Sunday, September 17, 2017

Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Design

Frank Lloyd Wright



Frank Lloyd Wright



Frank Lloyd Wright



Frank Lloyd Wright



Frank Lloyd Wright



Frank Lloyd Wright


A collected look, a mashup of cultural influences, a global mix -- all are phrases used to describe yet another idea influencing today's interiors that can trace its roots through Frank Lloyd Wright's work. Highly influenced by time spent in Japan, he embraced tenets of Japanese and Chinese design, including reverence for natural materials and an inherent simplicity and lack of clutter.

It's something that I feel is really resonant right now. We live in in a world where we can buy anything and get it delivered tomorrow. But we can recognize the humbleness and simplicity and purity of really thinking about everything that we bring into our homes. That was something Wright thought about as an architect, but it's an idea that can really benefit every homeowner -- just slowing down and taking time to choose and enjoy the things you have in your home. Decorating is a word that we use to describe how things can improve our quality of life, and it's not really about more things -- it's about, maybe, the right things or even fewer things.

Though he championed a uniquely American style of architecture, Wright's own homes and those of his clients gained richness and depth from a few treasured pieces of rough-hewn Japanese pottery, a handmade textile from Africa, or beautiful Mexican paintings. His display of handmade objects from around the world in the context of Modern interiors added a layer of educated elegance to his rooms.

The lesson? The world is big and there is much to gain from that.

Wright fathered a new kind of architecture and kept on evolving from there -- but more than a century later, it's the timelessness of his ideas that make his influence so enduring.

When you look at his work today and it doesn't look all that strange or new --that's because what he was doing has been incorporated into our daily life. We can relate to what he was doing because it has permeated the way we live today. He was trying to change the way we live and do something different -- to break through to that next thing -- and he succeeded.





Berndt Friberg: Swedish Ceramics Master

Berndt Friberg



Berndt Friberg



Berndt Friberg



Berndt Friberg



Berndt Friberg



Berndt Friberg


Swedish artist Berndt Friberg had a few nicknames in his time but he was usually called “Hand of God” amongst other potters and his circle of friends. He was known for being a perfectionist and did not keep pieces which were not to his satisfaction.

Friberg was born to a family of potters and started his career at a young age, it was pretty much written in stone that he would follow the same path. He spent his early stages working at Höganäs pottery, situated in a small mill town where the clay is perfect for stoneware making and pottery. From 1944 onwards he was employed as a thrower to Wilhelm Kåge and Stig Lindberg at Gustavsberg’s pottery, both of these artists had a massive impact on Swedish ceramics and its future. This specific workshop was created by Wilhelm as a platform for artists to independently create unique ceramic art ware, a perfect place for Berndt Friberg to set up shop and make objects freely.

What’s notable about Berndt is that he never let anyone else to throw his pieces -- he did it all by hand one at a time and refused that anyone else would do it under his name. He was particularly inspired by traditional Chinese and Japanese works. The glazes were where Friberg ended up excelling, he painstakingly applied these finishes to achieve great structure and depth.

When you view his pieces, you’re struck by the detail and the simplicity of the items, that very much serve a function but are also beautiful to the eye. 

I would also recommend checking out the Berndt Friberg’s "miniatures" -- they’re really something special and are some of the best works in this category.





Saturday, September 16, 2017

Movie Soundtrack Composer Elmer Bernstein

Elmer Bernstein



Elmer Bernstein



Elmer Bernstein



Elmer Bernstein



Elmer Bernstein



Elmer Bernstein


The great Elmer Bernstein.

Elmer Bernstein was born in New York City, the son of Selma (née Feinstein, 1901-1991), from Ukraine, and Edward Bernstein (1896-1968), from Austria-Hungary. He was not related to the celebrated composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein -- but the two men were friends, and even shared a certain physical similarity. Within the world of professional music, they were distinguished from each other by the use of the nicknames "Bernstein West" (Elmer) and "Bernstein East" (Leonard). They pronounced their last names differently -- Elmer pronounced his (BERN-steen), and Leonard's was (BERN-stine).

