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Design Longevity & Case Study Housing

July 9, 2014

CSH 22

Arts & Architecture magazine served several purposes during its forty-two year tenure.  And while in many ways it set the American Modernism standard, it can be said the magazine’s most notable achievement was its sponsorship of the Case Study Housing program.

A thought, which became an idea, that turned into a conversation would eventually grow into a very well conceived plan.  One which would not only challenge, but change the view of how people lived in America.  Granted, at the time, I’m not sure if the editors or the architects involved shared the this vision, but they were definitely keen to change things up.

CSH 21

In 1945, as World War II was nearing an end, it was clear housing would become an issue for the millions of men returning from war to start a family.  At the prospect of a potential housing shortage, several prominent Southern California architects and the editors of Art & Architecture magazine began discussing solutions.  And so the Case Study House Program was born.

The program’s mission was to create or re-create the modern house-post war.  This meant the homes needed to utilize the best materials available, be economical and lend itself to mass production.  Easily fabricated, quickly constructed, and ultimately not an eye sore on the American landscape.  The original announcement adds, “It is important that the best material available be used in the best possible way in order to arrive at a ‘good’ solution of each problem, which in the overall program will be general enough to be of practical assistance to the average American in search of a home in which he can afford to live.”

What started with eight homes would eventually grow to over 30, along with names synonymous with architectural significance.  Some of the names at the helm consisted of Koenig, Geary, Eaams, and Rapson, Neutra, Walker for those with a deeper taste for the popular modern architects of the time.  The result would be some of the most impressive examples of modern residential architecture ever created.  Built to incorporate all the elements of their intent, many of the home still stand throughout southern California and parts of Arizona, many unaltered and in their original condition.  Thanks to Julius Shulman, the celebrated architectural photographers, many of the Case Study Homes were well documented and captured in their original form.  Images of Case Study House #22 are amongst some of the most famous photographs ever taken.

Spanning almost 20 years, the Case Study House program was scrapped in 1962 with Arts & Architecture shutting down not long after in 1967.  The homes built by this program created endless inspiration for decades and influenced many of the techniques used to not only design, but build structures today.  What was a great idea was realized, and in many ways changed the face of what America was to look like, even if only for a brief time.  Many of the homes the magazine help create still stand and can be visited today, and a link to the original Art & Architecture announcement can be found here.

CSH Eames

CSH 25 Kappe

CSH 9

Post PUF: PopUp Flea S/S Recap

May 25, 2014

PopUp Flea photo copyright Will Foster

The PopUp Flea is back and is firing on all cylinders.  Appearing during the warmer months for the first time in five years, PUF kicked of the year in good form.  What has typically been an annual event in New York during December is being expanded both domestically and abroad to include five shows in total, out of the gate first is PUFSUN.

The program for spring proved solid.  In total, 35 brands joined the roster with offerings all in favor of warmer temperatures.  One third of the vendors were new additions along with several alumni.  Some crowd favorites included Freeman’s Sporting Club, Billykirk, Kaufmann Mercantile, Topo Designs, Analog Shift and two new comers Dom Vetro & Thaddeus O’Neil.  The brands are what make PopUp Flea really tick, and everyone came out swinging with both booth design and merchandise.

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

Over the years PopUp Flea has seen continual growth, always for the better.  As the event has grown so have the venues, the brand list, and attendance, the latter two making the event not only possible but reason to visit.  Aside from being able to get all of your favorite stuff in one place, PUF traditionally offers the opportunity to talk shop with the folks behind your favorite label or other people with similar interests.  The Metropolitan Pavilion played host for the spring/summer event, and will serve as the home base for December, which is guaranteed to bring the thunder.

Check out PopUp Flea for the full calendar and schedule of events or tune into the PUF instagram for the play-by-play.  Next on the docket is PUFDET.  The motor city will be hosting PopUp Flea during June 6, 7, & 8th and celebrating Made in America.  If you’re in, around or near Detroit, stop in and get in the mix.

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

PopUp Flea - copyright Jamie Apostolou

 

Destination Down Under: BLUE Sydney

April 8, 2014

BLUE Sydney

Almost always, the first order of business when hitting the road is finding the right place to stay.  Not to be confused with a good place.  While away, where you stay is as important as where you’re going.  A destination can be ruined by ill-equipped lodging.  And the last thing you want to be is that person who shares their horrible hotel experience.

