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DESIGNER
Ferdinand Kramer

Ferdinand Kramer
Ferdinand Kramer was born in 1898 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. In 1916 he began to study architecture in Munich. In 1919 he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar; however, he returned to Munich after a few months due to being disappointed with the lack of regular architecture training. After completing his studies at the Technical University of Munich in 1922, Kramer designed small furniture pieces and other everyday items such as the famous “Kramer Oven”. He gave lectures and participated in the exhibition “Die form” in 1924. From 1925 on, he worked under Ernst May at the Urban Local Planning Authority of Frankfurt where he designed many pieces of furniture and everyday items for the housing projects of the “New Frankfurt”. From 1930 he worked as a freelance architect. Due to the modernity of his designs and the Jewish heritage of his wife Beate Kramer, born Feith, he was barred from the Third Reich’s Imperial Chamber of Fine Arts and banned from carrying out his profession. In 1938 Kramer followed his wife to the USA. Kramer worked mainly as a designer in New York: he developed progressive goods presentation systems for shopping centres, a transportable electric mini kitchen, his successful DIY “knock down” furniture, as well as his famous disposable umbrella “Rainbelle”. Appointed as the Building Director of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Kramer returned to Frankfurt in 1952, where he planned the university buildings to the smallest detail of the interior and thus lastingly shaped the appearance of the Frankfurt University. From 1964 onwards, he continued his work in his own office and planned projects such as Frankfurt’s City and University Library. Close friends were personalities, such as the social philosopher Theodor Adorno or the artist Charlotte Posenenske. During his lifetime, Kramer was awarded countless prizes, distinctions and tributes for his work. A solo exhibition at the Berlin Bauhaus Archive in 1982 / 83 was the first showcase of his work. In 1985 Kramer died in Frankfurt am Main, his place of birth. Besides further shows, in the 1990s the comprehensive Kramer retrospective “The Charm of the Systematic” was exhibited in Zurich, Frankfurt, Dessau and Munich. Ferdinand Kramer is acclaimed as one of the most important architects of modernism today. In 2012, e15 with the Ferdinand Kramer collection launches re-editions of his ground-breaking furniture designs for the first time, which were reissued in close cooperation with Kramer’s second wife. She knows Kramer’s designs like no other.

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