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Vignelli Legacy: A Celebration at Saint Peter’s

May 20, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

A reception celebrating the Vignelli Legacy at Saint Peter’s Church. An accompanying exhibition of Heller products and photos of the Vignellis runs from May 1 through October 11, 2024. Reception will include brief remarks at 7:00 pm from Josh Owen, John Edelman, Gary Hustwit, and Jared R. Stahler. RSVP via Eventbrite.

Re-visit or visit for the first time Lella and Massimo Vignelli’s masterpiece, Saint Peter’s Church, in Midtown. While there, you’ll discover elements of the church’s design related to the iconic Hellerware recently re-released by Heller Furniture and try out a variety of Vignelli-designed seating. An accompanying photo exhibition sponsored by the Vignelli Center for Design Studies displays photos from 2013 by Gary Hustwit of Lella and Massimo at work in their home. (May 27, 2024 marks the tenth anniversary of Massimo’s death.)
Long-described by the design duo as their “most important project,” Saint Peter’s is a total design: from interiors to furniture to silver liturgical objects to graphics. Massimo’s design for the church’s impressive organ is among only a handful of architect-designed organs of the modern era. Saint Peter’s recently sustained a massive flood from a broken NYC water-main. Visitors will have the opportunity to see first-hand a significant part of Saint Peter’s reconstruction. An immensely public building, this reception is a rare opportunity to experience the space without the hustle and bustle of the myriad programs held in an environment Massimo hailed as “more than a church.”

Reception begins at 6:00 p.m., with brief remarks at 7:00 p.m. from:

  • – Josh Owen, Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design, Director of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology, and President of Josh Owen LLC
  • – John Edelman, President and CEO of Heller Furniture and former CEO of Design Within Reach
  • – Gary Hustwit, NYC-based filmmaker (Helvetica, Objectified) and visual artist
  • – Jared R. Stahler, Senior Pastor of Saint Peter’s Church

Presented by Saint Peter’s Church and The Arts and Architecture Conservancy at Saint Peter’s  with Heller Furniture and The Vignelli Center for Design Studies at RIT.

Learn more about Saint Peter’s rebuilding and another Design Week event, “Architecture and Light in Three Modern Spaces” on May 21, 2024, at

About the Heller Furniture Installation

Since 1971, Heller has worked with some of the world’s finest designers, in particular Lella and Massimo Vignelli. Loved worldwide, the Max Collection – dubbed Hellerware – was designed in the 1960s by the duo, who The New York Times described as “a two-person design army with a shared aesthetic that was sleek and intelligent.”

In the 2000s, the Vignellis designed a Bench and Cube side table for Heller. Recently, Heller Furniture launched a new Vignelli Rocker. Aesthetically pleasing, highly functional, and designed without ego, the Vignelli Collection surpasses the definition of modern.

Heller Furniture’s soon-to-be-released SOS Stool by Josh Owen will also be on view.

About the Hustwit Photo Installation

In this installation, more than two dozen photographs from filmmaker and visual artist Gary Hustwit’s 2013 visit to the home of Massimo and Lella Vignelli are on view in the Living Room Gallery at Saint Peter’s Church, courtesy Hustwit and the Vignelli Center for Design Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology.

While searching for a willing subject to aid his burgeoning interest in still life photography, Hustwit turned to Massimo Vignelli, a figure who, along with a towering legacy in the design world, had a huge impact on Hustwit’s life and career. Massimo was Hustwit’s first on-camera interview for his film, Helvetica, and now served as first subject for a photography project, one that would encompass a day spent in the home he created with beloved wife and design partner Lella.

For the Vignellis, design was imbued in every facet of their life—from the furniture, lighting, and vases, to the dishes and cutlery. “I spent hours photographing the contents of their bookshelves, their kitchen, everything,” Hustwit said.

Both the Heller and Hustwit installations will be on view from May 1 to October 11, 2024.


May 20
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Manhattan - Midtown East + West
Business Name
Saint Peter's Church
Art x Design


Saint Peter’s Church
619 Lexington Avenue
New York City, 10022 United States
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