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Richard S. Latham

Chicago, United States

Award Participations

  • iF product design award 1978

Vita

Richard Latham (1920-1991) was born in Kansas City, and studied engineering at Kansas City Engineering School. He studied design at Armour Institute (now Illinois Instutute of Technology) under Mies van der Rohe from 1940 to 1942. Latham started as a designer with Montgomery Ward in 1942 and after military service in WW II, joined Raymond Loewy's Chicago office in 1945.

He worked on the Greyhound "Scenicruiser" two-level bus in collaboration with General Motors and on aircraft interiors. He designed Hallicrafters SX-42 radio receiver in 1945 and worked with others on Borg-Erickson’s Model 1500 "Flight" bathroom scale of 1952, selected by Fortune magazine as one of the top 500 designs of all time. Latham in the process became Director of Design of Loewy’s Chicago office.

Latham spent five years with the German porcelain industry and was instrumental in establishing Rosenthal's 1952 "Studio Line," that won a Grand Prize at the Brussels World Fair in 1958. Latham had influenced Philip Rosenthal, head of the German porcelain firm Rosenthal AG founded by his father in 1879, to establish a separate division to produce this special "Studio-Line" designed by outstanding international designers. The line was shown in special "Studio Houses," and over the next 30 years, employed over 100 designers from 11 nations.

In 1955 he founded Latham Tyler Jensen Inc. with two other Loewy designers, Robert D. Tyler and George Jensen in Chicago. Latham was president of ASID in 1959 and president of ICSID in 1965. He became an early advocate of international design opportunities and cooperation.

In about 1970 he founded Richard S. Latham & Associates Inc., and specialized in product planning, pioneering in this important new area for industrial designers. He became design advisor for Bang & Olufsen of Denmark, and for Land's End, which he helped found.

by IDSA Report