Moody jewel tones to bright pinks with metallic finishes sets the tone for this post. Additionally, each piece expresses the melding of new (modern) and old (traditional), and how color truly sets the overall tone of any space. While this palate isn’t for everyone – it is a welcomed juxtaposition to minimalism or the Scandinavian-modern style that has reached every corner of the interior design world. Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE Scandinavian-modern, but I have yet to successfully live in such a minimalist space! Cristina Celestino ottoman’s are a modern update in suede and leather – almost too beautiful to want to sit on or rest one’s feet atop. The vintage pair of wall lights from the apartment are hot pink fringe. Need I say more? If you are looking for a comfortable and totally lounge-worthy sofa, Toward designed by Anne Boysen is for you. It comes in five color combinations and features solid oak legs, and brass or aluminum “shoes.” Now depending upon how bold and beautiful you want your space to be – you can continue with this color palate regarding your rug choice, or you can bring-in some neutral texture to let your furniture and other objects stand out. And bring some saturated color to your outdoor area with this pair of peter shire painted metal chairs.
I serve on the board of the Oregon chapter of DoCoMoMo_US. Could not be more excited to share our ongoing efforts to document the modern resources (buildings only currently) of Oregon. Bit of background on DoCoMoMo_Oregon: A non-profit dedicated to promoting the interest, education, and advocacy of the architecture, art, landscape, and urban design of the Modern Movement. We offer interactive programs including, walking-tours of our states modern movement buildings, sites, and neighborhoods, as well as educational lectures led by nationally recognized architectural historians, architects, and preservationists. And here is our on-going inventory you can help us shape: Inventory of Modern Buildings. A few of my favorites are highlighted above.
A great piece of leather furniture will last a life time. By great piece, I am thinking a sofa, side chairs, lounge chair, bench or stool that can withstand the ever changing "home trends" of the moment. Think of a this type of leather furniture as an high-quality LBD equivalent. It will never go out of style. Whether you pick a vintage, modern, or contemporary piece leather furniture will always be in vogue. Personally, I gravitate towards leathers in various shades of brown, and the occasional cream or black leather piece (Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman!) As of late, I have been enjoying lighter tan or pale pink leathers that invoke a relaxed northern Californian meets Southwestern vibe.
California modernism has long been generally associated with architecture & design from Southern California. However, Northern California has a vital architectural history that contributes to California modernism. Pierluigi Serraino successfully demonstrates this in: NorCalMod. Icons of Northern California Modernism. The author rediscovers the complexity and richness of Northern California modernism that for many in the Bay Area and surrounding communities is hidden in plain sight.
Mid-century lighting design is equally as fantastic as furniture design from the same era. It expresses a bold geometric form thru simplistic line- with circular shapes dominating its shades and other bulb coverings. From floor to pendant residential lighting, mid-century lighting is still contemporary today. A few of my favorite inspirations include: brass sputnik pendant light; gorgeous Italian Lumi ceiling lamp with enamel details; French Lightolier sputnik inspired pendants; Serge Mouille minimal floor lamp; and the retro Angelo Leli floor lamp. From pendant to ceiling to floor-lightening from the mid-century is as illuminating as ever.
Springtime has arrived, with a tease of summer weather. All I want to do is lounge outside with a cold beverage-in-hand with books (or magazines) galore. Mid-Century modern outdoor furniture has seen a surge in reproductions or like-minded designs from popular furniture design stores and pop-ups. And there is reason for it- timeless design aesthetic with simple and effortless looking lines that complement lounging. I am also partial to power-coated steel and wood outdoor furniture. These materials couple well with bold textile accents. Also, the true vintage ones have beautiful aqua, pinks, and orange colors that offer the perfect pop of color to an outdoor backdrop. Now get outside.
'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)
Portland’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and built between 1960 and 1961 is a premier jewel of International Style modernism in the city. The structure consists of glass and aluminum, with a non-load-bearing curtain wall cube, and a central ovular concrete seating area within. It is a true engineering and architectural masterpiece that offers uninterrupted panoramic views of Portland from the seating area. The Veterans Memorial Coliseum is also a war memorial, with exterior sunken black granite walls inscribed with the names of veterans in gold paint.
At its completion it was the largest multipurpose facility in the Pacific Northwest. And a significant structure within the larger urban planning Rose Quarter Development project. In 2009 is was proposed to demolish the Coliseum to make way for a new sports facility. The city was almost successful in demolition, but the greater community of Portland, including architectural preservationists and historians, successfully applied for National Register of Historic Places status for the building. In 2011 it was placed in National Register.