Like many other good things, the devil lies squarely with the details, and the details not only matter, they make all the difference.  Most will say location is key.  I agree, location is important, but just because something is seated in the times square of wherever you are doesn’t mean you should stay there.  Not only can a few extra minutes of walking provide a quiet retreat, you’ll have more to talk about than the yelp reviews of your conveniently located abode.  During a recent visit to Australia, the selection was quickly narrowed to BLUE Sydney, where the combination of an interesting property and individual detail made the choice easy.

BLUE Sydney

BLUE is the combination of a lot of things, all good.  It’s housed on a former industrial wharf in Woolloomooloo, between the Royal Botanical Gardens and Potts Point at the top of the Darlinghurst neighborhood.  It’s location is key, and while it doesn’t sit right next to really anything, it’s close enough that  you won’t need to rely on taxis or other transport.  The building extends into the harbor for what seems like forever and still carries signs of its previous life.  Additionally, some of Sydney’s finest restaurants have also taken residence along the wharf, and are a dining destination in their own right.

Tapping into the building’s past, architectural elements of the property consist of a densely woven system of beams, belts, and layers, all serving a previous tenant that’s since been decades removed.  These structural details spread into the rooms, which are not only enviable in size (as someone who lives in New York), but offer a view and every other amenity you’d expect, including personality.  It doesn’t hurt that regardless of where you stay, you’ll get a clear view of the sun rising or setting.  And not to fret, your confused internal clock will promise your audience to at least a few sunrises.

While the building that houses BLUE is insanely large, the hotel only occupies a fraction of the property.  The other portions being privately owned.  This not only helps with limiting the volume of clientele, it also makes the experience personal and not very fussy.  Things are easier with more space and fewer people.  An appreciated notion embraced during our stay.  Any visit, wherever it may be, should be simple, easy and a little bit different.  The next time you head to Sydney, BLUE has you covered.

BLUE Sydney

BLUE Sydney

BLUE Sydney

BLUE Sydney

BLUE Sydney

BLUE Sydney

One of a few jet lagged induced sunrises.

BLUE Sydney

Special thanks to BLUE Sydney for all their hospitality.

 

 

Further Afield

March 7, 2014

Rand C Logo

The famed graphic designer, Paul Rand, and his infamous C logo gets a breath of fresh air. (Phaidon)

Uniqlo positions itself to become the world’s largest retailer. (Wall Street Journal)

The iconic biker jacket is celebrated in the exhibit Beyond Rebellion: Fashioning the Biker Jacket at the FIT Museum. (FIT)

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Design & Influence: Vignelli and HER

February 27, 2014

HER

No shortage of conversation occurs after experiencing a film like HER.  High waisted pants, well-worn mustaches, dependency on technology, the future of video games,  all make the conversational check list.  And while all are valid and worthy of discussion, the film’s design aesthetic is what really sets it apart.  It’s safe to say Spike Jonze is the consummate creator of art(y) films, and there were no punches pulled with HER.  The set, the wardrobe, his view of a future Los Angeles are all done so well, and perhaps more important, feel natural.

Jonze enlised the help of Geoff Mcfetridge to build a world that’s artificial, yet realistic.  With much of the landscape consisting of a blend between Shanghi and L.A., the Los Angeles creator took ques from designers past.  In addition to creating the drawings inside the offices of Theodore Twombly along with the computer interface and handheld device graphics, and the films credits, Mcfetridge was also responsible for the elaborate transit map that’s found in the back ground throughout several scenes.

HER

The retro aesthetic was inspired by Massimo Vignelli’s 1970s New York Subway map.  Vignelli, originally from Italy, came to America and attracted attention for his work designing signage for the D.C. metro and New York subway, the latter eventually hiring him to design the system’s map.  Although Vignelli’s map met mixed (unfavorable) reviews from New Yorkers for its diagrammatic approach and lack of scale geography, it remains a favorite amongst graphic designers and modern lovers alike (it still draws significant bids on eBay and the like).  And like Vignelli, who worked on just about every type of design that exists, Mcfetridge’s modernist approach spans the life of the film, woven into its fabric.  But it’s a glimpse at L.A.’s future transit system where the most influence can be felt with its broad use of geometric shapes and vivid color.

So now that HER is soon to be available online, you’ll have one more detail to search out, one more box to check.  For a look at similar design work, visit Champion Studio.

HER

HER

HER

Images via Champion Studio
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