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Shark and Olive is curated by a Portland-based creative, painter, and art enthusiast. Shark and Olive features finds that represent a never-ending celebration of art, architecture, design objects, and furniture.

Posts in modern mondays
Modern Mondays: Brutalism

Buildings are physical representations of the social, economic, political, technological, and cultural climates of their eras of origin. Ultimately buildings represent our cultural heritage and our architectural history. However, mid-century modern era buildings are increasingly interpreted as antiquated architecture that is functionally obsolete and lacking use in today’s society. Our recent-past modern buildings are being labeled as “failed” or “useless” architecture. As a result, mid-century modern architecture is rapidly being demolished and replaced with newer sustainable structures believed to better represent our most current social and cultural ideals. Current architecture is believed to be far more aesthetically pleasing than their modern predecessors.

BFramed in the context of history, it can only follow that Brutalist buildings were going to be executed as formal monumental concrete structures that directly juxtapose (even challenge) their environments. But more often than not, the perspective of historic context is outnumbered by present aesthetic preference. For example, Prentice Women’s Hospital (Bertrand Goldberg) in Chicago, the Berkeley Art Museum (Mario Ciampi) in California, and several of Paul Rudolph’s brut beauties were technological and architectural triumphs of their time. However, the Brutalist buildings like other modern era buildings that rate low on the aesthetic-scale have been equally disregarded in their maintenance. The argument for demolition based on deficiencies caused by a lack of maintenance becomes all too convenient. The wide-spread demise of Brutalist civic and urban buildings is a demise of the ideologies behind the intent of the architecture and those housed within.

Aesthetics cannot be the pretext for significance or the preservation of architecture. Letting aesthetics judge value will strip our architectural history of some of the most influential and innovated examples of modern era architecture. In effect, we are killing, and ultimately denying claim to, a portion of our architectural history. There is value in the perspective of context and value in re-using and re-imagining modern era architecture. If aesthetic preference continues to get in the way, what use is there for the architect or an architectural legacy?

Modern Mondays: New Furniture
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New Furniture. Edited by Gerd Hatje. 

"New Furniture was conceived as a series devoted to the survey of international furniture. The first volume contains 275 illustrations showing the best and most interesting designs of chairs, sofas, beds, tables, cabinets, shelves, office furniture, and nursery furniture by designers from fourteen countries. This wide scope makes it possible for the reader to compare different trends and to discern future developments." - Modernism 101 

Modern Mondays: The Lovell House

Richard Neutra (1892-1970) is one of the most influential mid-century modern architects. His architectural designs are marked by crisp geometric modernism. His residential feats were predominately built in California, including the Lovell House. The Lovelly House has a steel skeleton, which was a first for residential design in the United States, glass, and prefabricated elements. It is a premier example of residential modernism. The Lovell House is a Los Angele Historic-Cultural Monument. 

Modern Mondays: Swiss Graphic Design

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. 

Modern Mondays: Kartell

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. 

 

Modern Mondays: Lafayette Park

Lafayette Park was Americas first urban-renewal project and is a premier example of modernist residential living. The development was a unique collaboration between Mies van deer Rohe, Ludwig Hilberseimer, and Alfred Caldwell. It was constructed between 1956-1958 and today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The historic district includes The Plasisance, The Pavillion, The East and West Towers, and the Town and Court Houses. The buildings exteriors and interiors reflect a Bauhaus vision of clean articulated lines. For more information please vista, Mies Detroit

Modern Mondays: Bauhaus

The Bauhaus (1919-1933) was founded by German architect Walter Gropius. It is considered the most influential modernist art school of the twentieth-century. The Bauhaus incorporated both fine arts and design education, and at its core strove to re-imagine the material world to better reflect a unity of all the arts: architecture, sculpture, and painting as one unified creative expression. The school had renowned faculty including: Kandinsky, Albers, Mies van der Rohe an Marcel Breuer.