For the 50th anniversary of Hans J. Wegner’s Shell Chair, manufacturer Carl Hansen & Son has teamed up with textile brand Maharam to release 20 special versions of Wegner’s iconic design.
The Shell Chair has long been viewed as one of Hans J. Wegner’s strongest designs. It first saw the light of day in 1963, but it took 35 years before it enjoyed its popular breakthrough and received numerous design awards. Through its unique silhouette and superior comfort, Wegner demonstrated that he had truly achieved what he had set out to do: create the ideal shell chair.
Carl Hansen & Son: The Maharam Shell Chair Project
Located between the Atlantic Ocean and a freshwater pond, this residence is for an adventurous couple and their four sons. They wanted a house for their large family and numerous guests with a lawn, swimming pool, pool house, garage, and sports courts on a site with a limited building envelope due to coastal and wetland zoning. The large program, relatively small footprint, and daunting regulations dictated a building envelope densely packed with program that stood as a barrier between the ocean and the pond. Thus the design process was one of subtraction rather than addition: carving away at the solid mass of the house to reconnect site features and views and to distill the experience of the place.
Spaces run the full width of the house with floor to ceiling sliding doors on both sides. The spaces create apertures through which views, light, and air completely penetrate the house, dissolving its mass. Passersby see directly through the house to the sky and landscape beyond. With the sliding doors open and recessed into the adjacent walls, interior spaces are transformed from formal rooms to open pavilions, merging seamlessly with the site.
To accommodate the extensive program spaces are nested within one another. Operable partitions pull out from the walls of the living room, carving out a media room within the living room when privacy is desired. Conversely, with the partitions open, the media room merges with the living room for large gatherings. The thickness of the wall separating the dining room and kitchen is also cut away, utilizing its depth to accommodate a wine rack that also functions as a light fixture.
The process of carving is applied at the material and detail level as well. The 5/8” corten steel plate that clads the base of the house is waterjet cut into a delicate pattern that defies its mass. Inside, corian is employed for the ease with which it can be milled. Corian countertops are cut to form towel bars, bunk bed frames are carved to create ladders, cabinet doors are recessed to form handles, and wainscoting is subtly etched with meaningful words chosen by the clients.
Materials were chosen not only for their workability, but also for their durability in the coastal environment. Corten steel siding is zero maintenance despite being relentlessly sandblasted by the wind. Cedar siding and screens are finished using a Victorian technique in which the iron sulfate in a blend of white vinegar and iron filings reacts with the tannins in wood, creating an ebony finish that penetrates through the material and will not require refinishing. The lack of harsh stains or finishes reduces the ecological footprint of the house. Geothermal heating and cooling as well as vegetated roofs further reduce the environmental impact. Using the design approach of sculpting away rather than building up, the house is pared down until the experience of the extraordinary site is dominant.
Sagaponack House, Sagaponack, NY, by Bates Masi + Architects
Photography © Michael Moran
There is an apartment in Le Corbusier’s famous Cité Radieuse (radiant city) in Marseille, which is almost completely preserved in its original 1952 condition. Appt. No 50 is privately owned and it is thanks to the generosity and passion of its owner/occupant that the place is made accessible to a wider public during the summer months of each year. As proof that Le Corbusier’s visionary Unité d’Habitation has the same vibrancy today as when it was originally conceived the apartment is turned into a temporary stage for the ideas and works of contemporary designers.
A short series of scenographic installations has been realized over the years; Konstantin Grcic’s project is the third in line following Jasper Morrison (2008) and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec (2010). Apart from placing a selection of his favorite furniture and objects Grcic decided to tag the walls of the apartment with four blown up scans from an original punk fanzine.
“The punk motifs are tempting a slightly devious link between two completely unrelated worlds: Le Corbusier’s architecture and punk rock. Without forcing the idea of common grounds, I find that both have a rawness and uncompromising spirit which I have always found compellingly beautiful. Bringing both cultures together in this project felt most inspiring and, in the end, surprisingly fitting”, explains the designer.
15 July -15 August 2013, Cité Radieuse, Unité d’habitation, Le Corbusier Appartement 50, rue 280 boulevard Michelet, Marseille, Photography by Philippe Savoir & Fondation Le Corbusier / ADAGP, via: Domus
Crescent Beach, White Rock, British Columbia, Canada, by Campos Leckie Studio
This house is standing on a steep slope in S. Abbondio, it’s designed for two people and their guests. The property adjoins on three sides to existing and new constructions, while to the downhill side it’s attached at the access road and above it provides free views to the Lake Maggiore and to the mountains. The cleareasy-cut volumetry and also the naturalistic materializing of the concrete in the same colour like the natural rocks, integrates the new building with caution in the heterogeneous area. Concrete gets the natural stone of the modern era.
