In 1974, Harry Bertoia was commissioned by the Standard Oil Company to create sculptures for the plaza of their building, a modern skyscraper designed by architect Edward Durrell Stone. At the time of its completion just a year earlier, the Standard Oil Building (now the Aon Center) was the tallest building in Chicago’s skyline.
Bertoia designed eleven Sonambients for the 4,000 square foot reflecting pool at the building’s base, each sculpture ranging from four to sixteen feet in height. The verticality of the Somabients’ brass and copper rods echoed the height and rhythm of the Standard Oil Building itself, and their sound resonated throughout the plaza. The kinetic sculptures he designed for the Standard Oil Company were installed on June 24, 1975 and they represent some of the most important public commissions of Bertoia’s career. The plaza of the Standard Oil Building became among the most beloved public spaces in the city of Chicago until 1994, when the plaza was redesigned.
Wright is proud to offer three large-scale Somabients original to the Standard Oil commission (estimates range from $300,000-500,000 to $500,000-700,000 each). Six maquettes from the presentation Bertoia created for the project are also included in this auction, as well as eight unique sounding sculptures which he presented to the executives of the Standard Oil Company as examples of his work.
Harry Bertoia: Masterworks from the Standard Oil Commission is the second Wright auction dedicated exclusively to the works of this outstanding sculptor. Comprised of seventeen lots, the auction will take place on June 6, 2013 at 12 pm central. Gallery preview runs May 30 to June 5, Monday through Saturday and Sunday by appointment, Auction at Wright
Aiming to raise discourse on the future of design, Droog Lab went to Shenzhen, China, the epicentre of copycat culture, with the intent of copying China. The result is a collection of 26 works by Studio Droog, Richard Hutten, Ed Annink, Stanley Wong and Urbanus each taking copying as a starting point. From a classic Chinese teapot with an added robust handle by Richard Hutten, to an inverted Chinese restaurant that features a miniature table setting inside a fish tank by Studio Droog-each piece translates an essence of the original in a literal way.
Chinese companies and the government are working hard to shed their copycat reputation. But copying does not only produce exact replicas. Chinese imitation and pirated brands and goods often introduce novelty by adding something, upgrading, or adapting for another market. By linking copying to creativity, The New Original demonstrates that the process of copying is clearly more than just mere replication-it can be a real driver in innovation.
“We have reached a level of saturation in design and in the market, that it’s time to think more intelligently about what to do with the surplus, and use it in the design process. We should take better advantage of our collective intelligence,” states Renny Ramakers, co-founder and director of Droog. “Imitation can also be inspiration.”
Droog Lab: The New Original, March 9th – April 9th, 2013, at Hi space, zhen Jia shopping mall, 4th floor, No. 228 Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, China
A solid-gold replica of the 1969 Apollo 11 Lunar Excursion Module, presented to astronauts Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are the highlight of Out of this World! Jewelry in the Space Age, an exhibition of jewelry at the Forbes Galleries.
Depictions of bodies in outer space have appeared in jewelry since ancient times. The influence of the space race beginning in the late 1950s had a major impact on jewelry design and continues to do so today. This exhibition will trace space images in jewelry from the Georgian period through today and will include fine and costume jewelry from the 1960s through the present, jewelry being made by contemporary studio artists influenced by space, jewelry made from materials created by NASA for space exploration, jewelry with materials that came from space and jewelry flown in space by astronauts and more.
Out of this World! Jewelry in the Space Age, March 16 – September 7, 2013, at the Forbes Galleries, New York City
Kunsthal Rotterdam will be presenting a comprehensive exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Dutch furniture brand Pastoe. Since it was founded in 1913, Pastoe has grown to become an internationally recognised designer label. The brand stands for simplicity, timelessness, quality and craftsmanship. Over the past years, Pastoe has acquired an excellent circle of designers including Maarten Van Severen, Shigeru Uchida and Scholten & Baijings.
The exhibition Like Pastoe illustrates the rich history of the furniture brand and provides an overview of the unique collaboration between Pastoe and various architects, artists and designers. The exhibition has been organised around the following themes: ARCHIVES, ENVIRONMENTS and VISIONS. In the ARCHIVES theme, Krijn de Koning presents the history of Pastoe using exceptional designs, advertising material, sketches, photographs and trade fair presentations. Within the ENVIRONMENTS section, Anne Holtrop projects Pastoe’s vision on the architectonic space. The exhibition’s installations represent an environment in which living, working, learning and creating are defined in a new way. VISIONS highlights the search for new perspectives on product development and includes work by various designers such as Naoto Fukasawa, Claudio Silvestrin and Scheltens & Abbenes.
Like Pastoe: 100 years of design innovation, February 23 – June 2, 2013, at Kunsthal Rotterdam
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Catherine Houard presents the first exhibition in Paris dedicated to Friso Kramer, the Dutch Master of Design. Born in 1922, Friso Kramer was the son of the architect Piet Kramer. He played a significant role in developing the national Dutch style, from 1940 until now. His ideas have constantly helped expand the modern aesthetics of the Netherlands. Kramer began his career as a designer in the industrial field in 1948 at De Cirkel’s, a manufacturer of steel furniture. In the 1950’s he joined the group ‘Goed Wonen’ (‘Good Living’) that was created to reinstall or recreate a good quality of life that disappeared during the war.
In 1953, he created the ‘Revolt Chair’, a popular icon of the Dutch style, at Ahrend’s and was featured at the Triennale of Milan in 1954. At the dawn of his 90th birthday, Friso Kramer is in the spotlight in the Netherlands. At the end of November, he was honored with a tribute at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and in the book written by Yvonne Brentjens ‘De Stoel van Friso Kramer / Friso Kramer Chair’ which has been just re-published in English and Dutch.
In 1998 Finland issued a design-themed stamp set which featured some of the most iconic works of local design history: besides product and textile designs by Alvar Aalto, Kaj Franck, Bertel Gardberg, Timo Sarpaneva and Annika Rimala, furniture design was represented by one chair — Yrjö Kukkapuro’s Karuselli.
The exhibition in the Museum of Estonian Architecture gives an overview of the interior architect and furniture designer Yrjö Kukkapuro’s artistic production which spans over 50 years. Starting with a student work from 1957 and concluding with a prototype specially designed and manufactured for the Tallinn exhibition, Kukkapuro’s long career is filled with independent experiments in the field but also includes positions as the chief designer of Haimi, Lepokaiusto and Avarte. Kukkapuro’s first successful collection Moderno was created in 1958-1960 and is still in production.
Kukkapuro’s oeuvre is like an X-ray of the design history of the second half of the 20th century. Pop-art influenced colourful plastic chairs, Karuselli, Saturnus or Chair No. 419 manufactured in the 1960s from fibreglass and ABS plastic using experimental methods are contemporary benchmarks carried by utoplan aspirations. The minimalist turn in 1970s abandoned artificial materials, new favourite was birch plywood. Remmi and Pressu models date from that period but at the same time Kukkapuro started decades’ long experiment to create ergonomic office chairs. Piaano, Fysio, Sirkus or Funktus are series which thoroughly redefined the understanding about typical office furniture. in the 1980s the wave of Postmodernism brought back colour, patterns and décor to Kukkapuro’s chairs. The 1990s are characterized by the abstract patterns printed on simple plywood form from
the “tattooed” chairs series and in the 2000s the explorations in materials continue. New favourite is bamboo from which there is a series specially made for Chinese market.
Some of the earlier chairs of the still tenaciousiy active Yrjö Kukkapuro have become design classics which are sought-after in online auctions and vintage furniture stores, at the same time being exhibited in renowned design museums from London to New York. The exhibits, prototypes as well as production models, of the Tallinn exhibition are mainly from Kukkapuro’s personal collection which he has gathered in his atelier over the years.
Yrjö Kukkapuro Furniture, Jan 11 – Feb 10, 2013, at the Museum of Estonian Architecture, Tallinn, Estonia
Mass-produced midcentury furniture by the Italian modernist Carlo Mollino can cost a few thousand dollars per piece, and his prototypes and custom works cause greater market stirs.
In 2005 and 2008, Christie’s in New York got seven-figure prices for 1940s oak and maple tables that Mollino created for a marquis in Turin. The designer worked in a vocabulary of hairpin turns, spikes and flanges. He was also notoriously moody and obsessive, and a daredevil who flew experimental planes, scaled mountains and raced cars.
His colorful biography adds to the appeal of the objects. “They have a huge aura about them,” said Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, the founder of the Salon 94 galleries in Manhattan.
A show with a few Mollino works from around 1950 (with five- and six-figure prices each) opens on Thursday at the Salon 94 branch on East 94th Street; display cases were designed by the British architect David Adjaye. The exhibition includes an ash bentwood chair and a resin-and-glass bookcase, made for a Turin publishing house, and aluminum boomerang light fixtures from a textile magnate’s apartment in Turin.
On Oct. 23 the Italian government blocked an auction at Christie’s in London that featured 30 pieces of 1950s Mollino furniture, which had long been installed in an Italian industrialist’s country house in the foothills of the Alps. The works, including oak and chestnut tables, chairs, cabinets and ceramic coat hooks, were deemed by the government to be treasures that could not be exported. (They were returned to their owner.)
