Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Design Research: The Store that Brought Modern Living to American Homes

Long before the self-service bin and do-it-yourself dreams of IKEA were a reality, there was a man named Benjamin Thompson. In 1953, he founded Design Research (D/R) in Cambridge, Massacussetts, dubbing it a “general store of good design,” through which he sought to bring quality products into the American home. Marimekko dresses, Niederer glass, Chemex coffee makers and the Blow chair were just a few of the iconic items Thompson introduced to America. A combination of modern and folk aesthetic, D/R became an inspirational showcase for postwar families.

Constructed through scrapbooks, photographs and ephemera, Design Research: The Store that Brought Modern Living to American Homes tells the story of D/R and its founder through the eyes of the people who knew Benjamin Thompson best: his wife, staff and customers. Co-authored by his wife — Jane Thompson — and Alexandra Lange, Design Research is an intimate oral history that chronicles one of America’s finest general stores and its pioneering leaders.

Originally published in Amazon