Design Research, Inc. collection,
1953-1979
SIL-CH.1997-123-2

Summary
Collection ID:
SIL-CH.1997-123-2
Creators:
Design Research, Inc.
Dates:
1953-1979
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
6.5 cubic feet
Repository:
Smithsonian Libraries
This collection consists ofcorrespondence, scrapbooks, catalogs, brochures, original drawings, photographs, financial records, resumes, legal documents, magazine articles, business records, press releases, artwork, and samples of boxes, bags, and buttons. Files documenting the company's history include a statement of the company's philosophy and records pertaining to the establishment of new stores in various cities. Project files document the furniture, fabrics, rugs, and accessories imported and design by Design Research, Inc. Bound reprints of articles that appeared in Interiors and International Design magazines are included. Clippings and other records documenting the design and construction of D/R stores are provided in the files pertaining to Benjamin Thompson & Associates, Inc. Also found in these files is a printed and bound presentation copy of Thompson's address, "The Craft of Design and the Art of Building", along with other articles by and about Thompson. Additional information pertaining to D/R's association with Marimekko can be found in the Cooper- Hewitt Design Archive's Marimekko Collection.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
Unprocessed. Consists of six record groups: 1) Company history; 2) Office records; 3) Project files; 4) Clippings and Scrapbooks; 5) Benjamin Thompson & Associates, Inc. for D/R; and 6) Photographs.

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Retail establishment and product design. Design Research, Inc. (D/R), founded in 1953 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by architect Benjamin Thompson, specialized in the latest post-war products for the modern home. The displays in the stores were considered unique in that they were designed at domestic scale and the products were shown in realistic, homelike arrangements.
Products were sought and selected based on the anticipated preferences of customers, not on traditional retail buying patterns. At the time, the availability of "good design" was limited to wholesale firms such as Herman Miller and Knoll. Thompson was the first to introduce the work of many European and Asian designers to the American retail market, including the work of the design firm of Marimekko for which D/R was the exclusive U.S. represenative. The company also created many of its own products including chairs manufactured by Thonet. D/R later opened stores in New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Thompson's own architectural firm, Benjamin Thompson & Associates, Inc., designed all of the D/R stores. For the San Francisco store, Thomspon renovated the former Ghirardelli Chocolate factory. Even after the stores officially closed in 1978, D/R remained a model for many merchants.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access note
Unprocessed; access is limited. Permission of Library Director required for use.

Other Finding Aids note
Other Finding Aids note
No finding aid.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Benjamin Thompson and Associates. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Design Research, Inc. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marimekko Oy. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Thompson, Benjamin, 1918-2002 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Display of merchandise--United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Financial records Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Furniture design--United States--History--20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Furniture store Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
House furnishings--United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Legal correspondence Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Press releases Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Resumes Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Retail trade--United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Speeches Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stores, Retail--Design Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stores, Retail--United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Writings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Libraries
Smithsonian Libraries
P.O. Box 37012
NMAH 1041, MRC 672
Washington, DC, 20013-7012
Phone: (202) 633-3872
AskaLibrarian@si.edu