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Donald Deskey

Biographies
Donald Deskey

*  1894 Blue Earth/Minnesota
† 1989 Vero Bach/Florida


Born in Blue Earth, Minnesota, in 1894, the pioneering industrial designer Donald Deskey was one of the leading American Art déco designers along with the designers Henry Dreyfuss, Walter Dorwin Teague, Norman Bel Geddes, Russel Wright, and Raymond Loewy. Donald Deskey studied architecture and painting. In 1925 Deskey visited the important "Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes" in Paris. Deskey was so impressed by the exhibition that he became a designer and furniture designer. Donald Deskey designed objects for the Paul Frankl Gallery, the proprietor of which was very taken with Donald Deskey's Art déco designs inspired by skyscraper architecture. Donald Deskey also designed shop window decoration for the New York department stores Saks Fifth Avenue and Franklin Simon & Co. In the late 1920s, Donald Deskey developed Weldtex, a decorative material made of plywood, although he also used metal and even cork in his furniture designs, a procedure that was widely imitated. From 1927 until 1931 Donald Deskey had a studio with the designer Phillip Vollmer (Deskey-Vollmer). Donald Deskey also designed the interiors of numerous apartments owned by upper-crust New Yorkers, including John D. Rockefeller. In 1930 Donald Deskey won the competition to design the interior of the Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center, which took from 1931 until 1934. In 1939 Donald Deskey showed work at the New York World's Fair. Early in the 1940s he founded Donald Deskey Associates. By then Donald Deskey was also working in industrial and packaging design. Donald Deskey designed mass produced industrial products and the packaging of numerous products for companies that were household names such as Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. In 1928 Donald Deskey was a founding member of the American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen (AUDAC). Om 1944 Deskey also co-founded the American Society of Industrial Designers.