Although he began his career in journalism, New York born Gilbert Rohde rose to the forefront of American Modern furniture design. Inspired in part by the French avant-garde furniture he viewed while traveling, Rohde began designing furniture in 1927. He established his own company in New York two years later, creating pieces for Heywood-Wakefield and Thonet, among others. His most significant contribution to mid-century Modern design was perhaps his suggestion, in 1930, to D. J. De Pree of Herman Miller that his company design a modern line of furniture. Rohde’s resulting designs included the Living-Dining Group and Executive Office Group, comprised of fifteen components that could be assembled in 400 different ways—democratic and practical ideas that underscored the Modernist movement. It was with this creative philosophy that he conceived his “Design for Living House,” displayed at the 1933 “Century of Progress” exhibition in Chicago. Further developing the notion of aesthetically pleasing industrial design, Rohde designed interiors for the celebrated 1934 “Machine Art” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Between 1939 and 1943 he notably directed the industrial design department at the New York University School of Architecture.
Reference: Charlotte and Peter Fiell, Design of the 20th Century (Köln: Taschen, 2005), 611.