Call Waiting

Photo by Don Chadwick, 1992

This is a text written after unpacking Don's photo archive with him, and discovering the wealth of images that represent an important missing chapter in American Design History. We are working on a forthcoming publication of this work.

On Don Chadwick’s Photography
Published in Metropolis Magazine, January 2017

Throughout his career, industrial designer Don Chadwick has taken photographs in Los Angeles—of structures in rail yards, the destruction caused by the 1961 Bel Air Fire and the 1992 Rodney King riots, storefronts, markets in parking lots—and used the camera to refine his eye and shape his approach to design. Chadwick’s photos capture the vivid textures of a city that has built its identity on the rubble of its own hasty and sometimes painful growth. George Nelson’s photographs of junkyards and Charles Eames’s snapshots of the circus (Chadwick is a fan of both) are similar bodies of research, but Chadwick’s America is a darker place, characterized by the Vietnam and Gulf Wars, increased racial tensions, cheaper building materials, and a widening income gap. From behind the camera, Chadwick has studied the dichotomy between things that are at once beautiful but disturbing and the resulting contradictions and tensions. As a designer he has conjured this tension by allowing technical elements—informed by racing bikes, engine components, and industrial tools—to remain raw and visible on his carefully proportioned chairs. Like his photos, Chadwick’s furniture keeps our attention taut between the beautiful and the disturbing and expands our notions of both.

Call Waiting
  1. Granite benches
  2. Granite benches
  3. Granite benches
  4. Brujas Training Facility
  5. Brujas Training Facility
  6. Brujas Training Facility
  7. Brujas Training Facility
  8. Solid Textile Screen
  9. Solid Textile Screen
  10. Solid Textile Screen
  11. Solid Textile Screen, prototype
  12. Concrete Petanque Terrains and Aluminum Bench
  13. Realgar
  14. Natural pigments
  15. Twill Weave Daybed
  16. Selected Works
  17. Aluminum Chair and Truck
  18. Longing
  19. Longing
  20. Longing
  21. Call Waiting
  22. Saarinen & Friends
  23. Style
  24. Lapis Lazuli Aluminum Benches
  25. Cessna 172 and Aluminum Bench
  26. Goldie
  27. Aluminum Bench / Sainsbury Gallery
  28. Inaugural game of pétanque
  29. Correction
  30. Room for a Daybed
  31. Room for a Daybed
  32. Room for a Daybed
  33. Twill Weave Daybed
  34. Twill Weave Daybed
  35. Vitra Presents Work
  36. Ok, but first coffee
  37. Partner companies
  38. Sunset
  39. Work master plan
  40. Workspirit 14
  41. An Office Perspective 1850-2016 DE / EN
  42. An Office Perspective 1850-2016
  43. Alphabet
  44. Box of books
  45. RS '32 '15
  46. Shopfloor Aluminum Bench app
  47. Aluminum Bench alphabet
  48. Aluminum Bench, Volume Gallery
  49. Vitra Workspace
  50. Vitra Workspace: An Office Perspective
  51. Photo by David Van Severen
  52. Dog
  53. Aluminum Bench
  54. Aluminum Bench
  55. Source Material
  56. Source Material
  57. Source Material exhibit catalog
  58. Articulation
  59. Aluminum Chair shadow
  60. A Small Museum for the American Metaphor
  61. Studies for New Posture catalog
  62. Smith
  63. Jonathan Olivares and Richard Sapper
  64. Olivares Aluminum Chair
  65. Olivares Aluminum Chair
  66. Joint
  67. Skateboard rails
  68. An Exploded View
  69. Tips
  70. Smith
  71. A View on Natural Motion
  72. Products
  73. Window installation
  74. Smith
  75. NCS S 0530-B
  76. Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs
  77. Library and social hub
  78. Delivery
  79. A Taxonomy of Office Chairs
  80. Territorio
  81. A Chair for All Seasons
  82. An Exploded View
  83. Source Material
  84. Outdoor Office
  85. Smith Pro Detail
  86. Hortus Cliffortianus
  87. Source Material exhibit catalog
  88. If Darwin Studied Office Chairs
  89. Chaise for Hallingdal 65
  90. Impressions from Walmart
  91. Smith profile
  92. Rear leg joint
  93. Los Angeles
  94. Jones
  95. Double selfie
  96. Social hub at work
  97. Territorio photograph
  98. Message in a table
  99. Plan for An Exploded View
  100. 3 millimeter section
  101. The US Furniture Industry
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  2. Biography
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