Bolton Landing’s Next Summer Finds Inspiration in Mid-Century Designer
Local residents and visitors viewing “Russel Wright: The Nature of Design,” a new exhibition at the New York State Museum in Albany, may wish to stop by Next Summer on the way home.
The Bolton Landing home furnishings shop sells ceramic plates, pitchers, and vases by the famed mid-century designer.
According to Next Summer owner Matthew Slaughter, Wright’s original designs are still manufactured by a small California company called Bauer, whom Wright licensed to produce his work.
“Any authentic, contemporary piece by Russell Wright is made by Bauer,” said Slaughter. “The company began working with Wright in 1946, and before his death in 1976, he authorized the company to continue producing his work because of its dedication to his standards and principles.”
Slaughter emphasizes that Russel Wright dishes are not merely one product among many carried by the shop.
“In many ways, Russel Wright was an inspiration for the shop,” said Slaughter. “I was always impressed by his statement, “the table is the heart of the home.”
According to Slaughter, Russel Wright’s inexpensive, mass-produced dinnerware, furniture, appliances and textiles were not only visually and technically innovative, but tools to achieve his vision of ‘easier living,’ an American lifestyle that was gracious yet contemporary and informal.
“That’s what true design is about – creating an atmosphere, conveying not just a life style but a way of life. At Next Summer, it’s the lake life, which can also be gracious and informal at the same time,” said Slaughter.
Other lines carried by Next Summer supplement and expand upon that vision of design in the service of contemporary living, said Slaughter.
Another principle that Slaughter attributes to Russel Wright was also an inspiration for the shop, he said.
“He believed that beautifully designed, well-made products should be affordable. That’s our philosophy, and that’s the type of product we search out and like to offer,” said Slaughter.
Russel Wright was born in 1904 and is credited with revolutionizing the American home and the way people lived. Collaborating with his wife Mary, Wright disseminated his designs and ideas in exhibitions, books, articles, advertisements, radio interviews, and demonstration rooms in department stores.
“Russel Wright: The Nature of Design,” which will be on view at the State Museum through December 31, explores Wright’s career from the 1920s through the 1970s and features approximately 40 objects along with photographs and design sketches.
The exhibit also includes a video with images created by Wright to explain his conception of Manitoga, his final home and estate and now a national historic landmark, located in Garrison, New York. Built into an abandoned stone quarry, the modernist home and 75-acre garden was Wright’s most inventive and holistic realization of his philosophy and goal to live in harmony with nature and good design.
For more information about “Russel Wright: The Nature of Design,” call the New York State Museum at 518-474-5877.