The career of California ceramics designer La Gardo Tackett (1911-1992) had a chance beginning due to an unlikely friendship between an LA graphics designer, Lou Danziger, and a New Jersey meat packer, Max Lawrence, who shared a love of modernism. In 1949 while Tackett was teaching at the California School of Art in Pasadena, Danziger told Lawrence about Tackett and his students making planters and sculptures that looked like “white doughnuts, halved avocados and stacked pyramids”. Lawrence’s wife decided to view their work and the rest, as they say, is history.
Within months the couple began mass-producing the ceramics and Architectural Pottery was born. When the catalog was released in 1950, architects began ordering the pieces. MoMA selected most of the items for its 1951 Good Design exhibition. Tackett became famous for his hourglass-shaped designs. Student John Follis was hailed for his circular and peanut-shaped planters that rested on simple stands. The pots, which were also used in the Case Study houses, became a part of the American modern landscape. Architectural Pottery closed in 1969 and in 1999 the San Diego company, Vessel USA, began manufacturing many of the designs from the original drawings.
Through his own design studio, La Gardo Tackett created a wide range of tabletop items that were made in Japan for companies like Freeman Lederman and Schmid International. His early 50s Eggheads for Schmid were distributed by Richard Morgenthau, who operated Raymor. The Eggheads, which are hollow and have a cork underneath, were marketed primarily through Playboy Magazine as bedside condom holders. – Terri