Thursday, January 21, 2010

HIgh Design: Shaker Utilitarianism

The Shaker belief that things should only be made for their intended use inspired a design movement dedicated to simplicity, with a surprising graphic feel.

A collection of brooms hang on the wall in this Shaker storage room to be used by members of the home. A modern translation of this look is a collection of rug beaters as art in a Connecticut country house. But the beauty of the Shaker broom is still well respected, fetching upwards of $1,500 at auction.

Still from Ken Burns' The Shakers.

Vintage rug beaters line the walls in this Connecticut farmhouse via Country Living.

The stark simplicity of Shaker interiors is reminiscent of some classic 20th century design. And the clean lines of their furntiure has inspired designs from Wegner's Peacock chair to the classic British Windsor. But the perfection of Shaker originals will still cost as much at $2,000.

Still from Ken Burns' The Shakers.

Swedish stick back chair in modern interior via Antique Arts.

Tiger Maple side chair estimated at $1,000-$2,000.

While the traditional Shaker dress epitomized modesty (along with a cap that symbolized purity) more modern interpretations of the little black dress celebrate style, fashion and femininity.

Sister's Gown of wool, cotton and metal c. 1875.

1950's wool black dress with white angora trim.

Postcard of Mt. Lebanon, NY Shakers in traditional dress, estimated at $200-$300 (along with larger framed print of the same image).

Although their designs were simple, Shaker's interiors are known for their intense colors--they just used them sparingly.

Hancock Shaker Village painted bedroom.

Grammercy Park residence designed by Chris Kraig for Suite New York.

Maple and pine green painted bed estimated at $500-$1,000.

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