about Ralph Rapson

Ralph Rapson's accomplishments in architecture and design span 70 years and connect the defining events and personalities of American Modernism. His furniture is in the collections of major modern art and design museums. His buildings are coveted for their masterful use of space, light, and line.

Ralph Rapson grew up drawing all the time wth his left (and only) hand. His imaginative, skillful drafting got the attention of Eliel Saarinen and landed him a scholarship at Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. There, working with the likes of Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames, Harry Bertoia, and Florence Schust (Knoll), Rapson was known for his creativity and his deft, lively drawings of furniture and buildings.

After working with the Saarinens at their architecture firm, teaching and studying at the New Bauhaus in Chicago, and winning multiple architecture contests, Rapson's accomplishments in 1945-1950 helped define the direction of Mid-Century Modernism in America:

- His 1945 Rapson Line for Knoll® marked the emergence of the modern aesthetic into the mainstream of post-war life.

- His 1945 Rapson Greenbelt™ House (Case Study #4) remains a primary influence on the design of modern houses that unify light, nature, and active living.

- His 1950 store, Rapson-Inc., revolutionized the sale of modern goods by bringing furnishings, housewares, and textiles into a single, design-centered shop.

Throughout a long and successful career as an award-winning architect and teacher, Ralph Rapson kept imagining and drawing new furniture designs. In 'retirement', he began to reintroduce old designs and make new ones. After overseeing the redesign and reintroduction of the Rapson Bentwood Rocker (a.k.a., Rapson Rapid Rocker) in 2002, he also won the Dwell Lounge design competition in 2007 at age 92.

Since his death in 2008, his family has continued to oversee small batch production of his designs by American craftsmen.



 

For more on Ralph Rapson and his designs, please check out our media page for articles or follow these links:

ARCHITECTURE


Rapson Architects

Greenbelt Homes

AIA - Rapson Traveling Fellowship

 


 

FURNITURE


Knoll / Knoll Museum

R Gallery

 


 

GENERAL 


Cranbrook Academy - Rapson Bibliography

Rapson Hall - University of Minnesota College of Architecture and Design


Recent PostsRSS

Rapson sale featured in New York Times

The Rapson Line at Loll Designs is on sale through January 16.  Shop now:   And here's the NYT article highlighting the sale.

Rapson Designs Featured at Chicago Modern Art Exhibit

We are so thrilled that two Rapson Greenbelt Chairs were included in this great new exhibit on the New Bauhaus in Chicago.     The exhibit, housed at the Ukrainian Institute for Modern Art, highlights the role of the New...

George Heinrich

George Heinrich is a Minneapolis based photographer whose exceptional work was much admired by Ralph. He has photographed for both the Children's Theater and the Jungle Theater. His photo's have graced the covers of Architecture Magazine and Architecture Minnesota.  George...

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