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Nomadic Furniture 1 and 2

Contributed by Robert Beatty on May 5th, 2019. Artwork published in .
    Nomadic Furniture 1 and 2 1
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover designs for the books Nomadic Furniture (1973) and Nomadic Furniture 2 (1974) by James Hennessey and Victor Papanek. The first volume shows caps from Harry (VGC, 1966). The follow-up features Baker Sans, another VGC face which had been issued shortly before, in 1973.

    Nomadic Furniture 1 and 2 2
    Source: Photo: High Valley Books. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Nomadic Furniture 1 and 2 3
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.


    • Baker Sans
    • Harry




    Artwork location

    5 Comments on “Nomadic Furniture 1 and 2

    1. May 5th, 2019  7:12 pm

      Very nice, thank you, Robert!

      See also Victor Papanek’s previous book, Design For The Real World from 1971 on Fonts In Use.

      The smaller text – “How to build and where to buy lightweight furniture that folds, inflates, knocks down, stacks, or is disposable and can be recycled … with many easy to follow illustrations” – is Papanek’s handwriting. Nick Sherman made a digital interpretation of these energetic letterforms, see the Papanek typeface on Hex Projects.

      Some of the interior pages with more of his handwriting are reproduced in a 2015 article for Core77. Rain Noe mentions that “in 2008, ten years after Papanek’s death, the two books were combined and re-released as Nomadic Furniture: D-I-Y Projects That Are Lightweight and Light on the Environment.” In 2013, the MAK in Vienna organized an exhibition titled Nomadic Furniture 3.0, curated by Martina Fineder together with Sebastian Hackenschmidt and Thomas Geisler.

    2. May 6th, 2019  3:08 am

      Thanks for posting this.

      I read these and other Papanek (& Hennesey) books (Design for the Real World and How Things Don’t Work) back in the seventies. They had a big effect on how I thought about design, and still do. I was even inspired to make some of my own furniture out of simple materials.

    3. May 6th, 2019  3:29 am

      Here’s the cover of How Things Don’t Work (1977) by Papanek & Hennessey, which features ITC Ronda Bold and Permanent Semibold:

    4. May 6th, 2019  3:35 am

      Here’s the back cover, set in Antique Olive:

    5. May 6th, 2019  9:51 am

      Thanks for your comments, Mark! The images warrant a separate post: How Things Don’t Work.

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