Many objects are beautiful; and many creations are functional. But only few achieve enduring status. Designed by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius in 1969, the Tac tea service is probably the most beautiful tea service ever produced.
“Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair, but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.”
- Walter Gropius
Tac Tea Pot, by Walter Gropius, (1883-1969) for Rosenthal
The Nationalbank building in the middle of Copenhagen is a distinctive presence in the street scene. It was designed by the internationally renowned Danish architect Arne Jacobsen and is considered one of his finest works. The extensive building was constructed in stages, commencing in 1965. The first stage comprised the construction of a new note printing works. After Jacobsen’s death in 1971 the architectural firm Dissing + Weitling took over the building project. The central hall of “Nationalbanken” with it’s cathedral atmosphere, marble floor, walls and ceiling and the sculptural staircase is one of the most beautiful indoor spaces in the city.
A set of vintage Verner Panton images have been unearthed, including one of the master himself.
Photographs, via: Does it Float
Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen’s Entenza House, otherwise known as Case Study #9, is on the market. The house, it seems, had been converted to a guest house or annex, while owner Barry Berkus built his oversized main residence adjacent to the Entenza House.
We’ll take the maid’s quarters any day.
Entenza House, Case Study House #9, by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen, Los Angeles, USA, $14 million (including adjacent house)
via: Curbed LA
The house is remarkably well-preserved:
With it’s an octagonal design that’s part Jetsons, part Bond, John Lautner’s Chemosphere House is considered a masterpiece of California Modernism. Perched on concrete poles, the home is reached via an inclined cable railway. The landmark Chemosphere home in the Hollywood Hills and its owner, publisher Benedikt Taschen, were profiled in a 2005 Home cover story. “What was great about Lautner is that he had this dualism about nature and the city,” Taschen said at the time, noting that one side of the house was “pure nature,” with skunks, bobcats, coyotes and deer, while the other side was “pure city,” the vast San Fernando Valley.
The career of the maverick architect John Lautner (1911-1994) spanned more than six decades, yet he is little known outside the architecture world, even though his buildings have starred in movies like “Diamonds are Forever” and “Charlie’s Angels.” Man’s relationship to nature and the universe intrigued Lautner and informed his designs, from coffee shops to plans for endless cities. Unfolding from the hills, nestled in canyons, or hovering above city skylines, Lautner’s residential projects have had influence on some of today’s most important architects — Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas, among them.
Chemosphere House, 1960, Los Angeles, USA, by John Lautner
Long overshadowed by modernist contemporaries Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra, John Lautner and the homes he built in Southern California are set to receive unprecedented attention thanks to the publication of a book published by Rizzoli. The book details Lautner’s inspirations, philosophies and legacy, not the least of which is the Chemosphere, originally derided by some critics as a silly fantasy.
Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner, Edited by historian Nicholas Olsberg
Buy it here: Amazon
Many designers and architects have worked with the notion of folding, collapsible or adjustable furniture. A classic piece commonly known as the propeller stool was designed by Poul Kjaerholm, a functional design with slender, elegant steel legs, twisting 180 degrees.
PK 91, by Poul Kjærholm, for Fritz Hansen
Inspired by the hull of a viking ship, this large staved teak ice bucket, incongruously called Congo is lined in orange plastic.
Danish-born Jens H. Quistgaad was one of Scandinavia’s leading designers with a vast product range that included furniture, kitchen equipment, tableware and more. He is most closely associated with Dansk International Designs, a company which he co-founded with American entrepreneur Ted Nierenberg. Their partnership lasted for 30 years, Quistgaard being responsible for the majority of designs produced.
He worked in a variety of materials including iron, steel, ceramic and wood. It is wood, and in particular teak, which most often springs to mind when Jens Quistgaard is mentioned.
Teak Ice bucket, by Jens H Quistgaard, 1955, for Dansk Designs
Gio Ponti designed the Villa Planchart, a private home built in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1956. Ponti designed the interiors in a remarkable fashion; he selected (and often designed) furnishings, decorative objects, and even articles of daily use. The modernist principle of integration of the arts with the architecture was naturally carried out in this building.
As well as carefully planning and executing the relationship between architecture and landscape, Ponti believed that “architecture is made to be looked at.” It is public landscape. “Facades are the wall of the street, and a city is made of streets; the facades are the visible part of the city, they are all of the city that appears.”
Villa Planchart, Caracas, Venezuela, 1956, by Gio Ponti.
More: Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Lewis Morley became world-famous in 1963 when he took what is considered by many to be one of the photographic icons of the period, his classic portrait of Christine Keeler. Then at the height of her fifteen minutes of fame as one of the protagonists of the infamous Profumo Affair. In 1963 a major political scandal developed in Britain due to model and call-girl Christine Keeler’s affairs with John Profumo, the Conservative Party’s Minister of War, and a Soviet naval attaché. The ensuing controversy was possibly even responsible for the downfall of the ‘Tory’ Party at the following election.
Morley photographed Ms Keeler sitting naked astride a knock-off of an Arne Jacobsen chair (sold by Habitat), her torso tantalizingly concealed by her arms and the back of the chair.
“It was the very last shot on the roll. I was walking away and turned back. She was in a perfect position and I just snapped it. I never found her sexy, though. She reminded me too much of Vera Lynn!”
Carl Arne Breger is one of those designers that emerged in the fifties and sixties that served the industry exceptionally well by being both technically innovative and completely in tune with the expectations of the users. The Duett Pitcher and Juicer made a cameo in the cult series Space 1999.
Duett is now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
Carl Arne Breger was trained between 1943 and 1948 as a decoration painter and model maker at Stockholm’s Konstfack he started as a scene and billboard painter for Svensk Filmindustri. His design career started when in 1953 he joined Stig Lindberg at Gustavsberg.
Duett Pitcher and Juicer, 1957 (now out of production) by Carl Arne Breger, for Gustavsberg