a French accessories and furniture designer. He was born in Roubaix. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Roubaix.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Georges Champion (1889 – 1940) French Furniture Designer

    Georges Champion (1889 – 1940) French Furniture Designer

    Georges Champion, a French decorator and furniture designer, was known for his sleek lines and modern aesthetic. Influenced by the Art Deco movement, Champion’s furniture featured geometric shapes and bold colors. He worked on high-profile projects, including Parisian hotels and restaurants. Champion’s designs are highly sought after by collectors and design enthusiasts worldwide.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Butterfly Dining Chair in Green from Armen Living

    Butterfly Dining Chair in Green from Armen Living

    The Armen Living Butterfly Dining Chair in Green Fabric and Walnut Wood Finish offers a stylish and comfortable dining experience. Its unique butterfly design and durable construction make it perfect for families with children or pets. Easy to clean and maintain.Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Classic Furniture Morocco Dining Chair with Cushion

    Classic Furniture Morocco Dining Chair with Cushion

    Dining chair: dining chairs expertly constructed from Walnut, rubberwood solids, and veneers for high-quality, long-lasting dining room furniture Read More →


    Learn More →


  • Sofa, Borge Mogensen, 1945

    Sofa, Borge Mogensen, 1945

    This sofa’s straightforward execution and regular silhouette reflect characteristics that were considered essential for advanced design at the time. Nonetheless, the turned spindles, stretchers, and exquisite details owe a lot to Borge Mogensen’s use of the lexicon of traditional furniture forms—especially American Shaker and English Windsor—in his wRead More →


    Learn More →


  • Womb chair – Eero Saarinen 1946

    Womb chair – Eero Saarinen 1946

    Its name expresses its purpose: “It was designed on the theory that a great number of people have never felt secure and comfortable since they have left the womb.”Read More →


    Learn More →


You may also be interested in

Evelyn Wyld (1882 – 1973) British Designer textiles and rugs – Encyclopedia of Design

Evelyn Wyld (1882 – 1972) was a British designer who was born in 1882. She studied at the Royal College of Music, London. She settled in Paris in c1907. She and Eileen Gray travelled to North Africa, where they learned weaving and wool dyeing with natural colours from Arab women.

Marc Harrison (1936 – 1998) American Industrial designer – Encyclopedia of Design

Marc Harrison (1936-1998) was an industrial designer from the United States. Harrison sustained a significant brain injury in a sledding accident when he was eleven years old. He had to relearn simple functions like walking and talking as a result of the crash.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.