Ferdinand Kramer (1898 – 1985) German Architect and Designer

Ferdinand kramer products
Ferdinand kramer products

Ferdinand Kramer (1898 – 1985) was a German architect and functionalist designer.

Biography

Kramer’s father was the owner of the most well-known of Frankfurt hat shops. In 1916, immediately after school, Kramer was drawn into military service and remained a soldier through the end of the First World War. The following year he trained at the Bauhaus for a few months before quitting, disillusioned with the technical level of the training, then began a three-year architectural study in Munich with Theodor Fischer. With the lack of architectural commissions during this period of inflation, he concentrated on furniture designs for Thonet and metal utensils, for example, his “Kramer Oven”, a sheet-metal furnace. Kramer returned to Frankfurt in 1922.

From 1925 through 1930, Kramer worked for an architect and civic planner, Ernst May, building and furnishing the housing projects of New Frankfurt and was a contributor to the second CIAM conference.

Social Housing in Germany

The creation of inexpensive housing was one of the main goals of architecture between the world wars. The goal was an apartment for minimum living standards in which everything would be inexpensive as possible. Kramer designed inexpensive and practical and household fittings and light fixtures and interchangeable plywood furniture for small rooms.

Move to the United States

After disputes with the Nazi regime and professional disqualification, Kramer emigrated to the United States in 1938 and worked on a variety of projects, including work with Norman bel Geddes on designs for the New York World’s Fair of 1939, designs for inexpensive “knock-down” furniture which anticipates today’s commercial “flat-pack” furniture, and commissions from his friend Theodor Adorno for the Institute for Social Research during its New York years. Kramer became a naturalized US citizen in 1945.

Return to Germany

On his return to Germany in 1952, Kramer taught and served as the director of building at the Goethe University Frankfurt until his retirement into private practice in 1964. Paul Friedrich Posenenske followed the architectural language introduced by Ferdinand Kramer at the university buildings. The university moves step by step to the new Poelzig/Westend and Nieder-Eschbach campuses, so many of the old buildings in Bockenheim will be sold or even torn down although they are landmarked buildings.

Recognition

From December 9, 1982, to January 23, 1983, a retrospective of Kramer’s work was shown at Bauhaus Archive in Berlin and Amerikahaus in Frankfurt. From June 5 to August 4, 1991, the Museum of Design, Zürich put on the retrospective exhibition “Ferdinand Kramer – Der Charme des Systematischen” which was also shown in Frankfurt at the Deutscher Werkbund (in cooperation with the DAM, Deutsches Architekturmuseum) and later at the Bauhaus Dessau. The Frankfurt University archive keeps examples of furniture Kramer explicitly designed for the university. Other museums such as the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, the Thonet Museum in Frankenberg as well as the Vitra Design Museum, in Weil am Rhein have examples of Kramer’s furniture.

Kramer’s door handle design and designs for several pieces of furniture have been re-released.

Ferdinand Kramer in our partner stores

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

Hauffe, T. (1998). Design. London: Laurence King. https://amzn.to/3y7vFWw

Wikipedia contributors. (2020, August 16). Ferdinand Kramer. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:25, December 30, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ferdinand_Kramer&oldid=973330782

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    He was a designer for furniture maker Herter Brothers, commissioned by the company to furnish the New York William H. Vanderbilt House, 1881-83.Read More →

  • John Mascheroni (1932- ) American furniture and industrial designer

    John Mascheroni (1932- ) American furniture and industrial designer

    John Mascheroni is an American furniture and industrial designer. He studied at the Pratt Insitute in Brooklyn New York. He opened his own design office and furniture factory in New York. Mascheroni designed furniture for manufactures in High Point, North Carolina. From 1990, his furniture designs were produced by Swaim and, from 1991, others by Jeffco.Read More →

  • Paul Bacon (1923 – 2015) – created looks for books

    Paul Bacon (1923 – 2015) – created looks for books

    Paul Bacon was not a household name, but anyone who has a passion for books will have seen his works. Bacon was an artist, who used minimal imagery and bold typography to sell famous novels such as, “Catch 22” by Joseph Heller, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest’s and Phillip Roth’s “Portnoy’s complaint?Read More →

