trends | john dickinson furniture

john dickinson (1920-1982)
'one of the most acclaimed designers of the 20th century returns'

...with a limited edition furniture collection produced by sutherland...
...and introduced at the shears & window showroom during design san francisco 2012.

the john dickinson collection
designed by john dickinson | produced by sutherland | represented by shears & window
photo credit innerspace | lisa walsh

'dickinson's designs demonstrate his ability to both startle and amuse the viewer in a constant pursuit of originality.'  
darrin alfred, curatorial associate of architecture and design, san francisco museum of modern art (SFMOMA)

sutherland's advertising campaign to launch the john dickinson collection could only be described as original.                                                                                                                                                                                        click here to be startled and amused as the etruscan, hoofed, and footed tables gallop across the homepage of the sutherland website---lol!

                                                                                                                   left to right: the etruscan, hoofed, and footed tables
designed by john dickinson | produced by sutherland 
photo credits sutherland
                                                                                                                                                         sutherland acquired the rights to produce the limited edition collection from the original molds and dickinson's original furniture.  the collection, which currently contains twelve pieces, will be stamped with the sutherland logo to avoid confusion with dickinson's original furniture.

originally, dickinson produced the furniture from white plaster of paris, reinforced with metal rods. but, sutherland is reproducing the dickinson collection from glass fiber reinforced concrete, which can be used in either interior or exterior installations.  david sutherland's texas showrooms previously represented john dickinson's furniture.  when dickinson died in 1982, he and sutherland were already collaborating on producing the plaster furniture in a more durable material. 


top row | left to right: the large six legged african, small african or medium african, and rope tie tables
center row | left to right: the tree stump pedestal, twig mirror, and twig lamp
bottom row | left to right: the footed, and dome lamps
designed by john dickinson | produced by sutherland
photo credits sutherland 

'the pieces he [dickinson] designed that are considered 'iconic' are those that were made in large numbers:  a tin-skirted table, or an african-inspired three-legged stool.' 
louis bofferding, new york antiques dealer 

so iconic, that whenever they become available, dickinson originals sell for high prices in vintage furniture galleries or at auction.

john dickinson | galvanized tin and brass side table | model 107 | 1970's
US$32000 | paul marra design | los angeles CA
photo credit 1st dibs
john dickinson | galvanized tin and brass console table | model 57 | 1970's
sold for US$60000 | bonham's new york | sale 15282 lot 2210 | 18 june 2007
photo credit artnet

john dickinson galvanized tin and brass console table in interior designer steven volpe's san francisco CA loft
photo credit william abranowicz

john dickinson | african side tables | painted plaster | 1970's
left: US$15000 (net) | coup d'etat | san francisco CA
right: sold for US$30000 | christie's new york | sale 2492 lot 306 | 17 december 2011

john dickinson | pair of african tables | painted plaster | circa 1975
sold for US$20000 | sotheby's new york | sale NO8680 lot 144 | 16 december 2010
photo credit sotheby's

african side table in the living room of john dickinson's legendary san francisco CA converted firehouse

then, of course, there's the infamous million dollar decorators episode where san francisco interior designer suzanne tucker purchases a john dickinson african table from epoca at the san francisco fall antiques show, and then graciously allows los angeles interior designer jeffrey alan marks, who wants the table for his own home, to purchase it instead.  but, sometimes even experienced interior designers make mistakes.  the US$16785 table is really an end table not [a] coffee table, so it was too small.

maybe the large six legged african table from sutherland's john dickinson collection would be a better size.  dickinson used the six legged african table in his own home, but never offered it for sale.

large six legged african table
designed by john dickinson | produced by sutherland  
photo credit innerspace | lisa walsh

'many design insiders today still consider john dickinson the most innovative and original american interior and furniture designer of the 20th-century.' 
diane dorrans saeks, author

yet, he is not as well known as some of the other top california decorators from the 1960's or 1970's, such as michael taylor or tony duquette.

but, like taylor or duquette, some of the furniture that dickinson designed then is still being produced now.

etruscan side chairs
designed by john dickinson | produced by randolph & hein 
photo credit randolph & hein

some of the furniture that dickinson designed during the 1970's for randolph & hein or macy*s is in the permanent collection of the SFMOMA, which owns 250 pieces of dickinson furniture.  the SFMOMA exhibited a retrospective of dickinson's work in 2003-2004.

some of dickinson's designs, such as the 25 piece bone furniture collection that he designed for macy*s san francisco in the late 1970's, were too avant garde to be commercially successful.


left to right: bone floor lamp | 1978, bone cigarette table | 1977, bone table lamp | 1977
designed by john dickinson for macy*s | SFMOMA | san francisco CA
photos credits SFMOMA

yet, even dickinson's less successful designs could be considered influential.

honeycomb mirror | cast resin
designed and produced by ironies | represented by kneedler|fauchere

could dickinson's bone furniture collection have inspired the honeycomb mirror, introduced by ironies  at the kneedler|fauchere showroom during design san francisco 2012?
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