One of my favorite aspects of Cape Cod Modernism is how these design leaders of architectural modernism began by building for themselves. Their homes were their creative laboratories, anchored by a sense of place on the Outer Cape. I personally love the sense of experimentation with both material and spatial organization that is reflective in these modern residences built from the 1930s to the 1970s. The Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT) has been preserving these homes and making them more available to the public since 2007. For more information on these homes, please visit CCMHT.
Not only masters of celebrating food and wine, Italians are forerunners in the world of design. I will be jetting off to Italy in the coming week, and I thought it would be fitting to have a Modern Monday that focuses on Italian furniture design. Clearly, I am a sucker for chairs, and this post features an adorable RIMA burnt coral armchair with an all metal frame. Perfect as a dinning chair with the Mario Bellini for Cassina table. I enjoy the monumental stature of the table mixed with the curvy lines of the RIMA armchair. Always on the hunt for lighting, the vintage Murano Chandelier by Cenedese is an elegant tubular delight. Prefer more whimsy in your home? Brass scones, “Il Diavolo” by Gio Ponti are essential. And, a space can never go wrong with modern brass and glass accessories. Finally, a vintage metal desk (but could be used as a side table) adds a bit of masculine mid-mod pop. The dark wood and metal legs are timeless in their modernity. Ciao a tutti!
Clean lines and a mix of woods, powder-coated metal, and colorful textiles- it is time to get outdoors and lounge about. Thankfully, spring has sprung and rainy weeks are giving way to sunshine filled days. However, for those still too-chilly spring evenings (or last summer days) the heated outdoor furniture by Galanter Jones is a must. I love the simple curvy shape and stone material. To add color punch to your outdoors, the Acapulco multi lounge chair from cb2 and Fauteuil Caracas by Colonel are a must. Playful shapes, durable materials, and just the right shades of aqua, yellows, and pinks. For long hours of lounging, the Huron Large Lounge Chair & Ottoman from west elm is what you need (and I want). Its all weather cord is perfect for sudden downpours, and its simplicity brings elegance to any outdoor space. I couldn't resist the Cobbler Stool in teak by Skagerak, its perfect for extra seating indoors or out. The same can be said for the PS Sandskar table from ikea. In doors or out, this table does double duty when the table top unscrews to become a serving tray. And, how could I not include an outdoor textile: Summer Triangles by her art. Its bold, colorful, geometric, and perfect for outdoor naps.
Ezra Stoller is by far one of the most prolific photographers of mid-century modern architecture. His images capture the sheer magnitude of Modernism, while also celebrating the industry behind this influential era of our architectural legacy. These intoxicating black and white photographs have helped define the culture behind (or cultural memory) of such iconic structures as the Seagram Building, Marin County Civic Center, and the Salk Institute. The photos included for this Modern Monday post are some of my personal favorite Stoller photographs.
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?
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
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.
The bold & the beautiful sets the tone for this round-up of furniture objects. I am currently obsessed with the coffee tables comprised of marble yet used like paper to create ORIGAMI & Earthquake 5.9 furniture collections by Patricia Urquiola. The subtle colors are divine as well. Similar in color, the Mimosa side table (1984) by Ettore Sottsass takes my favorite beverage and re-imagines it as a subdued neon furniture object. Another furniture object that blurs into the world of art is the wire furniture series which resembles wire drawings by Jinil Park. The steel is transformed into distorted lines that when welded together form the furniture as a whole. Concrete cabinet by Jean Willoughby is the perfect combination of wood and concrete. The functional piece showcases the beauty rather than the utilitarian side of concrete. Finally, I could not resist a plywood crafted piece. The plywood table legs almost mimic crosshatching in their elegant geometric form. What better way to start your new year than interjecting color and unexpected textures and forms into your surroundings.
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.
I enjoy mixing traditional and modern pieces in a space. And often my favorite room in homes is the living room - a perfect space to mix and match. Whether the space acts as a neutral backdrop to the furniture or the opposite; mixing traditional with the modern results in comfortable (perhaps bohemian) luxury with clean lines, neutral tones, and vivid patterns. A home in Russia features a timber interior as a backdrop for a neutral sofa and patterned textiles. Fergana by Patricia Urquiola for Moroson is an entirely wood framed sofa with comfortable cushions. The large cushions display delicate weavings which draw on traditional and modern techniques. The sofa is intended to be placed as an island in a space, rather than pushed up against a wall. The Goddard Sofa is a fabulous example of combining traditional and modern elements that result in a contemporary shape with a refined feel. True understated luxury. Or the Abel sofa from BDDW. Impeccable craftsmanship with blackened cast bronze legs and wool herringbone fabric. All of these sofas embrace traditional and modern aesthetics.
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.
These vintage and minimalist wood lounge chairs from Denmark embrace classical furniture craftsmanship while concentrating on the understated pure form of design. For purchasing inquires, please click here.