Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dick Seeger's Plastic Eye-Candy

When I was a kid living in Arizona in the 1970s, our family sometimes liked to window shop along Scottsdale’s Fifth Avenue. This was a touristy area with a wonderfully fake "old West" vibe, complete with wood-plank boardwalks and hitching posts along the street.

There was one inviting art gallery that had windows crammed full of dazzling shapes and luminous color and, to my 8 year-old eyes, it was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen.
For years I couldn’t remember much more about it, until I recently stumbled across a 1968 issue of Monsanto Magazine (yes, that Monsanto!)

Before setting up shop in Scottsdale, designer Dick Seeger had created modern plastic décor for United Airlines’ Boeing 720 jets (with Raymond Loewy) and had done commissions for Welton Beckett Associates, including art for banks, large hotels and restaurants.

Made of clear acrylic pieces chemically fused with colorful polyester resins, Seeger’s room dividers, decorative hangings, coasters, trivets and candleholders all looked as though they had spilled out of a gigantic kaleidoscope.