Klamath Kaleidoscope Party Invitation

Klamath Kaleidoscope Party Invitation

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In 1939, Walter Landor arrived in the United States to help install the British training pavilion at the New York World’s Fair. At twenty-six years old, Landor had left his home in Germany to study art and design in Britain, where he became the youngest Fellow of the Royal Society of Industrial Artists. With whispers of war circulating around Europe, Landor decided to stay in the United States and travelled to the West Coast in search of design work. In 1941, Landor and his new wife Josephine Martinelli founded Walter Landor and Associates (today Landor) in their San Francisco apartment. The company specialized in packaging and label design for a number of iconic brands ranging from Marlboro cigarettes to Aunt Jemima to Sara Lee. As the company expanded, Landor’s base of operations moved from his home through several locations until it settled in 1962 on the Klamath, a docked ferryboat in the San Francisco Bay that would become an iconic part of Landor’s own brand.
Landor used every chance to impress clients with their design skills, down to the containers of cocktail peanuts served at the famous Landor parties. In 1962, Landor needed a new office space in San Francisco. Instead of a conventional building, they relocated to “the only office building ever to be rammed by a submarine,” the decommissioned ferryboat called the Klamath. The Klamath served as an office, design space, focus group space, photo studio, slide library, and even space for Landor’s museum of antique packaging. Landor also hosted parties on the boat that included such personalities as Marshall McLuhan, Tom Wolfe, Herb Caen, Justin Herman, and Dr. Gerald Fagan. These parties served to impress potential clients to show not only the creativity of the team in its choice of office space, but also to showcase the design team skill through such displays as their peanut packaging. Landor also created fanciful invitations for guests, including this kaleidoscope and a labeled, branded bottle of champagne.
Currently not on view
Object Name
overall: 22.5 cm x 5.8 cm; 8 7/8 in x 2 5/16 in
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Credit Line
Bequest of Walter and Josephine Landor
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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