Pilar Viladas in the New York Times:
In 1953, the architect Benjamin Thompson (1918-2002) opened a store called Design Research on Brattle Street in Cambridge, Mass. Thompson, a former partner of the Modernist master Walter Gropius, wanted a place where people could buy everything they needed for contemporary living. He made Marimekko dresses and Iittala glasses must-haves, eventually opening stores in New York and San Francisco and designing a striking new glass-and-concrete home for the Cambridge store that opened in 1969. ‘‘The architect’s place on this planet,’’ he said, ‘‘is to create that special environment where life can be lived to its fullest.’’ D/R, as it was known, closed in 1978, but many people, including me, never got over it.
The history and influence of D/R are examined in ‘‘Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes’’ (Chronicle), a new book by Jane Thompson and Alexandra Lange. Thompson, a respected urban planner (who won this year’s Lifetime Achievement honor at the National Design Awards), is the architect’s widow and, after meeting him in the 1960s, worked with him on pioneering projects like Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the South Street Seaport.