In March, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Tugendhat Villa reopened after an $8.8 million, two-year reconstruction. Using family photographs, archival material, visiting Mies’ other buildings in the U.S. and Europe, the Tugendhat redesign team focused on, as Villa Director Iveta Cerna said “identifying authenticity.”
The Villa, built in 1930, was the family home of the Tugendhats only until 1938 when they fled the country due to World War II. Fritz and Greta Tugendhat worked closely with Mies, who designed the site-specific building to make excellent use of steel, glass and concrete, and flowing spatial srrangement. The building was not well maintained under communism. Many of the original furnishings and other elements went missing and structural work needed to be done. Work included removing things added in the years after the Tugendhats had left, as well as hunting down original furniture, and when those couldn’t be found painstakingly making exact copies. The result is a renewed near-perfect example of one of Mies’s “space must be felt” creations.
Tugendhat Villa, Brno, Czech Republic, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s, via: Dwell
To present this new colour range, DuPont™ Corian® called upon 4 designers or galleries, known for their quality and relevant editorial policy and for the innovative character of their collections. Moustache is proud and honoured to have been chosen by DuPont™ on the French market to create this collection. The Favoris Collection was enthusiastically and rigorously pieced together over the past year through context elaboration and exchange of ideas. Managed by Moustache, produced in association alongside and with the complicity of Corian® and Créa Diffusion, the Favoris Collection was designed by Ionna Vautrin, Inga Sempé, François Azambourg, Sébastien Cordoléani and Benjamin Graindorge
Favoris is the one entitled to special treatment due to merit and beauty and also the one who boasts a privileged place near the “all-powerful”. But Favoris is also, and this is less known, the French name commonly used to describe the long piece of hair on each side of the face and its eventual growth into a beard. Having changed from hair into a beard, the Favoris changed from the beard into a Moustache… The Favoris Collection evolved from its side-stepping into temporary openings of a constraint free area without the usual duty of “sticking” to the market-trends. It proposes observation and contemplation of a series of objects designed with the intention of showing, revealing or exaggerating the sensitive nature of a material: the Corian®. Emancipated and liberated from routine questions and functions which sometimes become purposely secondary, the Favoris Collection by Moustache with Corian® also invites you to observe how – putting the Corian® panel presentation-logic aside – this material can become round or in relief and boasts being from an assumed search for beauty.
Favoris Collection, for Moustache, at Corian® Colour Evolution, 2012 Milan Design Week, Spazio Fiorentine, via Savona 35, Milan, April 16–22
Wright is set to auction a weather vane designed by George Nelson for the Howard Miller Clock Company of Zeeland, Michigan.
Carousel Weather Vane, 1954-1955, by George Nelson & Associates, by Howard Miller Clock Company, Estimate: $5,000–7,000, Auction at Wright
When the Gantert Residence in the Hollywood Hills hit the market last fall, it was frequently described as the last built house designed by Pierre Koenig, who’s most famous for his Case Study Houses Nos. 21 and 22 (aka the Stahl House). The Gantert has just been bumped–sort of. For years, Serial mid-century modern collector/preservationist Michael LaFetra has talked about his plans to build a Koenig design on a beachfront lot in Malibu that was once occupied by a Pia Zadora-owned spec house. In fact, he bought that land in 1999, before even his first major modern acquisition, CSH No. 21. Shortly after buying 21, he got a call from Koenig, according to a 2005 LA Times article, and they became friends. In 2000 Koenig offered to build LaFetra a beach house. The house has just been finished, but Koenig died in 2004.
According to the old LAT story, “The plan Koenig ultimately came up with called for a house built from a massive steel-and-glass grid, with living space on the first two floors and three bedrooms on the top level. The entire wall facing the ocean would be made of transparent glass. Although LaFetra asked for polished concrete and cork floors in place of the vinyl tile Koenig favored, in most other ways the house would adhere to Koenig’s spare style. It would have an open floor plan and would be finished with Sheetrock and painted steel.”
An agreement reached with preservationists for the Manufacturers Hanover Trust building, a Modernist masterpiece designed by Gordon Bunshaft for Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM) in 1954. As part of the agreement, Vornado, the building’s current owner, asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to amend the certificate of appropriateness issued in April 2011 to allow the reinstallation of two Harry Bertoia sculptures. SOM is overseeing the current renovation of the building. Vornado will also ask the Commission to expand the landmarking to include the interior of the former vault space. “Our staff could cite no other recent example where an owner requested the agency to increase the area of an interior landmark,” Landmarks spokesperson Elizabeth de Bourbon said in an email.
