Irving Harper: Iconic Designer–and Paper Sculptor!

Harper’s 1956 “Marshmallow Sofa” from Herman Miller.

Irving Harper was a designer with George Nelson Associates, Inc., from 1947-1964, and has been described as “the most famous designer you have never heard of.”

His best-known designs are the Herman Miller “Marshmallow Sofa” and the “Ball Clock” produced by the Howard Miller Clock Co.  I’m not sure there can be many American “Boomers” who have not encountered one or both of these designs in their lives.

The iconic 1964 “Ball Clock”

I did not know until recently that he also was/is a paper sculptor.  Still alive and feisty at 93, he actually seems more focused on the paper sculpture than other things, at this point.

I discovered the book Irving Harper: Works in Paper, which was released in February 2013, through GoodReads. The GoodReads site features not only a good write-up about Harper and the book, but also a slide show of his paper sculpture work.  I have chosen some of my favorites from the slide show to share here, but you can see them all at Goodreads.

I have not been able to find a title for this or the other Irving Harper paper sculptures in the slide show.

I love the face on this one, with its triangular, Picassoesque tongue.

I’m not sure I’d want these guys staring at me 24/7, but I thought the variations on a “face” were interesting.

Please note: this is a re-post from a favorite 2013 post I created for my old blog Artdog Observations. I thought you might enjoy it.

PHOTOS: Many thanks to Design Within Reach, for the image of theMarshmallow Sofa,  and to the “SoHo Parenting” Blog for the Ball Clock image.  All others are from the slideshow at Goodreads. My deepest appreciation to all! 

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jansgephardt

Kansas City-based Jan S. Gephardt is a writer, artist, and teacher. She makes nationally-recognized paper sculpture and writes sf mystery novels about a sapient police dog.

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