Project Kick-off

On Aug. 30th the project kicks off with Grace Jeffer’s Introduction.

Grace Jeffers is an esteemed design historian, materials specialist and writer focusing on the 20th century, whose approach blends art history, social history, material science and the practice of design. A graduate of the prestigious Bard Graduate Center for the Decorative Arts, she is a pioneer in her industry because of her focus on actual materials, rather than the objects they become. She is currently working on The New Materials Handbook, an encyclopedia of modern design materials, which will be published by Thames & Hudson London in 2014.

As a curator, Jeffers is best known for her work restoring and preserving the Ralph and Sunny Wilson House in Temple, Texas, for which she received the prestigious Merit Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She successfully argued that the use of modern materials in architecture warrants recognition. To this date, the Ralph Wilson House is the only structure in the National Register of Historic Places listed because of its use of material.

Having been born into the laminate world, Jeffers has always taken inspiration from the materials that comprise design objects. At the age of nine, she shingled her Valentine’s Day project with laminate, while other students used paper doilies. As a designer, she has created patterns and designs for paper, flooring, laminate and other decorative surfacing materials for over ten different major manufacturers.

Jeffers contributed to the catalog of the Cooper-Hewitt exhibition Skin: Surface and Substance in Contemporary Design, and has served as a design editor to architectural trade magazines for twelve years.