Icing on the Cake

Claude de Forest cartoon

Claude de Forest Collection of Eero Saarinen and Associates Material (1995-68), Courtesy Cranbrook Archives.

It’s the holiday season. And, I don’t know about you, but for me, one of the best aspects of the holidays is the food. I love preparing a big holiday feast and the comforting aromas of spiced cider, or cookies and pies baking in the oven. Perhaps that is why the drawing featured in today’s Kitchen Sink appealed to me. While researching an archival inquiry, I came across this wonderful cartoon of a baker icing a cake by Claude de Forest (1931-2013).

Born in 1931 in Basel, Switzerland, de Forest descended from a long line of architects. This led him to pursue a BA in Architecture from the University of Manitoba and a Masters degree in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After completing his studies at MIT, de Forest worked as a cartoonist and junior designer for Eero Saarinen and Associates from 1956-1958. Significant projects include the Ingalls Hockey Rink at Yale University, the IBM Research Center, the TWA Terminal at JFK, and the University of Chicago Law School. The “cake” in this photo is actually a model of the Chicago Law School.

In 1960 de Forest began teaching in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. He retired as a full professor in the Department of Environmental Studies in 1994. De Forest’s talents extended beyond design and teaching—he was also an activist and dedicated a significant amount of time and research to disability issues and responsible design. In 2007 he received the Lifetime Achievement Winnipeg Accessibility Award for community leadership in Universal Design.

Additional works in our collection related to Claude de Forest can be viewed here.

Gina Tecos, Archivist

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