On Dec. 10 Sotheby’s in New York will offer four 1940s oak chairs (estimated at $100,000 to $150,000 for the set) with split backs that a private collector found years ago at a Los Angeles tag sale. Mollino used the split-back design in ski resort and restaurant interiors, but no one knows where the tag-sale chairs originated.
The first American exhibition devoted exclusively to the work of one of the most influential and innovative figures of post-war French design. Featuring rare examples presented in historical living environments, the exhibition encompasses thirty unique pieces–many of which have never before been shown publicly–bringing to light the remarkable works of an oft-overlooked Modernist.
Born in France in 1925, Motte was part of a younger generation of post-war designers dedicated to an optimistic vision of industrialization and modern design’s ability to improve the lives of the masses. Following the reconstruction period, this group of designers embraced mass production as well as newer, affordable industrial materials as a means of realizing radically inventive forms.
A stolid devotion to contemporary forms, expressed using both traditional and newly invented industrial materials, established Joseph André Motte as one of the most visionary figures of his generation. Joseph André Motte: The Art of Living highlights the diverse breadth of materials that characterize Motte’s oeuvre and presents many of his most significant innovations in modern style. Featuring rare examples of Motte’s early work in rattan of 1954 to his transition to production furniture with Charron in 1958-60, the show is divided into two spaces that each focus on a distinctive period of this illustrious designer’s oeuvre.
Based on a 1954 Charron presentation, the first space will focus on Motte’s early work in plywood and rattan, and will feature a pair of the iconic 1949 Tripod Chairs and the 1954 rattan Sabre Chair, placed within a living room interior. These iconic designs exemplify Motte’s distinctive use of traditional techniques used to craft innovative modernist forms.
Motte’s designs for mass production and his experimentation with new affordable materials such as plastic, foam, and Formica will be represented in the second space, which will focus on Motte’s designs of the 1960s. This environment presents a 1960s chambre and includes a rare vinyl bed, the 1959 Light Table and a pair of nightstands made in luminous white opaline glass.
Joseph André Motte: The Art of Living, November 8 – February 9, at Demisch Danant, New York
Exhibition in collaboration with Princeton University about the way Playboy magazine used architecture and design as important tools to shape a new identity for the American male. Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979 explores the crucial role of modern architecture–buildings, interiors, furniture, cities and product design–in constructing the Playboy imaginary. The exhibition shows how architecture was mobilized to shape a new sexual and consumer identity for the American male and how architectural taste became critical to success in the art of seduction. Through an extraordinary quantity of architecture and architects featured in Playboy, the magazine played an important role in informing the public, particularly American men, about design and architecture in relation to literature, politics, art, lifestyle and fashion. Looking at the changing nature of Playboy architecture not only provides a way of understanding how Playboy’s project changed from the mid 1950s to the late 1970s; it also reveals how Playboy’s idealized world became a reality that was ingrained into America’s national identity and had a massive global impact.
Playboy Architecture 1953-1979, September 29 – February 10, at NAiM/Bureau Europa, Maastricht, Netherlands
Manuel Bougot’s interest in Le Corbusier’s architecture began in the 1980s when he worked on Caroline Maniaque’s thesis in architecture–on the Jaoul Houses built in 1954 in Neuilly, France. From 2006 onwards, Bougot renewed his interest in Le Corbusier, attending talks on Chandigarh and photographed the only building the architect ever built for himself — a cabanon (a summer cabin) in Roquebrune- Cap-Martin. Photographing Chandigarh was therefore necessary to further any understanding of Le Corbusier, the urban designer and his philosophy about architecture and modernism.
The idea of creating Chandigarh, a new city post Independence, free from the shackles of history, unbound and a symbol of modernity belonged entirely to Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1949, on Nehru’s invitation, Swiss-French architect, Le Corbusier began his Chandigarh experiment, which became an extraordinary laboratory of architecture and town planning. Together with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret and a team of architects, Le Corbusier conceived and designed a way of living for a people whose culture and life he was completely unfamiliar with. Sixty years later, it is this human encounter with Corbusian architecture, which intrigued Bougot enough to keep returning to Chandigarh over two years to make photographs. Apart from photographing the landmark institutional buildings that define Chandigarh, Bougot also takes the viewer into private spaces — homes and villas, which borrow elements from the Corbusian vocabulary. It is through this navigation of public and private spaces that Bougot’s photographs explore the discordance between the architecture and utopian ideals that inspired it. At the same time, Bougot does not shy away from observing the neglect of the monuments of high modernism in India. Bougot’s photographs don’t dwell on nostalgia and his gaze is not uncritical. His carefully constructed and muted colour photographs reveal much more on closer inspection–a highly nuanced and refreshingly different view of contemporary Chandigarh.