It is a testament to Paul Frankl's design versatility and productiveness that new pieces of his work keep turning up, such as this bookcase. The original piece dated from 1926, the 1st year he really started producing Skyscraper style furniture. He was still experimenting with designs at this stage, and these would evolve over the next few years. This bookcase has the Skyscraper look very clearly in the top section, and the asymmetry in the lay-out of the shelves is there, he was nearly there with the style he became synonomous with. The 2 door base section has 2 cubby holes under the top; later bookcases would change the symmetry of the cubby holes to produce more interesting shapes. The shaped plinth is quite ornate, which he soon moved to plainer plinths. The top right hand side protrudes above the shelf and has a shaped top edge, something not seen on any of his other pieces.
The bookcase that was discovered was lacquered black, with gold edges to the top section. This is unusual for Frankl, who later used silver for edging, so he was developing his style at the time this piece was made. But finishing the edges in another colour was something he did regularly on his Skyscraper furniture, because it emphasised the look of the pieces and was more original. We produced a couple of these bookcases for a Chicago client, and they will sit either side of the double doors as shown below, where they clearly echo the Chicago Skyscraper skyline, as Frankl intended his bookcases to do in New York. For a balanced design the tops of both were handed. The bookcase was painted in a typical combination of black with silver lines, but we've shown some other colours below. But as these are made bespoke we could finish this in another colour, or even change the proportions of it.
The bookcase that was disovered was lacquered black, with gold edges to the top section. However, where the black paint had peeled off in places it was clear that the original piece had been lacquered green, with gold edges. Green was a colour he often used for his furniture. You do not need to be a slave to exact copies but can have them in different colour combinations, Frankl would do bespoke finishes for clients as well. Below we have shown a selection of Frankl different colour options you could go for, or choose your own colour. Or have the piece made with a wood or wood/lacquer combination finish. This original bookcase, like several Frankl ones, were intended for smaller New York appartments, and are not that tall. If you want we can increase the height in proportion.
Every bookcase starts off as a large sheet of board, and gets cut down into the various components. Pieces like these are cut with millimeter accuracy to ensure the crisp look and it all joins up perfectly. Assembling complicated pieces like the top requires some skill. The finished bookcases are shown complete, ready for painting. We'll add more photos as these progress.
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