Kodak Carousel boxes, made famous all over again by Mad Men." /> Kodak Carousel boxes, made famous all over again by Mad Men." />
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Alexandra Lange

Marigold, Goldenrod, Egg Yolk


In other words, yellow. I am doing some research on lifestyles of the mid-century and fabulous, and checked out fellow D-Crit professor Russell Flinchum’s book on the MoMa’s American Design collection. I was immediately struck by the color of the cover, so close in hue to that of my D/R book. Russell says, just by coincidence, it is the same hue as the (R.I.P.) Kodak Carousel boxes all card-carrying art historians used to carry their slides around in. And Mad Men made famous all over again. (All these shades are a little distorted onscreen.)

In the original Pentagram design, our cover was going to be all yellow with a big die-cut D/R, a little like Michael Beirut’s own book. Then marketing wisdom prevailed and we switched to a Marimekko fabric. The pattern of choice only came in red and white, but the company allowed us to recolor it.

I’m too much of a classicist to approve of recoloring, especially when there’s so much original yellow in the Marimekko oeuvre. One of my favorites is Dombra, in the yellow, pink, orange colorway, which I have in oilcloth on my kitchen table. My backsplash is also just the color of Russell’s cover.

I think of this color yellow as being so 1960, whatever it is called. And there are few colors that have such strong associations for me, since most cycle through our visual field regularly. But yellow is not a color most people wear outside the stadium, and so when it turns up in fashion it is noticeable. My most recent sighting was at LeSportsac, in this bag, which I love enough to look out for at Century 21. Surely it will be remaindered. Yellow is a color for tablecloths, not clothes, and I love that the Passerby looks very much like oilcloth attached to a handle.

If 1960 is back, perfect. We can have a long, hot Marimekko summer. Lemondade from a Kobenstyle pitcher? I’m looking up my molded salad recipe now.



Posted in: Books, Design History

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Alexandra Lange Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.

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