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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Paul Laszlo

Paul Laszlo (1900-1993) was born in Hungary. Educated in Vienna, Laszlo later moved to Stuttgart, where he had established a successful decorating firm by 1927. Alarmed by the increasingly anti-Semitic political climate in Germany and a clash with Albert Speer, Hitler´s architect, he abandoned his business and fled to New York in 1936.

Laszlo made his way to Beverly Hills shortly thereafter, where he reestablished his studio and quickly rose to prominence. His work attracted a celebrity clientele including Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Billy Wilder, Barbara Stanwyck, Debbie Reynolds and Ronald Reagan. In fact, his clients in general were so well-heeled and powerful that a 1952 Time magazine article nicknamed him "the millionaire´s architect."

In addition to designs issued under his own label, Laszlo produced a variety of furniture for mass production. In 1948, Herman Miller hired him to create a collection for the middle class market; he also collaborated with Glenn of California and Brown Saltman.

Although noted for their sumptuous materials and fine craftsmanship, Laszlo´s furniture and interiors were tastefully understated. And, because Laszlo designed every detail from fixtures to textiles, his spaces were always remarkably cohesive. He was also noted for his ability to create harmonious schemes out of disparate and unexpected colors. Notable interior projects included department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Ohrbach's, corporate interiors, hotels, and the interiors of Howard Hughes' Las Vegas casinos. Other slightly more unusual ventures included a swanky bomb shelter for the United States Air Force, and "Atomville", a futuristic underground city.

Laszlo was known for rejecting clients if he believed the he would be unhappy with the relationship. He turned down Elizabeth Taylor at the height of her career in 1960 because she insisted on having input into the design process. He later refused to design for Barbra Streisand for the same reason.


Chair for Brown Saltman

Chest for Brown Saltman


Club chair for Harry Finer residence

Desk for Brown Saltman

Lounge chairs for Herman Miller

Mahogany and laminate credenza for Brown Saltman

Mohair and leather chairs

Pair of lamps

Sofa for Glenn of California

Night stands

Walnut and cane chairs with ottoman

Lamps attributed to Paul Laszlo


  1. oh that credenza! *fans self*

    i'm usually not very hip on woven items but i like the chest with the woven look wood and all of the chairs ~ gorgeous!

  2. My family is half Hungarian (I speak Hungarian), so I clicked because I recognized the name as Hungarian. Now I'm totally obsessed. His designs were so fresh! I heart both pairs of lamps. Thanks for the lesson!

  3. @stacey: That chest is incredible, and I'm totally in love with that first chair. I'm pretty crazy about the mahogany and laminate credenza too. I think I've always underestimated Laszlo.

  4. @Tanya: Aren't the lamps gorgeous? I love the woven shades, which he apparently liked to use. Whether Laszlo designed the bottom lamps or not, I think they're spectacular.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Please drop by often!

  5. Very cool stuff. Love those walnut and cane chairs.

  6. @Rhan Vintage: I'd love to have those and the matching sofa in an atrium. They're so beautiful.

  7. I have the credenza and am looking to sell it? The top needs refinishing but the front is in excellent condition. I am located in Culver City, CA. If anyone is interested please let me know!