Highback Rapson Greenbelt® Lounge with ArmsPrice: $1,695.00
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Design by Ralph Rapson, 1939.
Made in the U.S.A. by Rapson-Inc.
Ralph Rapson sketched the first version of his "Rapson Rocker" in 1939 while studying and working at Cranbrook Academy of Art under Eliel Saarinen and Charles Eames. In 1940 he modified the design with solid wood and webbing as his entry for MoMA's Organic Design in Home Furnishings Competition. Rapson completed a full line of solid wood and webbing furniture, in collaboration with H.G. Knoll, at the same time he was designing the Rapson Greenbelt House (Case Study #4). In 1945, H.G. Knoll and Bloomingdale's launched the Rapson® Line for H.G. Knoll with considerable fanfare including large ads in the NY Times.
Long coveted by collectors and favored by architects — Frank Lloyd Wright chose the Rapson® Line to furnish his own home, Taliesin West — these iconic chairs combine the best of American woodcraft with the strength and simplicity of Modernism's clean lines. Essentially unavailable for over sixty years, the original Rapson® Line for H.G. Knoll was reintroduced by Rapson-Inc., a family-owned company, as the Greenbelt® Line in 2011.
Faithful to Ralph Rapson's groundbreaking 1945 Rapson® Line for H.G. Knoll, the Highback Greenbelt® Lounge has sculpted, cantilevered arms, a deeply curved seat and a relaxed seat angle. Made with SFI-certified hardwoods, precision-cut and hand-finished using Greenguard® certified finishes, the Highback Rapson Greenbelt® Lounge is available in American Black Walnut or Rock Maple with hand-webbed cotton in natural, red or black or hand-webbed black leather. Optional exposed brass tacks may be specified as well. Every Rapson Greenbelt® Lounge features a subtle, laser-embossed Ralph Rapson signature on the back of the cross-brace.
The Highback Rapson Greenbelt® Lounge with Arms is based on Ralph Rapson's highly successful 1945 Rapson® Line for H.G. Knoll. Made in the U.S.A. by Rapson-Inc., a family-owned company, the Highback Rapson Greenbelt® Lounge is available in American Black Walnut or Rock Maple with hand-webbed cotton in natural, red or black or hand-webbed black leather.
Standard Delivery is Curbside. White Glove service is available at a premium and must be requested at the time of order placement. Please contact our Sales Department for rates.
Material(s): SFI-certified wood, cotton or leather webbing
Dimensions: 28.25" W X 34.25" D X 38" H
Designer: Ralph Rapson
Ralph Rapson's accomplishments in architecture and design span 70 years, connecting the defining events and personalities of American Modernism. He earned architecture degrees at the University of Michigan, and at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He taught architecture at the New Bauhaus School (now IIT Institute of Design) from 1942–46, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1946-54. He was head of the architecture school at the University of Minnesota from 1954–84. His furniture is in the collections of major modern art and design museums and his buildings are coveted for their masterful use of space, light, and line.
Ralph Rapson grew up drawing all the time with his left hand (his right arm was amputated due to a birth defect). His imaginative, skillful drafting drew the attention of Eliel Saarinen and landed him a scholarship at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. There, working with Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames, Harry Bertoia, and Florence Schust (Knoll), Rapson was known for his creativity and his deft, lively drawings of furniture and buildings. He was a prolific sketch artist and kept volumes of sketchbooks from his world travels.
After working with the Saarinens at their architecture firm, teaching and studying at the New Bauhaus in Chicago, and winning multiple architecture contests, Rapson's accomplishments in 1945-1950 helped define the direction of Mid-Century Modernism in America. His 1945 Rapson® Line for H.G. Knoll marked the emergence of the modern aesthetic into the mainstream of post-war life, while his 1945 Rapson Greenbelt™ House (Case Study #4) remains a primary influence on the design of modern houses that unify light, nature, and active living. In 1950 Ralph Rapson and his wife Mary opened their store, Rapson-Inc., revolutionizing the sale of modern goods by bringing furnishings, housewares, and textiles into a single, design-centered shop.
Throughout a long and successful career as an award-winning architect and teacher, Ralph Rapson kept imagining and drawing new furniture designs. In 'retirement', he began to reintroduce old designs while still creating new ones. After overseeing the redesign and reintroduction of the Rapson® Rapid Rocker in 2002, he went on to win the Dwell Lounge design competition in 2007 — at age 92. Since his death in 2008, his family has continued to oversee small batch production of his designs.View other products by Ralph Rapson
Rapson-Inc. Iconic Modern Rockers.
In 1950, there were very few shops in the U.S. that sold modern furniture and design. Ralph and Mary Rapson wanted to change that. While Ralph selected the designs and worked his day job as a practicing architect and architecture professor at MIT, Mary worked tirelessly on the many details of opening a new store for modern design. Rapson-Inc. opened in 1950, just a block off Copley Square in the heart of Boston. Rapson-Inc. showcased not only Rapson's own designs (rockers, especially) but also the designs of Ralph's Cranbrook Academy of Art colleagues. Together, these designs — by Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, and others — continue to define good modern design more than 60 years later.
In the late 1990s, Toby Rapson, AIA, Ralph's youngest son and business partner at Rapson Architects, began working with Ralph and other members of the firm to resurrect Rapson furniture designs. In 2002, they reintroduced an updated, taller version of the bentwood rockers Ralph had first drawn at Cranbrook in 1939. Following Ralph's death in 2008, Toby separated the furniture design business from the architecture firm. Today, Rapson-Inc., a family-owned company, once again uses Ralph and Mary's bow-tie Rapson-Inc. logo, faithfully and responsibly producing furniture in the U.S.A. from the large design library that Ralph Rapson left behind.