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Written by BRUCE IRVING
back to the future
A “street museum” celebrates 40 years of Design Research
PHO TOS: LEF T, © ES TO; BELO W, KELLY DAVIDSON
Well before the radical glass-walled headquarters of Design Research opened in 1969, the proprietor of the groundbreaking store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was rattling the establishment. For more than a decade, architect Benjamin Thompson had been overturning hidebound New
England tastes, first as a founding member of the Modernist firm The Architects
Collaborative, and then as head of his own office, Benjamin Thompson &
Associates. He also ran a furniture and fashion store called Design Research,
commonly referred to as D/R, out of a wood-frame house on Brattle Street, just
down the road from where the new building would rise in Harvard Square.
a vintage photograph of the Design Research headquarters (above) shows the
beehive effect created by its glass walls and concrete slab floors. Jane Thompson
and Peter Wheeler (right) wear Marimekko shirts as they discuss the new display.