THE WHIMSICAL ELEGANCE OF FURNITURE BY JOHN DICKENSON

The trademark of top notched furniture is marked by three things to me: timelessness, timelessness, timelessness. Have I made my point?

The absolute best thing that can happen to an interior designer is to (re)discover a fabulous furniture designer… which ultimately starts the old creative juices flowing and before you know it all thoughts lead to how to use the furniture: which client will appreciate it? which project would it shine in?

 

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Enter John Dickenson! I had actually seen  Dickenson’s  pieces at the David Sutherland Showroom here in NYC but hadn’t focused in on them until I needed some outdoor terrace furniture for a client.

 

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His designs seemed like just the perfect touch for this terrace.  Fanciful and whimsical with just the right sense of rustic meets contemporary.  I knew they would look fabulous on my client’s terrace.

 

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When I discovered that David Sutherland was now re-issuing several of the original designs…Sutherland has had a long love  affair with Dickenson’s furniture…I did a little research into Dickenson, as he was a new name to me. Push comes to shove and suddenly I find that I am totally smitten with this limited, but highly unique collection.

 

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The clever references to nature and animals, is charming…those “feet” just get me… and then the “dressed down” matte white  finish…so unexpected! Add Dickenson to my “A List!”

 

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With names like “Etruscan Table,” “Large Six legged African Table,” and “Hoofed Table” I think you begin to understand Dickenson’s design bent. Plus + plus  David Sutherland is manufacturing the pieces in glass fiber reinforced concrete, which means these marvelous furnishings can take a beating outside as well as look glamorous inside the house!

 

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For those of you  who aren’t satisfied unless you have the real McCoy, you can find original pieces from the 1960’s and 1970’s on 1stDibs.com at several dealers.  You should definitely look for one of his Console Tables made out of galvanized steel and brass.  Although totally unlike the white plaster pieces …which are iconic Dickenson… this piece is high up there when it comes to classic Dickenson design.

 

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Of course , having a go-to source, i.e., David Sutherland,  for the furnishings is perfect. BTW,  these newer pieces are all produced under the auspices of the Dickenson’s estate and use his original molds.  Sounds to me like you are getting a real McCoy!

 

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Thought you might like a little history about Dickenson, who was primarily a super successful interior designer in San Francisco, so here you go :

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 9.54.07 PM” Born in Berkeley Calif., and trained at Parsons School of Design in New York, Dickinson returned to San Francisco to establish his interior design business.  He discovered the secrets of style and chic in New York. Once established in California, Dickinson never left. He hated traveling and would not work outside of San Francisco…Dickinson’s decorating was equally tailored. He was a modernist who acknowledged Jean-Michel Frank and Robsjohn-Gibbings as influences. He didn’t like curtains, so he did shades in linen with tent flaps held by grommets and hooks… Lamp shades were all matched in height. The palette was subtle: white, beige, dirt brown.”

 

 

 

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Okie doke,  get your iPad or pen and pencil out and mark down the name of John Dickenson. His style is so distinctive that you should have very little trouble recognizing one of his pieces…and, when you do see one, please scoff it up before someone else does or you’ll be so sorry you missed a great opportunity to cash in on a little bit of  American mid-century modern  furniture history.

 

 

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Ciao, ciao ’til next time!