'Tis the season for holiday decor. I am ever the fan of silver tinsel trees (or completely artificial silver trees), and using mint and pink tones to accent the red and green decor. Metallic's are another accent I enjoy in mid-century modern holiday decor. Luckily MCM is becoming more en-vogue by the second, and the design world is re-infusing holiday decor with its attributes. Click the arrows above for a round-up of classic MCM holiday decor and design. HO HO HO (all images found via pinterest with mcm, holiday, & decor as keywords)
With Halloween upon us, it's time to showcase five stunning works of architecture with modern black façades. These building envelopes are far from ordinary, some worthy of a scream! 1. A building envelope with monochromatic cladding. 2. Glowing glass home with black cladding. A modern take on a cabin in the woods. 3. Historic goes modern in a Rotterdam reconstruction by Studio Rolf.fr 4. Black wooden louvers for a single residential design in Japan. 5. A stacked module house with a perforated façade in the shape of a tree. BOOOOOOOOOOO!
Pietro Belluschi designed elegant modern residential (and commercial) architecture in the International Style. His materials used for residential designs were especially suited for the Pacific Northwest climate. Portland has a large concentration of Belluschi residences. They are functional, design-driven, and to this day contemporary in their timelessness.
Often overlooked, but not forgotten, is the German-born designer and close collaborator to Mies van der Rohe, Lilly Reich. She began her career by designing furniture and clothing, along with shop window display designs. In 1912, Lilly joined the Deutscher Werkbund, and in 1920 she became the organizations first female director. Through their shared involvement with the Deutscher Werkbund, Mies and Lilly became close design collaborators for several Deutscher Werkbund exhibitions. Throughout the 1920s & 1930s they collaborated on several projects, including furniture pieces often solely attributed to Mies.
Decorating with transparent surfaces brings an unexpected element of surprise and illusion into a space. Tokujin Toshioka designs the most stunning furniture pieces that appear to float or magically disappear into their surroundings. The armchair from his Invisibles Light Collection is a covet-worthy piece. Along those lines is the Louis Ghost Chair by Philippe Starck for Kartell. Whether crystal clear, or opaque black, these chairs are a contemporary take on a classic silhouette. From the functional to whimsical, transparent surfaces also offer space saving solutions (illusions!) for small spaces. CB2 has a variety of acrylic furniture pieces that are simple, sleek, and multifunctional. Lastly, I couldn’t resist the playful nature of John Brauer’s Illusion Table. The acrylic is genius and bold in mimicking an actual table cloth. A transparent trompe l'oeil.
Preservation of their natural surroundings and composition of natural (locally sourced too) materials set these timber residences above the rest. Located on the Vindö island in the Stockholm archipelago, Sweden is a wooden holiday retreat amongst dramatic topography. The materials are predominately related to local building traditions. It is a dynamic timber residence with a painted black exterior, with natural tones throughout the interior. A timber and glass residence located in The Netherlands, Villa V is semi-positioned within the slope of the hill in which it resides. Only natural materials were used for building composition, including a facade of Waxedwood sustainable timer and veneered plywood for the interior. A viennese boat house right at the waters edge composed of timber and copper, and meant to naturally weather and further complement each other over time. The facade appears to be a single cube when not in use. However, it is dramatically transformed when its doors open, exposing various internal compartments.
Mid-century modern Swiss graphic design is one of my favorite aesthetics of visual communication. Born in the 1950s and reaching its height in the 1970s, this style became known as the International Typographical Style. It is marked by an orderly structure with sans-serif typefaces. I personally am drawn to how the type itself becomes the essence of the design. The examples above showcase this and how Swiss graphic design is rational, bold, and harmonious whether in vivid color or a simple monochromatic palate.
Kartell is a longstanding favorite for modern and contemporary furniture design and production with a 60-year history to prove it. Kartell products are multifunctional and feature an astounding visual appeal with instances of playful wit. And the most important (perhaps the driving force behind the longevity of Kartell) is the constant evolution of material through technologies. Kartell materials are both functional and aesthetic fetes showcased in multidimensional collaborations with some of the words best designers.
Alright, I absolutely love the combination of wood, metal, and leather. Three elements, textures, and finishes that when combined, produce endless furniture possibilities. BDDW has me excited about American crafted furniture again. Their Bronze Trestle Table and Lake Mid Credenza showcase true craftsmanship with metal accents. It is furniture that melds the natural with the industrial. Another metal and wood combination manufactured in the U.S. is the formed steel with solid walnut wood seat by Lockwood. For storage, I am currently all about the Chevron Grain dresser from West Elm. Love the grain of the wood with the subtle yet sophisticated brass-finished hardware. Now for the leather. The brass thin-framed chairs by Lawson-Fenning are obsession worthy. And how could I almost forget the gold medal of modernist furniture perfection, the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Need I say more.
Timber has long been one of my favorite materials used in design, art, and architecture. Granted, I tend to lean more towards the material in furniture, and leave concrete, steel, and glass to architecture. Lately there have been some beautiful architectural designs showcasing timber. Bernard Tschumi Architects created a breathtaking visitor center in the French countryside. The cylindrical building features an ornate herringbone facade. D House by Lode Architecture uses the material as a textured exterior envelope, and for several interior design elements. Swatt Miers Architects designed a stunning modern home in Sausalito, California perfect for taking-in the sun and surrounding landscape. Peninsula house by Watson Architecture + Design is an example of blurring the lines between the exterior and interior. All of these architectural designs showcase timber in all its glory.