Alvar and I

Musings about vintage design furniture

Archive for June 2011

From our 50’s couch

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1. Vintage dealers’ choices of interior, via the always reliable Mondoblogo

2. A visit of George Nakashima’s workshop by Papersky (HT: Reference Library)

3. More online reference: Eero Saarinen design archive, and bonus: a conversation on the furniture of Saarinen both via Mid-Centuria.

Written by Alvar and I

June 20, 2011 at 12:22 am

Criminal designs

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Watched Mesrine: Killer Instinct last night. Very good movie about the French Clyde Barrow of the 60s and 70s. Not a very nice guy, flamboyant, serial jail escapist, with a knack for attracting media attention while escaping the police. He met his end in 1979 in a shootout with police in the streets of Paris.

The movie is a nice period piece from the mid to late sixties. So we were enjoying the movie with half an eye on interior scenes to spot any nice period piece of furniture. The surprise however came early in his criminal career, in 1963, when Mesrine is offered a job after his first jail stint (no escape yet). The short-lived job, the only proper one Mesrine would ever have, was with an interior architect called Boris Tabacoff. So much for the redeeming qualities of interior design…

Tabacoff is a well-know name for collectors of plexiglas furniture. He was edited by the esteemed French editor Mobilier Modulaire Moderne.

Sphere chair

In an interior designed by Maria Pergay. The chair were sold at a recent Artcurial sale.

Written by Alvar and I

June 11, 2011 at 1:22 am

Posted in Designers, Movie

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Goldfinger… Ernö Goldfinger

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Everyone who has lived in London is somehow familiar with Ernö Goldfinger. He was one of the leading modernist (some would say brutalist) architects based in Britain, and is most remembered for the Trellick Tower in North West London and the Elephant and Castle development. Both were copiously hated by Londoners.

Goldfinger lent – without his conscent – his surname to Auric Goldfinger the über James Bon villain, following a dispute with Ian Flemming over the construction of his modernist house in West Hampstead. It probably did not help that Ernö was not all sweetness.

Ernö Goldfinger had also a thing or two to say about furniture. The Guardian just published a nice piece on Goldfinger’s house on Hampstead Heath and its furniture. Additional pictures and info can be found on The Sneaky Magpie‘s blog. Goldfinger also published a book called British Furniture Today. See this recent article from Interior Design.

The screen in the Living Room at 2 Willow Road

Designed by Goldfinger in 1959
Headquarters of the Hille furniture company (the editor of Robin Day)


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June 8, 2011 at 2:29 am

Posted in Architecture, Designers

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From our 50’s couch

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1. Essential viewing: Oda Noritsugu’s (he of Danish Chairs) house via Kitka Design

From Oda’s collection…

2. Dieter Ram’s house featured in The Telegraph. White. (HT: Modern Findings)

3. California, surf, and Robin Day? Nice Nelson CSS too.

Written by Alvar and I

June 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Low Cost Furniture Competition: 1949

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With the Internet, serendipidity takes a whole new meaning. Stumbled recently upon MoMA’s press releases of the iconic Low Cost Furniture Competition: here is the press release announcing the winners, and  here is the exhibition press release. The competition advert can be seen here. See also here for a candid discussion of production challenges .

The 1949 International Low Cost Furniture competition revealed to the public Don Knorr, Robin Day, and Ernest Race. The competition was featured in Life magazine  and Der Spiegel.

With about 3,000 entries, the list of designers who submitted reads like a Who’s Who of 1950s design and architecture: Marcel Breuer, Ilmari Tapiovaara, Hans Wegner, Marco Zanuso, Franco Albini, Jorn Utzon and Willy Guhl among them. Here is an overview of the competition catalog courtesy of Modernism 101.

Don Knorr chair – upholstered

The brainchild of Edgar Kaufmann Jr., the competition used the successful formula of the MoMA 1941 “Organic Designs and Home Furnishing” of collaboration between MoMA and retailers (Kaufmann was the son of the owners of Kaufmann’s department store in Pittsburgh). You could well say that Edgar Jr. was a man of taste and vision having studied with Frank Lloyd Wright and being of the Kaufman family that commissioned the Fallingwater house in 1936.

he has the right to look pretty smug, no?

Some of the furniture presented at the competition…

Robin Day and Clive Latimer storage unit

Alexey Brodovitch chair (3rd prize)

Charles Eames- La Chaise: it was not so low cost, so it did not win (2nd prize)

Full Scale Model of Chaise Longue (La Chaise) by Charles and Ray Eames, 1948. ©2008 The Museum of Modern Art

Written by Alvar and I

June 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm