Marcel Breuer image via The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research
Marcel Lajos Breuer was born May 21,1902 in Hungary. He attended university at the Bauhaus School and later was a teacher in the carpentry department. When he came to the United States he was a professor at Harvard University (1937-46) in the School of Architecture.
First recognized for his invention of bicycle-handlebar-inspired tubular steel furniture, he designed his most famous creation, the Wassily Chair, so called after being admired by artist Wassily Kandinsky. It was the first chair to feature a bent steel frame. Breuer designed a whole range of tubular metal furniture including chairs, tables, stools and cupboards. Tubular steel has lots of qualities; it is affordable for the masses, hygienic and provides comfort without the need for springs to be introduced. Breuer considered all of his designs to be essential for modern living. Design_Technology.org
Democratic Affordable Furniture for the Masses
B 34 1928
B 34 1928 via http://www.loeffler.de.com/de/sammlung
Breuer’s flat aluminum band furniture (1932-1934) Between these years Breuer experimented with flat aluminium in his furniture. It was not as strong as tubular steel but was considerably cheaper. The seats were targeted at the mass- market and were sold in Wohnbedarf in Switzerland. The concave bands at the back are structurally necessary but at the same time are aesthetically pleasing. The seat above is named the Armchair, Model No. 301. It is made from painted aluminium with a painted and moulded laminated seat and back. Image: design_technology.org
As an architect, Breuer worked primarily in concrete. Breuer’s buildings were always distinguished by an attention to detail and a clarity of expression. Considered one of the last true functionalist architects, Breuer helped shift the bias of the Bauhaus from “Arts & Crafts” to “Arts & Technology”.
jvworks: St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota jvworks.blogspot.com
[Marcel Breuer’s 1969 Armstrong (aka Pirelli) Building, pre-IKEA Image and story http://archidose.blogspot.com/2008/08/ikea-1-breuer-12.html
1966 1966 Whitney Museum of American Art. New York (with H. Smith)
The UNESCO building in Paris
Lecture Hall, New York University (1961, New York City )
Whitney Museum of American Art (1966, New York City ) ,
St. John’s Abbey Church (1953, Collegeville, MN ),
We welcome our friend and guest blogger, Charu Gureja. “I’m an interior designer, passionate about interior spaces, architecture, furniture, lighting and art. Generally speaking, I enjoy anything and everything related to art and design! Growing up in countries like Egypt, Japan, Sri Lanka, India and Singapore, I’ve come to appreciate a wide variety of design principles.” Pocket Full of Design . Charu brings to us her global point of view and her specific interest in modern lighting.
Like other elements of Mid-century Modern design, lighting fulfills both the aesthetic and functional needs of a space while eliminating the need for extraneous decoration. The fixtures have simple yet sculptural forms, which make them versatile enough to fit into spaces of any style, be it traditional, industrial, eclectic or contemporary.
Through the following examples I hope to inspire you to create your own unique look using Mid-century Modern lighting. The Paradigm Gallery website and blog are a great resource in terms of inspiration and products to help you along and I’m thankful to them for inviting me to share my thoughts here!
“Instinctively I was drawn to the beauty of things coarse and unrefined; things rich in raw texture and rough tactility. Often these things are reactive to the effects of weathering and human treatment.
And lastly, I was attracted to the beauty of things simple, but not ostentatiously austere. Things clean and unencumbered, but not sterilized. Materiality, pared down to essence, with the poetry intact.” Leonard Koren http://bit.ly/1dtfdzh
thursday’s child: wabi sabi
wabi sabi is flea market finds, not michigan ave purchases. it celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. it reminds us that we are all transient beings, that our bodies as well as the material world around us are fleeting. through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace wrinkles and rust, grey hairs and frayed edges and the march of time they represent. it’s a fragmentary glimpse of the part, not the whole, the journey not the destination.
Wabi means things that are fresh and simple. It denotes simplicity and quietude, and also incorporates rustic beauty. It includes both that which is made by nature, and that which is made by man. It also can mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole, such as the pattern made by a flowing glaze on a ceramic object.
Sabi means things whose beauty stems from age. It refers to the patina of age, and the concept that changes due to use may make an object more beautiful and valuable. This also incorporates an appreciation of the cycles of life, as well as careful, artful mending of damage.
– “The Classic Tradition In Japanese Architecture: Modern Versions Of The Sukiya Style”, Teiji Itoh, Yukio Futagawa
“Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional. … The closest English word to wabi-sabi is probably “rustic”. … Things wabi-sabi are unstudied and inevitable looking. .. unpretentious. .. Their craftsmanship may be impossible to discern. “
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Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to “mix it up” when decorating a space. An eclectic approach, or mixing it up refers to combining seemingly disparate styles of furniture and accessories. That could include: an industrial coffee table, a Scandinavian style sofa, a mid century classic lounge chair, a vintage lighting fixture, perhaps an antique gilded mirror or Victorian footstool. The point is, there are many styles that play well together. Ultimately, success is achieved by blending and balancing the elements in a way that each distinct piece is an important part of the whole, a composition of varying personalities if you will. I have always approached decorating with the philosophy that I need to have a connection to the things that I live with. The item needs to be beautiful to me, not just a functional piece. I don’t adhere to a singular era or style.
Having said all of this, I will now add some of the fine tuning details for creating your signature environment. Leonardo da Vinci is credited with the quote, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” As I have developed and honed my philosophy on decor, it has gradually grown into a simpatico with the Miesian theory of “less is more”. I need my spaces to breathe and allow for the individual elements to shine and be seen. If you overcrowd a room with furniture or accessories it creates a heavier space with a cluttered vibe and the individual beauty of each item gets lost in the confusion. Nothing weighs a room down more quickly then loading every flat surface with “things”. Someone visiting my home once said, “in every direction I turn there is a thoughtful, creative, view”, and he was not speaking about gazing through the windows.
The last few things to consider are the horizontal and vertical spaces, or simply said, the walls, floor, and ceiling. They have the potential to help create your room palette, add texture, and either calm or invigorate the energy. You can stay monochromatic in the decor or not, and use large art for color, multiple photos, posters, collections of tarnished silver trays or mirrors, whatever works for you. The most important thing to remember is to always edit your work. Keep in mind that it is a dynamic expression of you. It is changeable and adaptable to change. Think of the room as a visual expression of your autobiography.
What is more comfortable than a Womb Chair? Cradling you in a curved cloud of support, all stress and daily inconveniences melt away. The Womb Chair was designed by Eero Saarinen, while working for Knoll & Associates, when Florence Knoll placed a request for a chair that she could sink down into and enjoy a good book. In 1948, Saarinen completed Knoll’s request which she later dubbed “the curling chair”.
Conflicting stories about the origin of the name Womb Chair have been widely documented. Eero Saarinen stated that “its unofficial name is the Womb Chair because it was designed on the theory that a great number of people have never really felt comfortable and secure since they left the womb.” However, many people believe that this statement was made in jest. Christina Blake Oliver of interior design firm Oliver Interiors shared another possible origin with sZinteriors. Oliver says that her mother and father were close friend’s of the Saarinen’s. When her mother was enormously pregnant, she happened to be sitting in an early design of the chair when Saarinen was struck by the unlikely name Womb Chair. Despite the mystery shrouding the name, we can all agree that it certainly reflects many of the distinct characteristics of such a comfortable chair.
The distinct shape of the Womb Chair is the harvest of Saarinen’s numerous experiments using round pod-like seats in furniture design. One of his main goals of the design was to allow people to relax in several distinctive, yet comfortable positions. The Womb Chair exceeded all expectations for a comfortable chair and resulted in a modern chair perfectly suited for the increasingly relaxed modern society.
For more information on a top quality reproduction of this one-of-a-kind modern iconic chair, including available colors and pricing, please click here.
Abstract Modernist painter Victor Raul Garcia creates images which sync with their surroundings. They are not the juxtaposed images of a still life in a kitchen, or a landscape in a foyer, but rather a living component of interior design. Abstract art finds a way to mirror our emotions in a way that realism can only do in very specific instances. Garcia was kind enough to grant Paradigm Gallery a deeper look into his creative process and what his work means to him. In a time in our societal progression when craftsmanship and artistry are taking a backseat to affordability and convenience, divergent perspectives are even more valuable.
Like the elegant simplicity of straight lines and ergonomics, the subtlety of curved steel and sensual leather, mid century modern furnishings are historically and aesthetically the perfect pairing for abstract art. So much of modern design at its very core provokes deep thought; thought beyond the simple nodding of one’s head in appreciation of a visage. Garcia’s body of work has inspired us, and we hope that his words can also inspire you.
Paradigm: How do you interact with a piece as it begins to take form?
VRG: Creating art is an emotional experience. I look at art as a sort of “Tango”: an interpretive dance where you (and your canvas) express to one another your needs, wants and desires, through movement, color, texture and strokes. Such an intimate interlude is this. Filled with a dopamine “release”, emotional synergy and physical exertion. It can only be experienced and not explained.
“American Rose” 2’x4′ acrylic and poster paint on wood New York (2011)
Paradigm: What is the creative process for you?
VRG: A week prior to my studio time, I gather as much visual data as I can source. From ripping pages out of fashion and interior design magazines, to photographing vignettes at flower markets and textile showrooms, anything and everything that captures my eye’s attention goes into this reference library. Then based on my mood, I select several different images and try to create an ‘offspring’ of their combined attributes.
“Lago” 4′ x 4′ acrylic,oil and enamel on wood New York (2009)
Paradigm: If you could pick one of your pieces to be discovered 150 years from now, which would it be?
VRG: That piece would definitely be “Soho.” It evokes intrigue without intimidation; it satisfies all of the senses; and though open to interpretation by each viewer, the general reaction to it, I think, would be that of having just glimpsed into the intricate layers of a particular human being without having actually met them.
