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. Brujas Training Facility
  2. Brujas Training Facility
  3. Brujas Training Facility
  4. Brujas Training Facility
  5. Concrete Petanque Terrains and Aluminum Bench
  6. Realgar
  7. Selected Works
  8. Twill Weave Daybed,
  9. Solid Textile Screen, prototype
  10. Solid Textile Screen
  11. Solid Textile Screen
  12. Solid Textile Screen
  13. Aluminum Chair and Truck
  14. Longing
  15. Longing
  16. Longing
  17. Call Waiting
  18. Saarinen & Friends
  19. Style
  20. Natural pigments
  21. Hard Day’s Work
  22. Lapis Lazuli Aluminum Benches
  23. Cessna 172 and Aluminum Bench
  24. Goldie
  25. Aluminum Bench / Sainsbury Gallery
  26. Inaugural game of pétanque
  27. Correction
  28. Room for a Daybed
  29. Room for a Daybed
  30. Room for a Daybed
  31. Twill Weave Daybed
  32. Twill Weave Daybed
  33. Vitra Presents Work
  34. Ok, but first coffee
  35. Partner companies
  36. Sunset
  37. Work master plan
  38. Workspirit 14
  39. An Office Perspective 1850-2016 DE / EN
  40. An Office Perspective 1850-2016
  41. Alphabet
  42. Box of books
  43. RS '32 '15
  44. Shopfloor Aluminum Bench app
  45. Aluminum Bench alphabet
  46. Aluminum Bench, Volume Gallery
  47. Vitra Workspace
  48. Vitra Workspace: An Office Perspective
  49. Photo by David Van Severen
  50. Shu
  51. Aluminum Bench
  52. Aluminum Bench
  53. Source Material
  54. Source Material
  55. Source Material exhibit catalog
  56. Articulation
  57. Aluminum Chair shadow
  58. A Small Museum for the American Metaphor
  59. Studies for New Posture catalog
  60. Smith
  61. Olivares Aluminum Chair
  62. Jonathan Olivares and Richard Sapper
  63. Olivares Aluminum Chair
  64. Joint
  65. Skateboard rails
  66. An Exploded View
  67. Tips
  68. Smith
  69. A View on Natural Motion
  70. Products
  71. Window installation
  72. Smith
  73. NCS S 0530-B
  74. Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs
  75. Library and social hub
  76. BBQ 2013
  77. Delivery
  78. A Taxonomy of Office Chairs
  79. Territorio
  80. A Chair for All Seasons
  81. An Exploded View
  82. Hortus Cliffortianus
  83. Smith Pro Detail
  84. Outdoor Office
  85. Source Material
  86. Source Material exhibit catalog
  87. If Darwin Studied Office Chairs
  88. Chaise for Hallingdal 65
  89. Impressions from Walmart
  90. Rear leg joint
  91. Smith profile
  92. Los Angeles
  93. Jones
  94. Double selfie
  95. Social hub at work
  96. Territorio photograph
  97. Message in a table
  98. Plan for An Exploded View
  99. 3 millimeter section
  100. The US Furniture Industry
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