I was first introduced to the work of Henry Dreyfuss in school, researching my thesis. In search of information on the dimensions of the human body, I was directed to The Measure of Man, Dreyfuss' 1959 book on ergonomics and human factors. The Art and Architecture library had a gorgeous, near-original manuscript with big, beautiful drawings. I recentIy bought another book of his, Designing for People. This mid-century masterwork introduced industrial design best practices to the world, one of the earliest examples of applying "design thinking" to general business and quality-of-life problems.
Born in Brooklyn in 1904, Dreyfuss apprenticed himself to the legendary Norman Bel Geddes at the tender age of 20. At the time, industrial design was not entirely recognized as a field in and of itself. Bel Geddes' studio mainly paid the bills by designing sets for theatrical productions in and around New York. Dreyfuss split off to form his own practice (still working today) in 1929.
|Man at work.|