New Concrete House, S.Abbondio, Switzerland, Switzerland, by Wespi de Meuron
Photography © Hannes Henz
Mezzo is a small radio with a vintage touch …
It’s basic controls associated to a voluptuous shape give “Mezzo” a familiar and endearing air. It comes in four colors to match any room in the house.
Mezzo Radio, by Ionna Vautrin, for Lexon
Shiro Kuramata (1934-91) was a truly exceptional designer of furniture and interiors. Many of his poetic, precise and unique pieces, like the expanded-metal-mesh How High the Moon Armchair and the acrylic, aluminium and paper-flower Miss Blanche Chair, are still highly prized, collected by museums like MoMA and the V&A and sold at auction. Sadly, however, most of the hundreds of interiors he designed no longer exist, and can only be glimpsed in photographs or described by those who saw them.
This combination of the precious and the disappeared is appropriate for a designer like Kuramata, whose work was neither modern nor nostalgic, neither western nor Asian, but which has a remarkable creative power as well as a sense of endless invention. This compelling and highly influential work is documented here in this beautiful monograph.
Author Deyan Sudjic, the director of the design museum in London and the author of many highly-acclaimed books on design and architecture, tells the story of Kuramata’s life against the backdrop of Japan’s turbulent history from the 1930s to the 1990s. It was a period in which the collapse of the repressive conformism of Japan’s traditionally authoritarian social order released a creative explosion that propelled Japan into the creative forefront in cinema, literature, fashion, architecture and design, and Kuramata’s work occupies a special place in this period.
Designed by Jonathan Hares, and presented in two volumes with a beautiful acrylic slipcase, the book includes all of Kuramata’s work, depicted in never-before-published photographs and drawings from the Kuramata archives. Many projects are represented with images of the design and manufacturing process, appropriate for this very technically inventive work that continues to be of interest to a wide range of designers. Shiro Kuramata is a major figure who richly deserves the wider audience he is just beginning to attract, and this first-ever monograph will be of a quality and beauty to match the work he produced.
Shiro Kuramata, by Deyan Sudjic, 2 volume hardback ediiton in acrylic slipcase, 305 x 238 mm (9 3/8 x 12 in), 416 pp, 600 colour illustrations, ISBN: 9780714845005, Published by Phaidon
Buy it here: Amazon
A Toronto family of five requested a cottage that is ‘modern and open’ but retains a quintessential ‘cottage feel’. The building was to be commodious and accommodate extended family but should avoid ostentation in scale and modernity. The Clear Lake Cottage proposes a simple tent-like envelope to house both program and outdoor spaces under a single vernacular form. A singular roof presents a child-like impression of house; rectilinear and ordered in symmetry while playfully skewed in volume. Nestled within a forest, the building is sculpted and stepped to take advantage of the land; modeling the natural grade. Open and closed faces respond to shoreline views or quiet wooded depths. Like a tent the porosity of the building’s envelope strengthens the experience of ‘cottage’.
Three volumes: a communal space, a bedroom bar, and a master suite are registered in response to the site to achieve views, separation, and privacy. The roof peak creates a sleeping loft, and enhances the communal space. The plan aligns a series of large sliding windows for summer cross ventilation. The tent-like ‘big top’ of the Douglas Fir interior has three exterior spaces carved into it to create sheltered outdoor areas. The relationship to site, the transition spaces, and operable transparent skin connects to this privileged landscape.
Clear Lake Cottage, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects
The aim of the display system for the Manufacture of Sèvres is to enhance their four centuries of creation through a selection of 100 pieces. Reminiscent of the sunrise in Asia, the vaporised yellow gradation opens a vertical evasion of the space. The void created between the thin-edge plywood shelves and the light wire-cube structure, expresses the lightness and the impression of floating shelves.
Galerie de Sèvres – Cité de la Céramique, Paris, France, by A+A Cooren
Photography © Lorenz Cugini
Permanent installation. DC-motors, cotton balls, filler wires, power supply, lighting system, bench foundation, toluene tank (1951), Dottikon, Switzerland, by Zimoun