Wendell Castle, the whimsical designer who coaxed wood into weird, mind-bending shapes that blurred the boundary between serviceable furniture and fine art, died on Jan. 20 at his home in Scottsville, N.Y., near Rochester. He was 85.
The cause was complications of leukemia, his brother, Wayne, said.
“Wendell is the most important postwar American furniture designer, by a long shot,” Glenn Adamson, senior research scholar at the Yale Center for British Art and the former director of New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, told Hyperallergic, an online arts forum.
Trained as an industrial designer and a sculptor, Mr. Castle was after World War II part of what was known as the American studio craft movement. His idiosyncratic works became prized as collectibles, if not necessarily for comfort.