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Design: Salem Chair Library

The Salem College Chair Library

The Salem College Chair Library is a unique entity, containing reproductions of 40+ iconic twentieth century chairs. In this space, students are allowed to physically see and touch each item as they study the particular design and construction materials. The chairs, along with over 1000 books on design, architecture, furniture, etc., were donated by Charles and Martha Sutton in an effort to elevate the Design program at Salem College to a national level. The library itself is located in the Elberson Fine Arts Center on the Salem College campus, while the books are held in both the Gramley Library and the Rudolph Fine Arts Library, both on campus.

Specific courses within the Design program extensively use this collection for their required projects. Although far from complete, representative reference and circulating texts, as well as databases and websites, containing material for completing these assignments follow.

Suggest Sources for Design Projects

Designers

Searching the designer's name often leads to various sources with information on their designs, be they reviews, interviews, biographical pages, and manufacturers. For example, by searching for "Ludwig Mies van der Rohe," designer of the Barcelona chair, you come up with the following sources:

Chairs

Performing a search on your chair name can lead you to the manufacturer and other sites. These sites often provide information on the designer, chair construction, dimensions, prices, etc. For example, when I type in "barcelona chair," the first item that comes up is the manufacturer's website. On this site, the first page tells me when it was designed, how it is constructed, upholstery options, dimensions, price, and also includes a van der Rohe's most quoted maxim.

Databases

Searching Salem College databases also lead to information on Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his designs. Journals, trade publications, newspapers, and other sources may provide various types of information and photographs of the designer being researched. For example, a search for Mies van der Rohe in Academic Search Complete yields 298 hits in Academic Journals, 143 in Magazines, 93 in Trade Publications, 53 in Newspapers, and 38 Book Reviews; however, a search using his full name--Ludwig Mies van der Rohe--in Academic Search Complete yields different results: 91 hits in Magazines, 50 in Trade Publications, 38 in Newspapers, 23 in Academic Journals, and 20 Book Reviews.

Remember that you can use the column on the left to limit your results (e.g. limit to sources that are in English). Also, Mies van der Rohe was known primarily as an architect, so you may need to further limit your results to those dealing with furniture. You can do so by performing an advanced search for "Mies van der Rohe" and "furniture."

Websites

There are various websites that contain information on where certain designs have been used in television and film. While not complete, these sites may provide information to help you with your project.

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