Paul Evans Studio for Directional
Paul Evans and Dorsey Reading. Paul Evans: Sculptor & Designer, Head, p. 6
Early designs for Directional, like this cabinet of magnificent proportions, were made in Paul Evans’s studio in Lambertsville, New Jersey. It was not until 1970 that Evans opened a 30,000 square foot factory in Plumsteadville, Pennsylvania to produce works exclusively for Directional.
Page from the 1968 Directional catalog.
Advertised as "Sculptured Metal by Paul Evans" in the 1968 Directional catalog, this attractive early cabinet features steel doors rather than a steel facade affixed to wood or plywood as found in Evans's later designs. Laboriously hand-forged, the cabinet is signature Evans: baroquely modern, unforgettable in form.
Evans’s work is virtually free of historical reference. Influences are unknown, non-existent.
Paul Evans 1931–1987
Born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1931, Paul Evans exhibited talent for design at an early age. He studied woodworking in high school and briefly attended the Philadelphia Textile Institute. Evans was awarded the Aileen O. Webb Scholarship in 1950 and studied at the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen. He would continue his studies at Cranbrook in 1952 with a focus on metalwork. In 1953 he took a position as the metal craftsman at the living museum, Old Sturbridge Village. Feeling that his creativity was being stifled, Evans left the museum in 1955 to find a more stimulating environment. He opened a showroom with fellow designer Phillip Lloyd Powell and the two began a decade long collaboration. Evans’ experiments with welded and enameled sculpture in the early 1960s caught the eye of the Directional furniture company. Directional was looking for handmade furniture with distinctive character and Evans’ new American craft designs were a perfect fit. In 1971, Evans developed the brass and chrome Cityscape line for Directional marking a departure from his earlier sculptural works. In the 1980s, working with his son Keith, an electrical engineer, he continued to experiment with new materials and design increasing minimal forms with kinetic elements. Together, they formed Zoom, Inc. in 1983 and began a relationship with the Design Institute of America. In 1987, just one day after his retirement, Evans suffered his third heart attack and died.