INTERIORS, FURNITURE, AND PRODUCT DESIGN

PUBLISHER
Metropolis Books/Formica Corporation

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 6.5 x 9.5 in. / 408 pgs / illustrated throughout.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2013 p. 22   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781938922152 TRADE
List Price: $39.95 CDN $50.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

  

METROPOLIS BOOKS/FORMICA CORPORATION

Formica Forever

Foreword by Mark Adamson. Preface by Abbott Miller. Text by Alexandra Lange, Phil Patton, Peter York.

Featured image, a 1954 ad, "Formicaź is...here...there," is reproduced from <I>Formica Forever</I>.Formicaź is 100 years old! To celebrate this centennial, Formica Corporation has published Formica Forever. The book takes us on a lively, information-packed walk through the life of this much-loved material: from its humble beginnings as electrical insulation; to its initial adoption by designers including Donald Deskey in the 1930s; to a golden age ushered in by the post–World War II housing boom; through global expansion in the second half of the twentieth century; to the laminate’s inventive uses by designers, artists and architects such as Jasper Morrison, Daniel Buren, Frank Gehry, Laurinda Spear and Zaha Hadid; through to the present, which finds the Formica Group working with young designers to push the limits of this pioneering material. The book’s designer, Abbott Miller, has brought together an exuberant array of archival illustrations of original product samples, advertisements and other ephemera. These are anchored by three essays by Phil Patton on the history of Formica Corporation; by Alexandra Lange on Formica Materials and the design world; and by Peter York on the “wipe-clean world” made possible by Formica laminates. Also included are an illustrated chronology and “100 Years of Color and Pattern,” a 128-page Formica-by-color sequence, modeled after a 1960s Formica swatch book and punctuated by excerpts from literary works by luminaries such as John Updike, Janet Evanovich, Jhumpa Lahiri and Ian Fleming that refer to Formica materials.

Featured image, a 1954 ad, "Formicaź is...here...there," is reproduced from Formica Forever.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Wallpaper.com

Jonathan Bell

Ah, the sweet smell of a retro material getting its own celebratory monograph. Formica was born out of the early twentieth century boom in artificial materials, but found its place in popular culture in the boom years following World War 2. Formica became a key component of America's populist modernism, bright, no-fuss, wipe clean and futuristic. The company went worldwide, becoming the power behind pop and a driving force in the DIY drive to reinvent the modern home. Published to celebrate the company's centenary, Formica Forever is a fascinating corporate history allied to an enviable image bank.

ELLEDECOR.COM

Peter TERZIAN

Durable, colorful, and easy to clean, Formica laminate - kraft paper that has been dipped in resin, coated with melamine, compressed, and heated - is all around us, as illustrated Formica Forever (Metropolis), a celebration of the company's centennial. Packed with irresistibly kitschy vintage ads, the book details the material's many uses, including in the interior of the QE2, in kitchens and bathrooms across America (remember the ubiquitous boomerang pattern?), and in artwork by contemporary architects Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry.

Surface Magazine

Steve Kroeter

"A portable exhibition" is how Pentagram's Abbott Miller describes the book he designed that commemorates the 100th anniversary of Formica. With more than 400 archival images, Formica Forever tells the story of the now-ubiquitous laminate. Developed in 1913 as a substitute "for mica," it was first employed in the manufacture of electrical insulation. As the understanding of Formica's capabilities expanded beyond utility and new applications brought pattern, texture, and color "to the table," as Miller puts it, the material began to be used for interiors and consumers products. Essays by Phil Patton, Alexandra Lange, and Peter York address, respectively, the history of the company, the adoption of the laminate by modern architects and designers, and how Formica encouraged the postwar ideal of an easy-upkeep world.

Designers & Books

Allison Arieff

Glamour! Durability! Beauty! Sequins! Submarines! The rich and varied history of, yes, Formica, is explored in this perky paperback. Essays by design critics Phil Patton and Alexandra Lange and Peter York, a management consultant and author, bring depth, getting beneath the surface, if you will, of the lowly (or luxurious, depending on your perspective) laminate.

Azure

Paige Magarrey

When one imagines a mid-century kitchen, it's difficult not to picture a brightly coloured laminate table with matching chairs at its centre. To fete its 100th anniversary, Formica, the company that pioneered the material, has released a 408-page commemorative picture book chronicling its history. Designed by New York's Pentagram, with perforated pages inspired by a 1960s swatch book, Formica Forever (Metropolis Books) is bursting with vintage print ads and photographs of contemporary projects, interspersed with snippets of prose from authors, including Margaret Atwood and John Updike, to illustrate the material's cultural foothold. The result is a rich source of both nostalgic images and ideas for modern interiors.

Mod

Mark Adamson

Suddenly out of left field comes Formica Forever, possibly the most delightful and instructive book evver written on the topic of building a brand.

Formica Forever is corporate self-promotion, but understated self-promotion of rare quality and even rarer modesty. Editorial design is by Pentagram, which will alert the design-savvy to a serious intention to get this book exactly right.

Formica Forever

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FROM THE BOOK
"Formica laminate achieved a philosopher's-stone miracle among modern materials. Like textiles or paper—it was after all, based on Kraft paper—it was capable of accommodating an extraordinary range of designs, later even including textures. It was alos hard, smooth, stable, and completely, glowingly impervious. It was the wipe-clean material, and it became the global symbol of the coming easy-maintenance world." –Peter York, excerpted from the chapter, Toward a Wipe-Clean World: Formicaź Brand in Context

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