design workshops of san francisco

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While leafing through old copies of Interiors magazine today I came across a cool little article in the September 1947 issue called “Made in California” that showcased a few different furniture designs from the Golden State. The pictures above caught my eye, and I learned that there was a modern furniture design company in San Francisco back then called Design Workshops.

The company was on Bluxome Street at the time, and one of the designers who created the above pieces was named Walter Harada. They made desks, tables and cabinets and combined machine construction with hand work. They are still in business and are now located in Oakland, and as you can imagine after over 60 years they have grown, and they have moved on from doing custom furniture work.

I really like the pieces in the photos and was very happy to discover a post-war modern furniture company in San Francisco that I had never heard of.

The pieces are simple and probably don’t come off as too earthshaking today, but what is noteworthy to me is that this was 1947! Pretty forward-looking for the time if you ask me. For wood furniture shown in that issue they really feel at one with the Eames and Aalto pieces.

And I might add, there was a heck of a lot of really ugly not-modern-at-all furniture and design in your average copy of Interiors from 1947 – I’m referring to the ads, since the editorial department had it going on big time. There was no shortage of provincial decoration and floral patterns getting cranked out back then!

I look forward to digging around some more and will try to find out more about the history of Design Workshops and Walter Harada.

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