The furniture designer Paul Theodore Frankl was born in Vienna in 1886. Paul Theodore Frankl studied architecture before emigrating to the US in 1914. In New York Paul Theodore Frankl designed stage sets for the Theater Guild. Around 1925 Paul Theodore Frankl began to design furnishings; he gave desks, chests of drawers, and cupboards geometric forms but dissected them seemingly into rectangles, which he then piled on top of each other. These Paul Theodore Frankl pieces recall the skyscrapers built in New York at the time, including the Rockefeller Center and Empire State Building. Paul Theodore Frankl even called them skyscraper furniture.
At the same time, Paul Theodore Frankl's designs began to assimilate Asian influences; his sumptuous furniture made of top-quality materials and hardwoods featured lacquer surfaces. Paul Theodore Frankl opened a gallery in New York in which he sold both his own pieces and those of other designers.
Paul Theodore Frankl gave lectures on such esoteric subjects as "The Skyscraper in Decoration" and wrote several books on the decorative and applied arts of his day, including "New Dimensions: The Decorative Arts of Today" (1928); "Form and Re-Form" (1930); and "Space for Living: Creative Interior Decoration and Design" (1938).
In 1928 Paul Theodore Frankl was a co-founder of the American Designers' Gallery and, in 1930, of the American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen. Paul Theodore Frankl was one of the most important exponents of the American Art déco style.