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
“When I started thinking about the design, I had the desire to challenge the perception and the common preconceptions of a material that is normally known to people just as ‘plastics’. I knew that I would like to go further than what’s the norm not only in terms of function and the look, but about the feel and tactility of the material as well. Soon it was clear that one of the greatest things I was missing in typical designs made of plastic was a significant impression of substance, of materiality. Therefore, the next step could only be a design that celebrated the actual material as it is, straightforward, solid and honest, with a concept of hiding nothing, but showing its innermost values to the outside. No second skin, no paint coat, the true, bold material in its pure form.”
- Dirk Winkel
Winkel w127 is manufactured of solid fiberglas reinforced biopolyamide. The material is recyclable. The mechanical solution is based on micro gas springs, widely used in the automotive and electronics industries. The gas springs have a lifespan of more than 50,000 compressions and give exceptionally good movement patterns. The shade is adjustable for universal direction of the light. The light technology is based on a highly energy-efficient multichip LED solution.
Wästberg Winkel w127, by Dirk Winkel, GOOD DESIGN Award 2012
Located on a rolling farm property in upstate New York, the LM Guest House celebrates the beauty of the surrounding landscape-sweeping views through an all-glass facade magnify the spacious, open feel of the living areas. The home employs several sustainable design strategies including geothermal heating and cooling, radiant floors, motorized solar shading, photovoltaic panels, and rainwater harvesting.
The open living and sleeping areas flow around a compact slatted wood core that disguises the mechanical, storage, and bathing spaces. Two sleeping couchettes with built-in bunk beds provide efficient accommodations for additional weekend guests. Natural white oak wood detailing provides warmth and texture throughout the home.
The high-performance glass facade was pre-fabricated off site, shipped in one container, and erected in two days. An innovative steel frame structure allows the roof to cantilever dramatically over the open living areas and bedroom.
LM Guest House, by Desai/Chia Architecture, Photography by Paul Warchol
The Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli presents A Passion for Jean Prouvé, an exhibition devoted to the furniture and architecture by the French designer Jean Prouvé from the collection owned by Laurence and Patrick Seguin.
Laurence and Patrick Seguin discovered the work of Jean Prouvé, in the late 1980s, through his furniture designs. They were immediately struck by the unique aesthetic of these pieces, where the artistic skill lies wholly in imperceptible technical mastery devoted to enhancing the strength of the materials. While at the time very few people had even heard of Jean Prouvé, their enthusiasm for his captivating lines was immediate, a revelation that became a true passion.
The couple then began to take an interest in Jean Prouvé’s work as a whole, of which the furniture is only a part, going on to discover his architectural designs. With the idea that “there is no difference between constructing a piece of furniture and constructing a building”, Jean Prouvé applied the same design approach to both fields, basing all of his work on it.
From the opening of their gallery in Paris in 1989, Laurence and Patrick Seguin began to work in earnest promoting the creations of Jean Prouvé, with the result that the most important international collectors and the most prestigious museums now have works by the French architect and designer in their collections. Indeed today Jean Prouvé is held to be one of the key exponents of twentieth century design.
Laurence and Patrick Seguin are now presenting a number of works from their private collection for the first time: around 40 pieces by Jean Prouvé, most of which are prototypes or extremely rare, from the armchair designed for the University dormitory of Nancy in 1932 to the light armchair created for the University of Antony in 1954, to the furniture produced for Africa.
The same principles of functionality and rational fabrication that the designer applied to furniture often destined for the public sector, can also be found in Prouvé’s architectural designs: the same solid structures feature clever mechanisms for assembly and organisation that enable both the furniture and the constructions to be easily moved, disassembled and modified.
The Maison Metropole (8×12 meters) is now to be mounted for the first time on the Lingotto track. In 1949 this aluminum construction won a Ministry of Education competition for “mass-producible rural school with classroom and teacher accommodation”: a masterpiece of nomadic housing, followed the portico principle patented by Prouvé in 1939. The Ateliers Jean Prouvé built two of them, one in Bouqueval, near Paris, and the other in Vantoux in Moselle, which will be on show in Turin.
Taking four people three consecutive days to assemble, a stop-motion film will be made of the construction process, with video footage streamed over the internet.
A Passion for Jean Prouvé: From Furniture to Architecture, Torino, Italy
April 6 – September 8, 2013, Galerie Patrick Seguin
A chair with back legs like wooden stakes that pierce the sides of the backrest. The stakes give the backrest a nipped-in curve which provides firm lower back support and comfortable seating despite its compact size. A sweetly-sized lounge chair inspired by ‘supermini’ cars like the Fiat 500 and smart cars that easily navigate Milan’s streets.
