The Loss of Wendell Castle

wendell castle

A few weeks ago we lost Wendell Castle, one of the most innovative artists and furniture designers in recent history.  His name is not quite as recognizable as Eames or Starck, but he made as strong an impact on the field and is credited with beginning the art furniture movement.  He is known for wild biomorphic shaped works; pieces that often look quite alien.  He pieces always walk the line between art and design, inspiring so many like Gehry and Newson.

Gehry’s cardboard furniture:


Newson’s Lockheed Lounger:


Certainly Castle pieces are not for everyone, in price, practicality and sensibility, his artistry and creativity is highly inspiring.

Some of his early work:

wendell castle chest


wendell castle victory desk


wendell castle molar settee


And more recent works:

wendell castle table


wendell castle dead eye

One of my favorite things he produced was his ’10 Rules of Thumb’ for designers, in 1996.  They are wonderful little reminders to us creatives that design for a living.  It is often easy to become tired and repetitive in our work.  These ideas are so important to remember.

1. If you are in love with an idea you are no judge of its beauty or value.

2. It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the frame.

3. After learning the tricks of the trade, don’t think you know the trade.

4. We hear and apprehend what we already know.

5. The dog that stays on the porch will find no bones.

6. Never state a problem to yourself in the same terms it was brought to you.

7. If it’s offbeat or surprising it’s probably useful.

8. If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it.

9. Don’t get too serious.

10. If you hit the bullseye every time the target is too near.


Absolutely words to live by.  Love.  Mr. Castle, you will be missed, but thank you for leaving such an amazing legacy for us to aspire to!

For more on Castle, buy the comprehensive catalogue raisonne by Emily Evans Eerdmans.

*All Castle photos courtesy of wendellcastle.com.



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