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Design Archives; Melanie Kahane Interview

05/13/1981

Design Archiving Project: Melanie Kahane DROP FRAME 1999 MAPC Preservation master


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Series
Design Archives
Program
Melanie Kahane Interview
Series Description

Series of original interviews. Series release date: 1981

Program Description

180-minute interview on three videocassettes.

Tape 1 (58:00): Childhood in Sioux Falls, S.D.; imaginative abilities of children; her children’s books on design (There’s a Decorator in Your Dollhouse); talent vs. environment and their influence on children’s attitudes toward design; her father’s influence; education at Parsons School of Design in New York; difficulties in finding jobs after graduation in the Depression; studies in Paris and travels in Europe; decision to go into interior decorating; starting her own business; development of control system for her business; importance of cost and budgets in design field; her knowledge of color; differences in trends in fashion and interior design; effects of history on design (Industrial Revolution, Victorian era, WWI) and effects catastrophic events have on design.

Tape 2 (59:00): Need for designers/architects to know the human body; need for designers to work in difficult situations; economy of space due to economics; argues there is no distinction between the designer and decorator; her Black and White in Pumpkin Room design of the late 1940’s -- inspirations for it and its impact; importance of gaining publicity for one’s designs; origins of her Red Hot Stove design and its impact on her becoming known for kitchen and cabinet design; her product designs for Westinghouse, especially colored bulbs for home use, and RCA; role of computers in design; life with her husband; their travels in Russia, Portugal, and England.

Tape 3 (58:45): Importance for designers to be able to completely visualize projects before they begin; changes in business of design over the years; education of the consumer in design matters; her designs for the Schubert Theater in Boston; her restoration designs for rooms at the Waldorf in New York; her determination of fees for jobs; favorite and least favorite types of jobs; the need for designers to be involved in all aspects of the design business; interests in urban renewal; her designs for cabinets used in the space shuttle; value of NASA research in everyday life; the upbringing of her daughter; the need for young designers to struggle and try many experiences to become well-rounded; the need for design schools to teach business elements; her input in Harry Siegel's book A Guide to Business Principles and Practices for Interior Designers; the need for design firms to become larger with a wide range of specialized workers, but the prevention of its happening due to ego.

Duration

00:61:00

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type

Video

Subjects
Industrial designers
Interior architecture
Interviews
Unedited footage
Interior decoration
Interior decorators
Contributors
Kahane, Melanie (Interviewee)
Citation
Chicago: “Design Archives; Melanie Kahane Interview,” 05/13/1981, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 8, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_F959DABC14FA4AF0BB4E61B4FE66ED7D.
MLA: “Design Archives; Melanie Kahane Interview.” 05/13/1981. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 8, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_F959DABC14FA4AF0BB4E61B4FE66ED7D>.
APA: Design Archives; Melanie Kahane Interview. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_F959DABC14FA4AF0BB4E61B4FE66ED7D
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