Muller-Munk, Peter

Carroll Gantz
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Peter Muller-Munk image

Peter studied as a silversmith at the University of Berlin and emigrated from Germany to the US in 1926. He began his career working at Tiffany’s in New York as a metalworker from 1926 to 1928, exhibiting his work at the 1928 Macy's exposition. He established his own silver studio in New York in 1929 and exhibited at several Metropolitan Museum shows in 1929 and 1930. His most famous piece was his 1935 Art Deco Normandie pitcher, named after the French ocean liner of the same name that debuted that same year. The pitcher was made by Revere Copper and Brass, Inc, and was produced until 1941. In 1935 he accepted a position at the Carnegie Institute of Technology to replace Donald Dohner as head of the industrial design program and remained there until he left in 1944 to devote full time to the industrial design office in Pittsburgh he had established in 1938. His major clients included Dow Chemical in 1943 to stimulate public interest in post-war plastics, and Waring, for whom he designed their now classic 1937 chrome "waterfall" blender. In 1954, he was president of the Society of Industrial Designers, and in 1957, became the first president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, through which he became well-known internationally. In 1959 he won one of the first ALCOA industrial design awards, and consulted with US Steel regarding their newly-introduced vinyl-coated steel sheets, with decorative patterns embossed into the vinyl, and which could be formed, drawn or stamped like any sheet steel. In 1964, he consulted with US Steel regarding their Unisphere symbol that dominated the 1964 World’s Fair, and still remains in Flushing Meadows. Peter Muller-Munk Associates (PMMA) continues as an active design firm in Pittsburgh, well-known for way-finding design at major airports and public spaces.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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