During his childhood, Bernstein performed professionally as a dancer and an actor, in the latter case playing the part of Caliban in "The Tempest" on Broadway, and he also won several prizes for his painting. He attended Manhattan's progressive Walden School and gravitated toward music at the age of twelve, at which time he was given a scholarship in piano by Henriette Michelson, a Juilliard teacher who guided him throughout his entire career as a pianist. She took him to play some of his improvisations for composer Aaron Copland, who was encouraging and selected Israel Citkowitz as a teacher for the young boy. Bernstein's music has some stylistic similarities to Copland's music, most notably in his Western scores, particularly sections of "Big Jake," in the Gregory Peck film "Amazing Grace and Chuck," and in his spirited score for the 1958 film adaptation of Erskine Caldwell's novel "God's Little Acre."

Throughout his life, Bernstein demonstrated an enthusiasm for an even wider spectrum of the arts than his childhood interests would imply and, in 1959, when he was scoring "The Story on Page One," he considered becoming a novelist and asked the film's screenwriter, Clifford Odets, to give him lessons in writing fiction.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Vincent Van Gogh: Artwalk into Immortality

Vincent Van Gogh

Gino Sarfatti: Lights

Gino Sarfatti 



Gino Sarfatti 



Gino Sarfatti 



Gino Sarfatti 



Gino Sarfatti 



Gino Sarfatti 



Gino Sarfatti studied aeronaval engineering at the University of Genoa. From 1939 onwards he worked in the lighting sector and set up Arteluce which soon became a national and international reference point for the Modern Architecture movement in lighting.
During his thirty years of activity, Sarfatti designed and produced over 400 luminaires and carried out non-stop research into innovation as regards typology, materials, production technologies, light sources, technical lighting effects and design aspects.



Gino Sarfatti 


Entirely self-taught, Sarfatti developed nearly 700 floor lamps, chandeliers, spotlights and other “light fittings,” as he called them, between the mid-1930s and early 1970s.

During that time, Sarfatti experimented continuously with new types of light sources, wiring, switches, reflectors, transformers and other components to refine his designs, and co-founded a company, Arteluce, to manufacture them. But after selling the business in 1973, he forsook both lighting and design by retiring to Lake Como to pursue another passion, dealing in rare stamps, until his death in 1985.

Many of his lights are still in production, but Sarfatti was largely forgotten outside design circles until the opening of a retrospective of his work at La Triennale Design Museum in Milan. It celebrated the centenary of his birth by exhibiting 200 of his “light fittings,” including some that he used in his home.

Fittingly for the man who printed Gino Sarfatti — Lighting razionale” (rational lighting) on the stationery of his first workshop, his output is presented simply and lucidly in a large open-plan space at La Triennale. Curated by the Italian designers, Marco Romanelli and Sandra Severi Sarfatti, who is Sarfatti’s daughter-in-law, the exhibition is divided into three sections: 1936 to 1945, 1946 to 1961 and 1962 to 1973. The lights from each era, including ones owned by the Sarfatti family and the French collectors, Clémence and Didier Krzentowski, as well as Flos, the Italian lighting company that bought Arteluce, are one after another on white backdrops, making it easy to identify Sarfatti’s preoccupations during particular periods and to trace the progress of his experiments with various themes over the years.

The result is a rousing tribute to an unusually inventive designer. Most of his peers entered design after studying art or architecture, but Sarfatti’s roots were in engineering, which defined his way of working. Born in Venice, he planned to become an aeronautical engineer, but had to leave university when his father’s business failed. The family moved to Milan and Sarfatti took a job as a salesman to help to make ends meet. He designed his first lamp by default when a family friend asked him to turn a glass vase into one. Sarfatti placed a lighting fixture from a coffee machine inside the vase, and was so intrigued by the process that he opened the “rational lighting” workshop to produce more lights.

Bereft of conventional training, he had to improvise and developed each product by working directly with the artisans in the workshop, rather than by sketching ideas and leaving them to produce models or prototypes, as most other designers did at the time. By doing so, he steeped himself in the technical logistics of lighting production and was able to use that knowledge to devise increasingly ingenious ways of constructing different lights and in making the most of Italy’s enviable network of specialist suppliers and fabricators.