“Soho”, 4′ X 4′ mixed media on wood, New York (2008)
Paradigm: Do you find that selling your works affects the integrity of your final products? Has becoming more successful in your career had an effect on your work?
VRG: I take pride in the fact that I give every piece I make, whether large or small, sold or not sold, expensive or inexpensive, praised or not praised, the same amount of attention as any other. I am a humble man and would never let success change who I truly am. But the one thing that success has changed about my work is that it has made me strive to challenge myself and raise the bar constantly, to never become stagnant or complacent. Reinvention and versatility are key.
“Lavender Field” 4′ x 4′ acrylic,enamel and wood stain on wood, New York (2012)
Paradigm: If you are away from the studio for an extended period of time, what is it that you miss most about your craft?
VRG: The creative outlet that allows me to make perfect sense out of all the chaos in my mind.
How cool is it to have a local public library using chairs at tables and computer workstations that are referred to as Recycled Seat Belt Chairs (custom designed Rock and Stop Chairs)? Composed of solid natural wood frames with seat belt webbing, they are both green and very comfortable. Enter the Gotham Rocker, designed by J.Persing the same small niche U.S. company that built the library chairs mentioned above, called the Rock and Stop Chairs. Again using surplus automotive seatbelts Paradigm Gallery offers these environmentally friendly chairs which are dyed with non-toxic water-based inks. Its light weight form is intentional: great design with minimal material. America is truly coming back!
Look at this beautiful gem in the Catskills mountains of New York. You may ask yourself, “the Catskills?”. Yep, was hard to believe that a modern gem like this would be located amongst Adirondack chair neighbors and more traditional mountain homes.
Courtesy of the LA Times: Holger Schubert won Maserati and Architectural Digest’s Design Driven contest for best garage and you can see why. We love cars at Paradigm Gallery and obviously design; what a great pairing here.
Recently, we ran across a great post in the LA Times Home & Garden section that listed some of the worst design trends that top experts wish would simply, DIE in 2009. These “experts” included interior designers, designers, retailers, and other design pros, so they kinda know what they’re talking about. Here’s a quick rundown, plus a little Paradigm Gallery analysis 🙂
“Please, in the kitchen, no more granite countertop. It came into vogue in the ’80s, and it makes a place look dated instantaneously. I am pushing for an orange Formica comeback. If you don’t think you can pull that off, then honed white marble is always beautiful, soapstone or poured concrete looks great in rustic homes, and Corian gives a simple look that does not dominate any room.”
Our Take: Yeah, we are equally appalled by the question “Is this granite?” on House Hunters.
2) Residential Kitchens that Look Commercial
We kinda like sterility
“A kitchen chock-full of stainless-steel appliances is cold and old. Viking and Blue Star have a number of custom finishes that give a warmer, fresher look that can integrate your appliances with your cabinetry or add a fun pop of color to your kitchen.”
— Kristine Paige Kamenstein, Jackson Paige Interiors
Our Take: I guess it’s up to you. We’re somewhat split here. Some enjoy a cold sterile appliance set with punchy cabinetry incorporating bright and vibrant red, orange, and blue cabinet covers.
3) Mass Produced, Oversized Club Chairs
You look so small in that chair...
“I am tired of furniture that is scaled for a giant. Even if you have high ceilings in your home, you can buy furniture that is human-scaled. I love Ralph Lauren’s Colorado club chair, and for a less expensive alternative, a vintage club chair is a good option.”
Our Take: You are right Andrea. Seriously, there is comfort, but it’s like clothes. You don’t want to be swallowed with a baggy fit. We certainly prefer a Pavillion Chair or Le Corbusier Chair in petit, grande, or even extra grande sizes. Know what we mean?
4) Oversized Sleigh Beds
Did Brenda Walsh have one of these?
“If you have a team of Clydesdales, drive this old chestnut straight to the barn. Try something that brings pizazz back into the boudoir, like a headboard of soft gold-leaf leather with a nailhead design.”
— Craig Olsen, designer and retailer
Our Take: ABSOLUTELY! Too much in the bedroom almost chokes your sleep. Sleek, platform beds will be around a while. Take advantage now, like the Worth Bed, shown below:
Clean and mean
5) Cubed Ottomans and Faux Zebra Prints
“Little cubed ottomans are o-u-t,” designer and retailer Craig Olsen says. “Hexagons and ovals will lead the eye straight to the piece and make the room remarkable.” When it comes to faux zebra prints, designer and retailer Suzan Fellman sounds off: “Good God, how does a zebra print translate onto a cowhide rug? There are superior floor treatments, in a reasonable price range, that do not pretend to be something that they are not. I would opt for an Arzu Firuz vinyl carpet with laser cutouts that create a great pattern for the floor and are so easy to maintain.”
Our Take: Ok, ok, so we offer the “Pony Cube”, so we’re somewhat guilty to a degree, but we do have tons of non-cube ottoman and coffee tables to take advantage of.
So, what do you guys think? Any dreadful Design Trends that you just want to cast off for good?