Over the course of seven seasons, the landmark series “Mad Men” has charted the rise of ad man Don Draper in the “Golden Age” of advertising in 1960s New York. The bench is located in front of the Time & Life Building, fictional home of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Designed by Pentagram’s Lorenzo Apicella, Michael Bierut and Emily Oberman, the monument takes the form of a sleek, elegant bench that features the iconic graphic of Draper from the show’s opening title sequence.
The idea behind the bench is strong and simple. The silhouette of Don with his arm draped over a couch has become a symbol of “Mad Men,” seen in the final moments of the opening titles designed by Imaginary Forces. The show’s story is told against the backdrop of massive cultural changes in the 1960s, and the graphic pictures Don sitting back, taking it all in. The bench invites visitors to do the same, to take a moment and observe the excitement of New York around them. Fans are welcome to “drape” themselves on the bench like Don, and take and post photos.
“Mad Men,” and Don in particular, are known for their cool, consummate sense of style, and the show has been credited with renewing interest in mid-century modern design. Rather than recreate the look of the period, Apicella’s design for the bench echoes it in clean, smooth lines that make the monument the chicest, most sophisticated piece of street furniture in the city. Comprised of only two pieces, the 12-foot-long bench combines a ½” thick-rolled steel plate seat and back, balanced on a 10-foot-long cast concrete base. Don’s silhouette is cut from the seat, which has a powder-coated black finish with white painted graphic elements. The concrete base color was selected to complement the existing plaza paving pattern.
Mad Men Monument, by Lorenzo Apicella with Michael Bierut and Emily Oberman
The combination of modern design and the neo-classical structure from the 1930’s enabled the designer to create a world full of contrasts and tensions combined in one project; between elegant and industrial, between raw and ornamental, between simple and complex. Together, they enrich the structure, both architecturally as well as the relationships between the space and those in it, and tell the tale of two periods in one space. In order to preserve and respect the tradition and the past, the materials chosen for the apartment’s renovation were all raw materials. The open balcony, the adjacent courtyard paved in terrazzo just as are the apartment’s spaces, act as a silent and elegant peninsular between the apartment and the noisy, urban surroundings of the outside world.
All the furniture was carefully chosen to complement the common culture that connects between two periods in time. A touch of red paint also symbolizes the combination between rawness and industrial styling and the classical elegance of the apartment’s original period. The building has been designated for preservation with severe building restrictions as part of the Tel Aviv preservation plan. The area, known as the “White City” is the site of Tel Aviv’s founding and was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2003. The structure itself consists of a rustico ground floor that is the foundation for two additional floors with renaissance style arches. The ground floor apartment was previously the home of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion which lends historic significance and magic to the building and the apartment.
Past Turned Into Space, Tel Aviv, Israel, by Pitsou Kedem Architects
Photography by Amit Goren
Externally, the same continuous volume creates a duality between an opaque block – where the living room is – and the transparent stretch of the heated pool and sauna. The volumetry of the house was given by the extrusion of sixty-five meters of an icon-house, with pitched roof. Furthermore, an external wooden deck connects the spaces and creates a solarium to be used during the summer months. In the opaque part of the volume, which is 50m long, the openings were minimized and used as sliding doors to intensify the integration between inside and out. This relation between empty and full in the facade allows for an excellent thermal performance, with a high degree of electric energy conserved. The transparent stretch is fourteen meters long and the internal ventilation was spatially designed to avoid condensation on the glass by the heated pool, which would harm the relation with the view. The house was not implanted on the top of a rough site, as initially desired by the clients, but in its lowest part – in the midst of a beautiful forest of pine trees. This solution allowed the building to be surrounded by nature, creating an intimate relation with the site. The initial premise of the project was to design a quick and cheap construction. Therefore, there were found industrialized solutions such as metal structures and steelframe walls. The site, despite high levels of rainwater, was always clean. Opposite to the usual Brazilian building culture, few elements were built on site, rather mounted at the factory.
The Mororó House, Campos do Jordão – SP, Brazil, by Studio MK27
Photography by Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
Composed of two overlapping volumes, the house derives from the intention to release the largest possible area for living spaces and provide fluidity between the spaces. The upper volume was designed bigger than the lower one, because of that half of the house seems to float on the ground and provides shadow and a relaxing space on the yard. With the intention of ensuring influx of natural lighting and ventilation, the project has large openings on the facades and coverage, and that also contribute to the composition of its main facades. Downstairs, the living room can be completely opened to the garden by sliding glass panels, creating an extension of your home to the outside and making their environments mingle, inviting the plants and flowers to get into the living room. To ensure the privacy of intimate settings on the upper floor the openings are protected by wooden shutters painted in white, beyond the glass on the inner face.
Sorocaba House, Sao Paulo, Brazil, by Estudio BRA Architecture
Photography by Pedro Kok
The ILLUM collection is series of outdoor furniture designed by Merckx+Maes for Tribù. The collection refers to classical furniture archetypes, translated with updated materials for the outdoors. The emphasis for the collection is on comfort, ergonomics and usability. The low sculpted back of the chair allows for comfortable seating for many hours. Easily stacked, the chair can be put away during colder months. The sun lounger not only inclines, but also lowers itself to offer a matchless comfort, while all the mechanics involved are astutely hidden away. The table tops are available in ceramics and teak. The various sizes available for the table include a more narrow option to fit balconies.
ILLUM, by Merckx + Maes, for Tribù
This project is an addition to and remodel of an existing mid century ranch house. It was designed for a retired couple, who desired a single-story home with open, accessible space. The addition, located in the rear garden area, is connected to the original structure by way of a transparent hallway that allows the garden to extend into the core of the house.
The addition comprises two floating volumes. The first is the bedroom wing/volume, which is located on the west side of the house. The existing bedroom volume was extended toward the rear in the form of a wood tube to accommodate an additional bedroom. This bedroom volume opens out to the garden. The second volume, which comprises the main space, houses the kitchen, dining and media areas. The east wood wall plane of the main space folds onto two concrete walls to form the main roof plane. The main space produces large transparent openings or voids that open out onto a deck at the rear garden. The main roof plane extends forward to form the carport roof near the front of the property. A garden concrete wall stretches out from the media room toward the garden adjacent to a rear ramp and forms part of the cantilevered bench that echoes the concrete wall material in the main space.
The original structure, which houses the music room, two bedrooms and a bathroom, was retained and renovated. A new steel bay window seat was inserted at the front bedroom to replace a small existing window. The fireplace chimney was reconstructed and, along with the carport storage volume, was skinned with recycled epdm rubber.
Renovation and an Addition to the Bal House, Menlo Park, California, by Terry&Terry Architecture
Photography by Bruce Damonte
This project is situated in a glaciated, coastal landscape, with a cool maritime climate. The geomorphology of the site consists of granite bedrock and boulder till, creating pristine white sand beaches, and turquoise waters. The two pavilions float above the shoreline like two ship’s hulls up on cradles for the winter, forming protected outdoor places both between and under them. This is a full-time home for a family of four; consisting of a ‘day pavilion’ and a ‘night pavilion’. One approaches from the understated land side between the abstract, library ends of the two pavilions; then either passes through toward the sea, or left into the living pavilion, or right into the sleeping pavilion. One structure contains a central core, while the other contains a side core. The seaward ends of the two main forms (living and master bedroom) delaminate, creating protected outdoor porches, or night time ‘lanterns’ over the water. The third linking form contains the generous entry foyer, core, and the kitchen. The great room contains a floating 24′ totemic hearth. This is a steel frame house, with a wood skin. Its white, steel endoskeleton resists both gravity loads and wind uplift. The fenestration of the ‘binocular’ ends is minimalist curtain wall with structural silicone. The side elevations contain storefront glazing. The concrete floors contain a geothermally heated hydronic system. This sculptural, yet calm and mature project contains generous white volumes on the interior, and exhibits the ironic monumentality of boats on the exterior.
Two Hulls House, Canada, by Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
Photography by Greg Richardson
Denise Macedo Arquitetos Associados says the concept of this project came from the desire that this house would have plenty of space for contemplation. First the house was aiming to host and expose a collection of contemporary art, and second, because the local area is blessed with spectacular scenery, it should be brought into the house in all the rooms, and especially the kitchen because food is also a focus of interest of the owner.
Casa das Gerais, Nova Lima, Brazil, by Denise Macedo Arquitetos Associados
Photography by Gustavo Xavier
Homes no longer follow the lounge + dining room + kitchen formula. The various living uses flow into each other more and more, which puts different demands on the furniture. Tables in particular have to be multi-talented; they not only have to be a traditional kitchen table but a desk, work bench, meeting place and dining table as well… and sometimes all at the same time. The Drawer table is one of those all-rounders. It looks like a simple, modern table, but it hides an impressive secret: virtually invisible drawers that are small enough to not have to compromise on leg room and big enough to be able to put away or get out laptops, placemats, cutlery, and all those things that are always lying around, like keys, pens, paperwork or phone chargers.
Drawer Table, by Ineke Hans, for Arco