Alvar and I

Musings about vintage design furniture

Posts Tagged ‘Charlotte Perriand

From our 50’s couch

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1. Charlotte Perriand: De la photographie au design, currently in Paris. How organic forms inspired the furniture of Perriand. Check the Wallpaper* gallery. Fascinating.

the model

its interpretation

2. Another Wallpaper* gallery treat, the Days exhibition at Pallant House Gallery.

3. Featured in this month edition of Dwell and elsewhere on the web sphere, the 23.2 house of Omer Arbel. Love the book shelf in the open living room.

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Written by Alvar and I

April 20, 2011 at 2:11 am

From our 50’s couch – McDonald edition

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A collector’s dream: the immodestly titled Mark McDonald sale at Sotheby’s on 10 March, already featured on the ever interesting MONDOBLOGOThe North Elevation and Mid-Century Modern Interiors. Really great and instructive to see the beautiful pieces assembled  by a collector ahead of his time. Particularly nice to find a couple Nana Ditzel piece too, including this beautiful modular seating system below: pretty stiff competition for our very own 50’s couch!

Check also the Aalto Chair No. 31, a favorite around this blog. The estimate is pretty low: something wrong with it?

Let’s dream a bit of future blog posts written on this delightful desk by Charlotte Perriand. A similar table was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 2004 for $7,200.

Finally check out the Anatomy of a Sale videos about the McDonald auction.

Written by Alvar and I

March 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm

A Critique of Tubular Steel

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“In 1925 modern tubular furniture was born. Its birthplace was the Bauhaus, famed German school of architecture and design which Nazis later turned into a domestic science school for girls. It had a bony infancy. Fad-hungry interior decorators pounced on its chromium steel chairs and glass-topped tables. But many a buyer found it short on fun, however long on function. Trouble was – and still is – that metal furniture was cold in surface and line, clammy or hot according to the weather.

Alvar Aalto – Model No. 21

Meanwhile, in Finland, a brilliant young architect named Alvar Aalto and his architect wife, Aino, really got somewhere with modern furniture. Influenced by the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier (real name: Charles-Edouard Jeanneret), but experimenting in plywood instead of steel, they smoothed out geometric kinks, turned out chairs which combined the functional with good sense and charm. The Aaltos were the first to make chairs with pliant one-piece backs and resilient seats. They pioneered also in welding together layers of plywood with synthetic cement, cold-pressing them for six weeks into posture-pleasing shapes.

Alvar Aalto – Model No. 31

Exhibited on the Continent, in London, at Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art (in 1938), their light, satiny furniture brought the Aaltos international renown, put them in the front rank of modern furniture designers. (Also well acknowledged by then was stocky, bush-browed Alvar Aalto’s high rank among living architects.)

Alvar Aalto – Model No. 42

Last week Alvar and Aino Aalto opened their own furniture store (Artek-Pascoe, Inc.) in Manhattan. The Aaltos’ plywood sandwiches of maple and birch are shaped in Wisconsin, shipped East for assembly. Colors of the finished pieces of furniture – many of them Aalto-patented – ranged from natural finish through cellulosed red and blue to black. On display also went Aalto-designed screens and glassware.

Alvar Aalto – Lounge Chair Model No. 43

The excellence of the Aalto furniture may help to discourage manufacture of some furniture that now passes for modern. The Aalto purpose is to use U. S. mass production to get their designs into ordinary U. S. homes. Though their simple, substantial furniture is well fitted for mass production, the Aalto assembly line has not yet cut prices to the ordinary buyer’s range. In full operation, it will retail an armchair now priced at $29.50 for $19, a $47 chest of drawers for $24, a $15 side table for $9. The Aaltos have already attained space-saving by designing stools that nest into each other, side chairs and even armchairs that can be stacked 20 high to save space.”

[TIME magazine, “Furniture by Assembly Line“, July 15, 1940 issue; with due thanks to Modernism101 for the pointer]

Aalto felt that steel tubing was unsuited to living spaces and he disliked its tinny sound. He took advantage of the elasticity of birch wood, whose spring qualities had hitherto only been only used for skis. Around the same time different solutions were followed by other designers, most notably Heinz and Bodo Rasch’s “Sitzengeiststuhl” (“the spirit of the sitting chair”) and Gerrit Rietveld.

Gerrit Rietveld – Zig-zag chair (1934)

Gerrit Rietveld. Zig-Zag Chair. 1934

The radical innovation of Rietveld’s design was that it did not follow the imaginary lines of a cube, but instead a diagonal.

Charlotte Perriand for the Exhibition “Tradition, Selection, Creation” (1941)

Phillips, de Pury & Company-Experimental armchair

This one was designed while Perriand was in Japan and made out of plywood and bamboo elastic bands. This armchair, an interpretation of Alvar Aalto’s designs (Model No. 31 in particular), was made for her exhibitions at the Takashimaya department stores in Tokyo and Osaka in 1941. The exhibition Tradition, Selection, Creation was opened under sponsorship of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the French Embassy. It can be considered the immediate outcome of Perriand’s official appointment as advisor to Japanese industrial art production from 1940 to 1941 and her collaboration with Junzo Sakakura. More from the Philips, de Pury & Company catalog description here.

Werner Panton – S Chair No. 275 (1956)

Manufacturing a chair out of a single plywood sheet had been achieved long before Panton’s design by Gerald Summer and Hans Pieck, but it is only with Panton that a cantilever design was made possible. Hugo Häring had proposed in 1949 a prototype made out of a single sheet of metal; the model was intended for production in plywood but never came to be.

[Most of the above information – including this post’s title – is taken from Stebastian Hackenschmidt’s essay “Cantilevered: Chairs as Material Experiments” for the MAK Exhibition Cantilever Chair: Architectural Manifesto and Material Experiment]

Written by Alvar and I

February 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Way out of our league

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Well, we cannot really complain about fetichism here, but we can still spot a speculative bubble when we see one. Astronomical prices for mid-century furniture is nothing new for the likes of Prouvé, Perriand, Ponti and Molino, but every time we look they seem to increase. Cue the sales from the recent Design Miami in the margins of the Art Basel Fair.

Among mostly contemporary “Furnitart” on sale at very very high prices (Bouroulec at $40,000 a piece any one?), several well heeled mid-century specialists were present: Sebastian and Barquet, Jousse Entreprises, Gallerie Seguin and R 20th Century among them. Guess this was an inspired move for them!

Galerie Jousse Entreprise

the Mexican bookcase by Perriand and Prouvé went for €130,000 to a Russian collector. It’s not only football teams…

Secret Habit

Galerie Seguin

Jean Royère “Ours Polaire” Sofa and armchairs,1949, sold for $800,000…

the “Croisillon” bed (at the back): yours for a mere $125,000

DESIGN MIAMI, 2010

R Gallery

Joaquim Tenreiro table – € 300,000

(and it’s even not Jacaranda…)

I guess that we are a bit jealous. More on Design Miami here and The Art Newspaper.

From our 50s couch

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Our vintage couch surfing this week:

1. The collection of Serge Mouille’s brother in law goes on sale in France. Expect high prices (HT: Sleek design).

2. The Fondazione Vico Magistretti opened in Milan (HT: Abitare)

3. A Frank LLoyd Wright rug revealed by LAMA (via Prairiemod)

4. A striking white metal table by Charlotte Perriand courtesy Expertissim (in French)

Image HD : Charlotte PERRIAND (1903-1999). Table de salle à manger.

 

Written by Alvar and I

March 13, 2010 at 12:14 pm