Monday, May 18, 2015

Icon & Con

The Icon:

Academia just ain't my style. 

Learned my lesson about this as I started writing this post a few days ago.  I planned to refer to Mies van der Rohe and researched him. The more I read, gathered information and began to write, I could tell this just wasn't me.  Just wasn't. 

New approach. 
Lighten up.
Cuss a bit. 

As I started over I realized Mies and I have some pretty strong views in the same direction. Not that I would ever put myself in his league. The more I read about him, the more I understood why I have such respect for his work and have been so drawn to his furniture designs.

Below are two links that give great short reads on a really tall genius of design: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. 

Here are some short sweet academic paragraphs about the icon:

Mies pursued an ambitious lifelong mission to create a new architectural language that could be used to represent the era of technology and production. He saw a need for an architecture expressive of, and in harmony with, his epoch, and applied a disciplined design process using rational thought to achieve spiritual goals. He believed that the configuration and arrangement of every architectural element, particularly including the character of enclosed space, must contribute to a unified expression. 

Mies designed modern furniture pieces using new industrial technologies that have become popular classics, such as the Barcelona chair and table (which we'll speak about today). His furniture is known for fine craftsmanship, a mix of traditional luxurious fabrics like leather combined with modern chrome frames, and a distinct separation of the supporting structure and the supported surfaces.

The Con: The client (diva extraordinaire) had dreamed and anticipated this cozy little spot for a long time. Her room. The house had been her husband's bachelor shrine, his pad, his crib.  No girly dressing room fit into the scheme of his house.

As things started shaping up in other rooms, his trust in the two of us grew and we were given the deed to the square footage. Diva girl was beside herself: "This much important real estate all for me!"

Her expectations were huge.  Several layouts were discussed.  We play-acted how the room would be used.  Barcelona chairs were not even in the running.  A Swedish painted loveseat was purchased, and the scheme began.  NOT! Diva changed her mind. Her room.  Her way.  She wanted the Barcelona chairs and ottoman.

The Barcelona chair is a chair designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich. It was originally designed for the German Pavilion, that country's entry for the International Exposition of 1929, which was hosted by Barcelona, Spain.  Although many architects and furniture designers of the Bauhaus era were intent on providing well-designed homes and impeccably manufactured furnishings for the "common man," the Barcelona chair was an exception: it was designed for the Spanish Royalty to oversee the opening ceremonies of the exhibition. The form is thought to be extrapolated from Roman folding chairs (the "Curule" chair – upholstered stools used by Roman aristocracy). Despite the industrial appearance the Barcelona chair requires much hand craftsmanship.

Just like the beginning of this post: Scratch. Delete. Much cussing.  The process started over, new furnishings had to be found to make the dance.  It's all about the dance.  One happy connection: Barcelona chairs in the dressing room; Barcelona table in the living room. 

The Barcelona table features the pure compositional structure that now epitomizes Modern architecture. The table features a thick, clear polished plate glass with 1/8" beveled edge. Single-piece base construction ensures long term durability.

Con completed. Happy husband. Mostest important! Happy Diva.

Whitney Houston
"I Wanna Dance with Somebody"

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