  • William Blenko (1854 – 1926) and Blenko Glassware

    William Blenko (1854 – 1926) and Blenko Glassware

    Blenko established the first American factory to produce sheet glass for stained glass windows. Blenko’s early successes include providing glass for St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The White House has a collection of Blenko table ware, used periodically. Wayne Husted pioneered the concept of “architectural scale” designs. Blenko’s “Historic Period” begins with Anderson in 1946 and includes work of Nickerson up to 1974.Read More →

  • Eric Ravilious (1903 – 1942) British wood engraver & ceramicist

    Eric Ravilious (1903 – 1942) British wood engraver & ceramicist

    Eric William Ravilious was a British painter, designer, book illustrator and wood-engraver. He is particularly known for his watercolours of the South Downs and other English landscapes. He served as a war artist, and was the first British war artist to die on active service in World War II. Ravilious studied with Edward Bawden and Charles Mahoney at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London in 1928. He painted a series of marionette-like murals for Morley College, which were destroyed by bombing in 1941.Read More →

  • Enzo Mari (1932 -2020) Italian modernist, industrial designer

    Enzo Mari (1932 -2020) Italian modernist, industrial designer

    Graduating Table Bowls In 1956, he became interested in design, particularly books and children’s games. In 1957, he began working for Danese, for whom some of his designs and ideas for games and puzzles, including the 1957 wooden child’s puzzle, were realised.Read More →

  • Jean Goulden (1878 – 1946) French Artisan and Painter

    Jean Goulden (1878 – 1946) French Artisan and Painter

    Jean Goulden was a French painter, musician, and crafter who lived from 1878 to 1946. During World War I, he found Byzantine enamels near Mount Athos in Macedonia. His Cubist pendulum clocks were some of his best pieces. Only 180 of his items are known to exist.Read More →

  • Reuben Cary (1845 – 1933) American furniture designer

    Reuben Cary (1845 – 1933) American furniture designer

    Cary’s father moved to the Adirondacks area of New York State in the year 1845. In 1874, Brandreth asked Cary to make him 24 chairs with slatted backs, plain turned legs, and splint seats in a traditional style. Cary may have made some of the rustic furniture in the cottages at Brandreth Park.Read More →

  • Cassina Italian furniture manufacturer – Design Excellence

    Cassina Italian furniture manufacturer – Design Excellence

    Its early pieces were based on historicist models from the 19th century. In the 1930s, it made armchairs and dining room sets for Milan’s Rinascente and Mobilificio di Fogliano. After World War II, Cassina changed the way it made and sold its products. The new generation of designers pushed the company to the forefront of Modern design.Read More →

  • Vico Magistretti (1920 – 2006) Italian architect/designer

    Vico Magistretti (1920 – 2006) Italian architect/designer

    In 1920 Vico Magistretti was born in Milan, Italy. First recognition of his work came in 1948, at the 8th Triennale. He started designing for Cassina in 1960, and from that date on his signature is to be found on many products.Read More →

  • Laura Ashley (1926 – 1988) British fabric and fashion designer

    Laura Ashley (1926 – 1988) British fabric and fashion designer

    Laura Ashley was one of the first British designers to experiment with the concept of lifestyle marketing. Her romantic vision of nineteenth-century rural life, adapted to modern domestic realities, inspired a generation of middle-class Britons who returned to country life in the 1960s and 1970s.Read More →

  • Narrative Architecture (Architectural Design Primer) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

    Narrative Architecture (Architectural Design Primer) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

    Many architects have used the word “narrative” to describe their work since the early 1980s. The enduring appeal of narrative to architects is that it provides a means of interacting with how a city feels and functions. Read More →

  • Minnie Macleish (1876 – 1957 ) British textile designer

    Minnie Macleish (1876 – 1957 ) British textile designer

    She collaborated with Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Constance Irving at London’s Foxton textiles and Amsterdam’s Metz store. Macleish was a prolific designer during the 1920s and 1930s, creating patterns for Morton Sundour fabrics.Read More →

  • Nigel Coates (b.1949) English architect and designer

    Nigel Coates (b.1949) English architect and designer

    He co-founded Branson Coates Architecture with Doug Branson in 1985 before opening his architecture and design studio in 2006. He was a partner in the Branson Coates architecture and design studio and the founder of the radical NATO (Narrative Architecture Today, established in London in 1983) design group (established in 1985).Read More →

  • AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizitäts Gesellschaft) (established 1883)

    AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizitäts Gesellschaft) (established 1883)

    Engineer Emil Rathenau founded AEG as the Deutsche Edison Gesellschaft für angewandte Elektrizitäts (DEG) two years after seeing Edison’s lighting at the Paris Exposition Internationale de l’Electricité in 1881.Read More →

  • Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) Father of Anti-Design

    Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) Father of Anti-Design

    Although trained and active as an architect, Sottsass secured a permanent place in pop culture with his designs of everyday items. From 1957, he was a consultant designer at Olivetti, where he designed computers, adding machines, typewriters, and systems furniture. Read More →

  • Peter Behrens (1868 – 1940) – German architect and designer

    Peter Behrens (1868 – 1940) – German architect and designer

    Peter Brehens (1868 – 1940) was a German graphic artist, architect and designer. He studied at the Karlsruhe and in Düsseldorf and Munich.Read More →

  • Pierre Balmain (1914 – 1982) French fashion designer

    Pierre Balmain (1914 – 1982) French fashion designer

    Pierre Balmain (1914 – 1982) was a French fashion designer and the influential postwar fashion house Balmain founder. He described the art of dressmaking as “the architecture of movement,” and he was known for his sophistication and elegance.Read More →

  • James Evanson (1946 – 2022) American furniture and lighting designer

    James Evanson (1946 – 2022) American furniture and lighting designer

    James Evanson has been at the forefront of the “functional art” movement around the world. His work has travelled worldwide since his first exhibition in 1979 at the Art et Industrie Gallery in New York. For the Memphis Collection in Milan, new work was created just for the occasion. The “Lighthouse” lamps gained international acclaim and became an icon of the 1980s.Read More →

  • Gianni Pasini (b.1937) Italian Designer – Electronic Machinery

    Gianni Pasini (b.1937) Italian Designer – Electronic Machinery

    Gianni Pasini was born in 1937 in Venice and professionally active in Milan. Some of his clients were Olivetti, Fabbrica Italiana, Magneti Marelli, and Crin hospital. He worked with Sandro Pasqui in a design studio from 1974 onwards.Read More →

  • Electrolux – Swedish domestic appliance firm

    Electrolux – Swedish domestic appliance firm

    Electrolux was the first electrical appliance manufacturer to produce a horizontal-cylinder vacuum cleaner. Its flexible hose made it possible to clean in places other floor models could not reach. In 1924, the Electrolux vacuum cleaner was successfully introduced in the U.S.Read More →

  • Walter Crane (1845 – 1915) British designer, artist and writer

    Walter Crane (1845 – 1915) British designer, artist and writer

    Walter Crane (1845 – 1915) was a British designer, artist and writer. He designed textiles, stained glass, wallpaper, and ceramics as a strong proponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. His books were available in both original and pirated copies in the U.S. Crane designed stained glass, tiles, wallpapers, embroideries, textiles, mosaics and decorative plasterwork.Read More →

  • Harry Bertoia (1915 – 1978) Italian sculptor, furniture designer

    Harry Bertoia (1915 – 1978) Italian sculptor, furniture designer

    Harry Bertoia was a sculptor, printmaker, jeweller, and furniture designer. He was born in San Lorenzo, Udine, and worked in the United States professionally. During World War Two he worked with Ray and Charles Eames on moulded-plywood technology. He worked primarily as a sculptor from the mid-1950s onwards. His sculpture was prominently featured in many of Eero Saarinen’s buildings.Read More →

  • Antonia Astori (b.1940) Italian designer co-founded Driade

    Antonia Astori (b.1940) Italian designer co-founded Driade

    Antonia Astori co-founded Driade with her brother Enrico and Adelaide Acerbi in 1968. She was able to create a unique network of furniture designers, galleries, and shops.Read More →

  • Masakazu Kobayashi (b.1944) Japanese textile designer

    Masakazu Kobayashi (b.1944) Japanese textile designer

    Masakazu Kobayashi studied at the University of Arts, Kyoto, Japan. He manifested traditional textile techniques and aesthetics in his work. Between 1966 and 1975, he worked as a textile designer for Kawashima. His 1982 fabric evoked komon, a textile dyeing technique which uses paper patterns with small motifs.Read More →

  • Alma Eikerman (1908 – 1995) American jewellery designer and silversmith

    Alma Eikerman (1908 – 1995) American jewellery designer and silversmith

    Alma Eikerman (1908 – 1995) was an American jewellery designer and silversmith. Eikerman was born in Pratt, Kansas, and graduated from Kansas State College in Emporia with a B.Sc. in 1934 and an M.Sc. in 1942. Read More →

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