The agreement is unusual for several reasons, not the least of which is that one of the building’s former owners, JP Morgan Chase, still owns the artwork. One is a 70-foot-wide multi-paneled bronze screen designed for the second floor space that served as a textured backdrop inside the glass box. The second is a spindly mobile representing a cloud. The bank removed both sculptures after Vornado completed the deal to buy the building from Tal Prop Equities in October 2010. Almost immediately the architecture press, led by Ada Louise Huxtable at The Wall Street Journal, called for the sculptures’ return. Huxtable said that the removal of the sculptures was “a perverse form of preservation that begins with a profound misunderstanding of the sculptures function as an essential architectural element.” With the crash of 2008 still fresh, the critic warned that despite the bank’s assurances, sometimes, troubled institutions will ship their “expendable assets” off to Christie’s or Sotheby’s.
One had to walk through a very snowy Skeppsholmen island (Stockholm) to discover design studio Form Us With Love’s new designs, displayed at the Swedish Museum for Architecture. A worthy trip, though: On the occasion of the third “Form Us With Friends” event, designers John Löfgren, Jonas Pettersson, and Petrus Palmér introduced the Plaid dividers for Abstracta (Sweden), the Plug Lamp for Ateljé Lyktan (Sweden), the Form Pendants for Design House Stockholm (Sweden), the Bento chair & table for One Nordic Furniture (a brand new company based in Finland), as well as the Slab Vases for Cosentino Silestone (Spain).
The Bento chair and table, made of bent birch plywood, come into four parts each, that can be assembled without the need for any tools or fasteners. Form pendant glass lights, blown into geometric shapes, have been designed to be hung in group, each shape complementing the other. As for the PET foam room divider, its name (Plaid) suggests a versatile use: it can be hanged, draped or simply put on the floor and fanned out according to one’s needs. The most poetic objects of the series, the Slab vases display colorful rings of silestone (gravel, coloring and binding agents blended into quartz) piled up over a 40cm-high metal bracket, that can be assembled in an array of different combinations.
Exhibition: Form Us With Friends, Form Us With Love, Photography © Jonas Lindström
Elodie Palasse-Leroux is a Paris-based writer and journalist, the founder and editor of Sleek design.
“Plywood,” explained Popular Science in 1948, “is a layercake of lumber and glue.” In the history of design, plywood is also an important modern material that has given 20th-century designers of everyday objects, furniture, and even architecture greater flexibility in shaping modern forms at an industrial scale. This installation features examples, drawn from MoMA’s collection, of modern designs that take advantage of the formal and aesthetic possibilities offered by plywood, from around 1930 through the 1950s. Archival photographs illuminate the process of design and manufacture in plywood. Iconic furniture by Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and Arne Jacobsen appear alongside Organic Platters by Tapio Wirkkala (1951), Sori Yanagi’s Butterfly Stool (1956), an architectural model for a prefabricated house by Marcel Breuer (1943), and experimental designs for plywood in the aeronautics industry.
Plywood: Material, Process, Form, at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, Photography © Jason Mandella
Central to the French postwar reconstruction/industrialization effort, Philippon and Lecoq were among a group of young architects who changed the face of French furniture production in the 1950s and 1960s. Inspired by the teachings of the modernist masters of the Union des Artistes Modernes (U.A.M.), their goal was to bring harmony and comfort to interiors, employing modern materials and techniques, to improve the daily life of French citizens in the challenging postwar climate. Philippon and Lecoq’s furniture combines minimalism with a pervasive sense of architectural refinement and elegance. The couple approached interiors as well with an almost puritanical sense of functionalism, but succeeded in creating an extremely efficient environment which was still comfortable and humanly accessible. They received numerous prestigious awards during their career including the ‘Rene Gabriel’ prize in 1961.
Exhibition: Antoine Philippon and Jacqueline Lecoq, at Demisch Danant
AIAIAI is set to launch a new over-ear headphones aimed at music professionals. Where the TMA-1 enhances the live performance, the TMA-1 Studio enriches the studio/production experience.
In the late ’80s, before he became famous as a member of the Compton, Calif., gangsta-rap group N.W.A., Ice Cube studied architectural drafting at a trade school in Arizona. In the video, made for “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,” the sprawling Getty Institute-organized collection of exhibitions on the postwar Southern California art scene, Ice Cube tours the Eames House in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood, marveling at the resourcefulness of the husband-and-wife team.
“Got off-the-shelf factory windows, prefabricated walls,” he says, sounding as if he were admiring a tricked-out low rider. “They was doing mash-ups before mash-ups even existed.”
For the exhibition Ice Cube wanted to recreate this famous photograph by Charles Eames sitting on a rare 1953 DAT-1 Chair.