Shaker furniture has been has been widely influential to modern furniture designers. This exhibition will examine the idea of modernism and its connection to ideals of utopian social reform through the lens of Shaker and modern furnishings, with works by iconic designers such as Jens Risom, Børge Mogensen, George Nakashima, and Wharton Esherick shown alongside Shaker works from the nineteenth century. The exhibition is installed in the historic Wash House ironing room at Mount Lebanon.
Shaker communal life and their values of purity, order, and union are revealed in how they made their furniture, which is distinctive in its simple, direct forms. Historians have long explored the influence of Shaker forms on modern design. The exhibition will trace the path of influence - how Shaker furniture came to inspire students at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Denmark, where a generation of renowned furniture designers, later famous for “Danish modern” design, were educated.