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Irving Harper (1916–2015)

The designer Irving Harper, best known for his iconic furniture and designing the elaborate Chrysler pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, died last month according to a report by Sam Roberts in the New York Times. Harper worked for another designer, George Nelson, from 1947 to 1963 at the Herman Miller furniture company during which time he created the design for his famous “marshmallow” sofa, considered a landmark of modern, Pop-inflected design.

Born in Manhattan, he attended Brooklyn College and Cooper Union and went on to work as a draftsman for Herman Miller’s Gilbert Rohde. Harper worked on exhibits for the 1939 New York World’s Fair and helped design the Chrysler pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair, which entailed creating a lake with islands featuring different elements of automobile manufacturing as well as a walk-in engine. That same year, he and Phillip George also started their own design company where Mr. Harper worked until his retirement in 1983.

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