(photos above) Alvar Aalto portrait and original design collages for the Savoy vase in cardboard and paper
For 70 years now the Iittala factory in Finland has diligently produced Alvar Aalto’s sinuous Savoy vase. Originally part of a housewares collection that Aalto submitted to the Karhula-Iittala design competition in 1936, the vase was first presented at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris, where the theme was “Art and Technology in Modern Life.” At the time of its conception, the vase’s graceful enigmatic form challenged the glassblowers who pioneered the making of it. Inspired by nature, Alvar Aalto simplified design elements and used a craftsman’s knowledge of the material to create design that allows for various combination’s of use. The mysterious form made a strong statement against industrial production that failed to meet human needs. Today it has become an icon of a design movement.
One of the few furniture design icons from Norway, the Scandia Series chairs were designed in 1957 by Hans Brattrud. Popularity peaked in the 1960s and the chairs fell out of production in the 1970s when the original factory burned down. Enter Fjordfiesta, a Norwegian company that has since revived the range. The Company worked closely with Brattrud to bring these appealing chairs back into production, keeping careful attention to the original detailing and design.
Scandia Series Chair, by Hans Brattrud for Fjordfiesta
The Vitra Design Museum collections evolved from modest beginnings in the 1980s to become one of the world’s most important collections of modern furniture. It was founded on two furniture collections – one compiled by Rolf Fehlbaum and the other by Alexander von Vegesack.
Surveying the collections as a whole, the following areas emerge as focal points: the period from the 1850s to the turn of the century shows a focus on bentwood furniture, the designs of Viennese architects and pieces by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright. The first three decades of the twentieth century are most prominently represented by the work of Gerrit Rietveld, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the Bauhaus, as well as Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret. Along with the sizeable holdings from American sources, particularly Charles & Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and Harry Bertoia, the period up to the Second World War is also defined by the French ‘constructeur’ Jean Prouvé, whose work is superbly documented with his most significant furniture designs, as well as many of his facade elements. From Scandinavia, there are designs by such figures as Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, Poul Kjaerholm and Verner Panton and, from Italy, pieces by Gio Ponti, Carlo Mollino, Achille Castiglioni, Studio Memphis and Alchimia. Furnishings from the Arts and Crafts movement along with Art Deco and Art Nouveau are represented, albeit with relatively few examples. Taking the position that subsequent developments in modern furniture can only be fully understood as the ideological and stylistic heirs of these late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century movements, the earlier periods would presumably be the mostly likely candidates for expansion within the collections.
Design Museum Collections, Vitra Design Museum, Read more: Vitra Magazine
The Mid-Century Modernist has unearthed a close relative of the Executive Chair, the ES 102 Intermediate Swivel Arm Chair is made of a bright polished Eames aluminum Eames Universal base, frame and arms; black painted tube. Black leather upholstery on the seat, back and arm rests. Introduced in 1968, discontinued in 1973 due to high production costs.
Legendary Brazilian modernist Oscar Niemeyer, architect of the capital city Brasília, has built only one residential structure in the United States, where he was long banned because of his leftist political associations. Despite his global fame, the Santa Monica house he designed in 1963 was hardly known even to Southern California’s Nikon-strapped aficionados of midcentury modernism.
Now owned by Michael and Gabrielle Boyd, the Strick House (built for film director Joseph Strick and his wife) is T-shaped in plan. The one-story dwelling is capped by a flat roof and is sheathed in glass, brick, and stucco. One of the most prominent features is the row of tall, narrow exposed rafters that cover the entire roof in a serrated pattern and project beyond the overhangs of the front and rear of the home.
Strick House, Santa Monica, California, USA, by Oscar Niemeyer
via: Architectural Digest
Knoll Ads from the early-50′s and mid-60′s, part of a Flickr set.
Architects Krueck & Sexton recently completed restoring one of legendary Modernist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s most celebrated commissions: 860-880 Lake Shore Drive in downtown Chicago.
860-880, which was built between 1949 and 1951, consists of two 26-story, exposed steel and glass apartment towers set at right angles on an irregular travertine plaza. Based on ideas and theories Mies had been perfecting since his earliest days as an independent architect in 1920s Berlin, the buildings redefined highrise living for the post-war generation.
Many architects and critics believe 860-880 is the closest Mies ever came to achieving his goal of less is more “skin and bones” architecture. According to the American Institute of Architects’ Guide to Chicago, “No other building(s) by Mies had as immediate or strong an impact on his American contemporaries, and the influence of these structures was to pervade much of modern architecture.”
860-880 is the third and largest Mies commission Krueck & Sexton, a firm more noted for its original work, has completed in recent years. The other two, all are in Chicago: Crown Hall on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.
860-880 Lake Shore Drive, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,
Restoration by Krueck & Sexton Architects
Product design agency Teague, has an interesting post on the Kodak Bantam Special. Considered an icon in the classic design style of the 1930’s, the camera was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague in 1936. The Bantam Special is one of the finest examples of art-deco styling applied to any camera design. The Bantam Special had a 1937 list price of $110.00, targeting the affluent and fashionable set.
Kodak Bantam Special, by Walter Dorwin Teague for Kodak
This significant exhibition is the first in America to explore the work produced by German designer Konstantin Grcic, one of the most important industrial designers working today. Grcic is known for his logical designs, driven by an honesty of materials and an appropriateness of production methods, yet injected with an inventiveness and originality that set his work apart.
Konstantin Grcic: Decisive Design, November 20 – January 24,
at Gallery 184, The Art Institute, Chicago, USA
László Moholy-Nagy became known in Germany through his formative work as a teacher at the Bauhaus in Dessau from 1923 to 1928. In 1937 he went to Chicago, where he became the founding director of the New Bauhaus (later named the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology). The New Bauhaus, was the immediate successor to the Bauhaus dissolved in 1933 under National Socialist pressure. Bauhaus ideology had a strong impact throughout America, but it was only at the New Bauhaus that the complete curriculum as developed under Walter Gropius in Weimar and Dessau was adopted and further developed.
A retrospective at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt will examine the complex picture of Moholy-Nagy’s oeuvre in order to present the range of his creative output to the public for the first time since the last major exhibition of his work in Kassel in 1991.
Exhibition: László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective, October 8 – February 7, at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany.