The Johnson house, Pierre Koenig’s only building in Northern California, was built on a 20-by-20-foot grid. Glass curtain walls open the house to the landscaping and expansive views. A see-through central fireplace forms the centerpiece of the open-plan living-dining area.
Koenig’s additions in 1988 included two new bedrooms, filling the former carport and entry, and providing a new carport in an added wing. The project also involved stripping away a dropped ceiling, wood veneer paneling that hid the steel siding, bay windows, and Victorian-style beveled-glass doors. It’s projects like these that help inspire local contractors like ACI Exteriors LLC.
“It’s absolutely, completely functional and complete and honest in the delight of its revealed structure. It’s so simple and beautiful, so unadorned. It’s direct and a joy to live in,” Cynthia Riebe says of the house. “I love the night light and how it changes, and the reflections through the interior and the exterior. There’s no boundary between the two.”
The house was restored and expanded by Cynthia and Fred Riebe during the 1990s with the help of Koenig himself. Structure: Steel-framed and steel-sided. The ceilings and exterior walls are unadorned, corrugated steel decking. Laminated wallboard sheathes the interior walls.
Geatano Pesce’s iconic Up lounge chair, designed in the 1960s it is now celebrating its 40th birthday. In honour of this event B&B Italia is making UP available in a new metalic silver upholstery, and in a numbered edition.
UP5 UP6 Silver, by Geatano Pesce, for B&B Italia
Before the mid-1950s, vacuum cleaners weren’t in many Japanese homes because dusters, brooms, and floor cloths were considered adequate for cleaning traditional Japanese homes. But through extensive marketing efforts by manufacturers, Japanese-made vacuum cleaners gradually became household necessities by the 1960s – with the MC-1000 top of the list.
MC-1000, by Panasonic, 1965, Part a selection from the Panasonic Design Museum
One of two free attractions at Disneyland sponsored by Monsanto was this walk-through tour of a plastic house with plastic furnishings and fascinating modern appliances such as dishwashers, microwave, intercom system, and closets filled with polyester clothes. Designed by Marvin Goody & Richard Hamilton, the house only existed for the 10 year length of Monsanto’s lease, at which time they moved on to the Adventure Thru Inner Space attraction. Goody & Hamilton were MIT architecture faculty members sponsored by Monsanto to find new markets for their plastic products. They took 2 years to design the 1,280 sq. ft. home, at which time they formed their own private firm to take over the commercial planning of the project.
When it was dismantled, the house was so indestructible that the crew gave up and left some of the support pilings in place (they can still be seen in Neptune’s Grotto between the Tomorrowland entrance and Fantasyland). Supposedly the planned one-day demolition ended up taking two weeks as the wrecking ball just bounced off the exterior. Workers cut the house into pieces with hacksaws.
Monsanto House of the Future, 1957–1967, by Marvin Goody & Richard Hamilton, Disneyland, Anaheim, California, USA.
Knotted Chair was featured in the 1996 exhibition “Contemporary Design from the Netherlands” curated by Paola Antonelli at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was presented in Milan in 1996 as part of the “Dry Tech” project initiated by Droog Design of the Netherlands and carried out in cooperation with the Aviation and Space Laboratory of Delft Technical University. Made from a macrame of carbon fibers and epoxy-coated aramid fibers, this chair is now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Cappellini Knotted Chair, 1996, by Marcel Wanders
The Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói (MAC) is a landmark of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Oscar Niemeyer designed this museum perched on the cliff in the city of Niterói. The disk stretches out over the massive reflecting pool underneath. Similarities to a UFO is entirely intentional. The visitor approaches the disk in a snaking, red-carpet path through the air. The museum opened in 1996 after a huge scandal
Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by Oscar Niemeyer
Recognized by Frank Lloyd Wright as the earliest ‘Usonian’ house, La Miniatura is also the first residence to utilize Wright’s highly inventive textile block building system. The Millard House is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most important works of architecture. Now, following a multi-year restoration, the complex offers one of the most romantic, and creative living spaces anywhere. Sited on nearly an acre of gardens within the Prospect Historic District of Pasadena, the residence and studio include: 4 bedrooms, and 4 baths, 2 kitchens, living room, formal dining room, and semi-attached garages. The Millard House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The only house that Gordon Bunshaft designed is the Travertine House, built in 1963 for his own family. After his death, he left it to the Museum of Modern Art who sold it to Martha Stewart in 1995. Her extensive remodelling led to acrimonious disputes with neighbours so she sold it to Donald Maharam in 2005, who declared it decrepit and demolished the house.
Bunshaft was a partner in the New York office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), and his earliest work, Lever House in New York, was SOM’s breakthrough.
Travertine House, Georgica Pond, New York, by Gordon Bunshaft, (demolished)
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Each piece is designed by Josef Hartwig to reflect the moves that it can make in the game. This Bauhaus product is a fine example of collaboration between the different workshops: Heinz Nosselt produced the corresponding chess table in the joinery workshop, while Joost Schmidt designed the accompanying promotional leaflet and posters. This example is from the developmental period of the Bauhaus chess set. It is the penultimate version to the one produced in Dessau.
Chess set, by Josef Hartwig, 1924, Beech Stained Natural or Black for Workshop for sculpture, Bauhaus Weimar
Interior Design has posted an article “Brains and Braun” by Larry Weinberg looking at influential product designs produced by Braun from the 50s and ’60s.
“order rather than confusion, quiet rather than loud, unobtrusive rather than exciting, sparse rather than profuse, and well-balanced rather than exalted.”
- Dieter Rams
Images: (top) T1000 World Receiver, 1963, (middle) Record player PS 45, (bottom) Pocket radio T-41, all by Dieter Rams, for Braun