February 2, 2014
It seems that just about everything Tibor Kalman did was unorthodox; from the beginning he was pushing against the grain. He attended New York University for only one year before leaving to move to Cuba to join the Venceremos Brigade, a group started by members of the Students for a Democratic Society. There he labored side by side with native workers as a show of support for the Cuban Revolution, particularly against the United States’ policies toward Cuba. Upon his return to the United States in 1971, Kalman returned to N.Y.U. and discovered his budding interest in design while creating the window displays at the N.Y.U Student Book Exchange. When Leonard Riggio, the owner of the exchange, bought the bookstore Barnes & Noble, he took Tibor with him as his creative director. One of Kalman’s creations was the Barnes & Noble shopping bag which is still in use today. Already, Tibor Kalman was leaving an impression wherever he went.