By Louise Sandhaus and Kat Catmur
220 pages, hardcover, $40
Published by Princeton Architectural Press
Furniture designer, graphic designer, interior designer, product designer. Gere Kavanaugh is a woman of many hats—sometimes even literally, as proven in an epigraph image in Louise Sandhaus and Kat Catmur’s A Colorful Life: Gere Kavanaugh, Designer. Born in 1929, Kavanaugh has created an incredible career for herself, from being the third woman to graduate from the cross-disciplinary design program at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan to being one of the first women designers creating displays for model cars at General Motors to opening her own multidisciplinary design studio in Los Angeles, where she, with her love of bright colors, pop aesthetics and patterns made using everything from flowers to gaskets, would influence the zeitgeist of design in the ’80s and ’90s. This book charts the rise of Kavanaugh’s career with both images of finished works and conceptual drawings straight from the designer’s sketchbooks, as well as the occasional ad featuring her wrapping papers, kitchen fixtures and home furniture.
Sandhaus and Catmur offer not only an expertly curated archive of Kavanaugh’s many talents in A Colorful Life, but also warm, firsthand accounts of the designer from the many people she’s impacted with her work, such as Terry Irwin, head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, and Jessica Fleischmann, founder and creative director of Los Angeles design firm still room. This book is a fitting tribute to the storied body of work that Kavanaugh has built up throughout her lifetime. —Michael Coyne