In 1939, only a few years after making his first light, Sarfatti co-founded Arteluce. When Milan was bombed during World War II, he moved production to Brianza in the foothills of the Alps and lived there with his family, before fleeing to Switzerland. His father was Jewish and the Sarfattis were fearful of the threat of persecution by Italy’s fascist regime. Sarfatti spent the rest of the war living in secrecy and penury in a Swiss convent, before returning to Milan in 1945 and taking charge of Arteluce again.

Ever the rationalist, he believed that a product’s design should be determined by its function, and that the designer and manufacturer shared a duty to exploit any advances in technology to that end. He always strove to make his lights slimmer, lighter, stronger, more flexible, faster to manufacture (and therefore cheaper) and easier to disassemble for repairs and maintenance.

At the start of his career, he focused on developing directional beams that could be moved wherever the user wished and on producing lamps with two levels of lighting: one glowing upward; the other downward. After the war, Sarfatti became obsessed by creating increasingly sophisticated lighting effects from newly developed light sources and by using hooks and weights to adjust the shape of his lamps. In the 1960s, he encouraged other designers, including Franco Albini, Cini Boeri and Massimo Vignelli, to work for Arteluce, but continued to design himself and to experiment with technological breakthroughs, particularly with new joints, switches and transformers.

Even the earliest pieces in the exhibition are simple and unobtrusive in style, qualities that became more pronounced over the years as his work grew more technically accomplished. Most of Sarfatti’s designs have the purist beauty of thoughtfully made tools, and his utilitarianism was reflected in his decision to identify each model by a numerical code, rather than a name. He identified six categories of lights and allotted a different sequence of numbers to each one: tens for spotlights, 100 onward for wall lamps, 500 onward for reading lamps and so on. Typically he manufactured a few hundred examples of each design, and if a particular model was discontinued he would re-allocate its number to a new one.

Occasionally, Sarfatti indulged himself. The 2072 ceiling light was nicknamed the “Yo-Yo” in a nod to its circular shades, and the 2076 chandelier dubbed “Fireworks” because of its shape. He used craggy slabs of marble as the bases of floor lamps, and added an ashtray to one light and a walking stick to another. His most spectacular project was one of the last -- the hundreds of plexiglass pipes he installed in Teatro Regio in Turin in 1972 when it was being restored by the dark prince of Italian design, Carlo Mollino. It was known by a name, “The Cloud,” not a number.


Gino Sarfatti 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Isamu Noguchi: Design Work and Influences

Isamu Noguchi



Isamu Noguchi



Isamu Noguchi



Isamu Noguchi



Isamu Noguchi



Isamu Noguchi



Isamu Noguchi



Isamu Noguchi







Sunday, September 10, 2017

John Lautner: Elrod House

John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House




John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House




John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House



John Lautner, Elrod House


There's no shortage of Mid-Century Modern architecture in Palm Springs, California -- the city is the venue for a whole week of events devoted to the style every year -- but this house, built for interior designer Arthur Elrod, is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable and famed examples of "the other Modernism" -- Organic Architecture.

It was built into a hillside in 1969, and the interior incorporates boulders from the site, exemplary of John Lautner’s ability to fuse nature and architecture. Over the living room is the home's signature concrete dome, which is set atop walls of retractable curved windows. An indoor-outdoor pool flows into the space.

The famous home's beginnings can be traced to a simple request that noted interior designer Arthur Elrod made to architect John Lautner. Elrod left planning the home entirely to the famed architect, asking only that the architect "give me what you think I should have on this lot." With scarcely a directive to go by, Lautner went to work designing a concrete work of art.

The four-bedroom, 8,901-square-foot home sits on a .64 acre lot, and includes a detached guesthouse. These are the kinds of things that are noted when a standard home is put on the market, but since the Elrod House is less a home and more a lair, several unusual amenities must be noted.

The home itself is built into a Palm Springs hillside, using the naturally occurring boulders as walls, stairwells, and partitions. Its circular living room is essentially a massive open-air patio, with views looking out into the Coachella Valley, and a swimming pool that cannot truly be defined as indoor or outdoor. The wood-paneled master bedroom includes a fireplace, large bathroom with its tub sunk right into the floor, and even a stone platform designed to hold a television. Its kitchen has been modernized, there's a gym on site -- the list goes on and on.