Peg Chair, by Nendo, for Cappellini
Exploring geometries in two or three dimensions, Arik Levy designed for VIBIA the pendant lighting fixture Wireflow, an authentic sculpture of light in space. Wireflow reinterprets from a contemporary and original point of view the classical hanging luminaries, thanks to geometrical configurations able to integrate with other compositions and create a light installation with a unique character. Its structure formed by thin rods and LED terminals (3W) produces a visual continuity of lines and light spots, which provides the immaterial with a notable objectual character. According to Levy, Wireflow is in the mean time presence and absence, transparency and luminosity, light and fluidity.
Wireflow Pendant Lighting, by Arik Levy, for VIBIA
Farang is located in Norrmalm in the heart of Stockholm. Farang combines the intimacy of contemporary Asian restaurant with the urbanity of a Stockholm street level space. Ground floor of an old industrial building was turned into a 700 m² fine dining restaurant. The restaurant contains a dining hall with 160 seats, as well as a cocktail bar with 50 seats and cabinet. Industrial character and charm of the old space was kept while adding contemporary restaurant and cocktail bar facilities of very high quality. The design makes a clear distinction between old and new elements by leaving the old space as a fully visible frame for the new functions. The simple material palette such as wood, steel, concrete and fabrics allows the enjoyment and visuality of food to take center stage.
Restaurant Farang, Stockholm, Sweden, by Futudesign
Ro is made with great craftsmanship and in the highest sustainable quality. Combined with the sculptural and elegant design, the result is a functional and aesthetic chair. The form of the shell gives you the choice of being part of what goes on in the room or relaxing in your own private space. “Ro” means tranquillity in Danish. The name was chosen because it captures the point of the chair in just two letters, thus reflecting the Nordic approach and concept of beauty. “We wanted a chair that was comfortable as well as beautiful. My goal was to create a slim and elegant chair that encourages reflection and comfort”, says Jaime Hayon.
The easy chair is available in nine colours: three traditional options (black, grey and taupe), three bright colours (violet, blue and yellow) and three soft colours (light pink, sage-green and sand). For a more vibrant look, the chair features two different textures: one for the seat shell and one for the cushions, which supports the contrasted expression of the hard shell and the warm and soft interior.
Ro Armchair, by Jaime Hayón, for Republic of Fritz Hansen
The New Canaan Residence welcomes its owners and their visitors into what feels like a floating pavilion in the tree canopy. A winding drive brings visitors through the forest to arrive at a low and gracious landscaped court that frames the glass entry pavilion. From this court, the transparency of the house is evident: floor-to-ceiling glass allows views through the house, incorporating the landscape into the body of the house. The tree canopy becomes a part of the architecture and creates a visual perimeter that changes with the seasons.
The upper level features the home’s primary gathering spaces, as well as bedrooms and a gymnasium. A staircase tucked behind the free-standing fireplace opens on to the lower level of the house, which is carved into the earth and gives views directly onto the forest floor. The lower level provides additional social spaces and features a media room, library, and two home offices. The lower level spaces link to a series of “outdoor rooms” that feature a fireplace and distinct seating areas. The grounded, cozy nature of the lower level provides an experiential contrast to the expansive and light-filled level above. The swimming pool and separate pool house emphasize the project’s strong lines and classically modern roots.
Gerald Griffith at work in his studio:
Wright has offered at auction several original drawings of the Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe.
When Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair was introduced in 1929 it was critically acclaimed but the cost and difficulty of chrome plating the frames limited production. By the early 1950s technology had caught up to Mies van der Rohe’s progressive furniture designs and both Knoll Associates and Gerald Griffith were producing his forms. Chairs produced by Knoll and Gerald Griffith can be distinguished by looking at the intersection of the base; works made by Gerald Griffith feature a crisp hard-edged intersection while versions by Knoll have a reinforced curved intersection.
The Mies van der Rohe office found Gerald Griffith in 1949. The challenge of creating the Barcelona chair in stainless steel – something engineers said could not be done – appealed to Griffith’s tenacious personality. After much experimentation and exploration, Griffith completed the task and he produced Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona and Tugendhat designs in stainless steel for a number of years.
Provenance: The Office of Mies van der Rohe, Chicago | Edward A. Duckett, Bowling Green | David Bryant, Bowling Green In celebration of Mies van der Rohe’s 125th birthday, Wright’s senior specialist Michael Jefferson presented the history of the Barcelona chair to The Mies van der Rohe Society.
Blueprint and Elevation of the Barcelona chair, 1950, Auction at Wright