When the American industrial designer Russel Wright and his wife, Mary, purchased 75 acres of sloping land high above the Hudson River in Garrison, New York, in 1942, they knew little, if anything, about gardening or horticulture. But over the next 30-some years, Wright transformed the area, damaged from a century of logging and quarrying, into one of the most extraordinary examples of landscape design of all time. “Wright’s greatest achievement was the landscape,” says Jean-Paul Maitinsky, the site’s executive director since 2011.
Russel Wright (1904-1976) was among the first generation of American industrial designers, and he is best known today for the first personality-driven lifestyle products in the US. His simple, practical style and love of nature, promoted in his tabletop collections, textiles, and furnishings, many of which are sought-after collectibles today, and his bestselling “Guide to Easier Living,” helped Americans embrace Modernism in the 1930s, and 1940s, and 1950s.