1920, Hanford, California
1982, San Francisco, California
In his illustrious yet short-lived career, San Francisco-based designer and decorator John Dickinson rarely felt limited by the purely functional aspects of design. Instead, he helped to create a world where inanimate objects such as tables, chairs, and lamps assumed a fanciful, anthropomorphic quality that eventually became his trademark.
After briefly attending Parsons School of Design, Dickinson worked for several display departments, furniture stores, and decorating firms in New York and California. He founded his own practice in San Francisco in 1956.
In 1977 Philip Schlein, then president and CEO of Macy's California, commissioned Dickinson to design his first full-scale furniture collection. Described by the New York Times as "deluxe and rarefied," the collection includes white lacquered bookcases that emulate skyscrapers, Roman-column nightstands that swivel to reveal shelving, and tables and lamps propped up by bone-like supports.