Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Definitely in love with Mies van der Rohe's creations...

The Farnsworth House is one of the most significant of Mies van der Rohe's (1886-1969)  
works, equal in importance to such canonical monuments as the Barcelona Pavilion
built for the 1929 International Exposition and the 1954-58 Seagram Building in New York. 
Its significance is two-fold. First, as one of a long series of house projects, the Farnsworth 
House embodies a certain aesthetic culmination in Mies van der Rohe’s experiment with this 
building type. 
Second, the house is perhaps the fullest expression of modernist ideals that had begun
 in Europe, but which were consumated in Plano, Illinois.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"A wisp of fog" : the Casalino chair

"Not a single drawing I made", Alexander Begge (born in 1941) remembers. "I had this image of a wisp of fog, and elaborated on that. It brought so much joy, I was in a glow. The Casala factory had a siren, which sounded several times a day. When the siren went off at the end of the working day, I though it was time for a coffee break. I had forgotten everything around me." 

So nice story, so nice chair... A small part of the childish and cheerful 1970s plastic pop design for our children !

Despite this pleasure, Alexander Begge never designed any furniture again. He studied potter’s art and started furnace construction firm. These days Alexander Begge lives near Koblenz, Germany.

In 2007, a Dutch manufacturer, Casala Meubelen Nederland, wanted to introduce it again : they found the original moulds at a Turkish depot in Antalya and redesigned the original Casalino. In two sizes, with ou without armrests, Casalino 2007 and Casalino Jr were born : stackable, antistatic, weather resisting, impactproof, scratchresistant as ever - almost, just almost, like the beautiful 1970s poetic original... Up to you... 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Amazing furniture for Mad Men

Set in 1960s New York, the sexy, stylized and provocative AMC drama Mad Menfollows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell.

For all the fans of one of the most fantastic dramas on the television I have ever watched, "Mad men" is not only a passionating story (Don Draper's romance life & love affairs...), but something like a reading of the early 1960s. 
Thus each detail is significant : let's pay attention to the perfection of the award-winning decor, based upon mi-century style.  Stephen Coles wrote last month an interesting study on Don Draper's office (

In this office, American pieces inspired by Danish design are combined with pure Danish furniture like chairs by Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard, two designers we like very much :

Boxy Sofa, by Simplaform; unnamed sofa, by Jydsk Mobelvaerk; Goetz Sofa, by Herman Miller

Time-Life Executive Chair (ES 105), by Eames; FD-146 Chair, Peter Hvidt & Olga Molgaard ; Boxy Set, by Simplaform

To see all our pieces designed by Peter Hvidt & Orla Molgaard Nielsen, please follow : 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back from Tuscany : architecture, lifestyle & design in Forte dei Marmi

Each summer, we spend a wonderful week in Forte dei Marmi, on the sandy Riviera Versilia. 

This pure Italian spot, apart from the touristic maps, is well described by Tyler Brule in the New York Times as " a small town on the coast of Tuscany that feels more like a cosy version of Palm Springs than a not too distant neighbour of Florence. The streets are organized along a tight grid and houses large and small hide behind thick hedges and ornate fences. In some areas clusters of palms punctuate perfectly manicured lawns but, as this is Tuscany, proud cypresses fill the sky and scent the air. 

The architecture is a mix of country houses that were absorbed by the town, stately symmetrical mansions and sleek modernist villas with wrap around terraces and angular roofs. Bicycles are the preferred mode of transport, and ladies in gauzy dresses and beaded sandals pedal to the market in the morning and then head off to the beach to take their positions at one of the many numerous beach clubs. For sport, there's competitive cycling, a shady tennis club or two and assorted water sports. 

On the beach, the clubs are groomed, raked and trimmed with the type of love that only comes from family-owned businesses. Indeed most of the clubs have been run by the same families for decades and back issues of Italian Navy magazines suggest that most owners did their time on the decks of destroyers or frigates in the Italian fleet. The best clubs are run with such an attention to detail (perfectly painted cabanas, attentive life guards, seamless bar service and color coordinated beach furniture) that seagulls don't go anywhere near the airspace".
Located around a jetty set up during the sixteenth century to ship the apuan marbles of Carrara, the origins of this charming seaside town as a settlement are tied into Michelangelo Buonarroti's artistic activity. The area was a swampy and uninhabited area for some time, then in the 1500's it started growing economically. From 1513, Leone XIII grants Florence the Captaincy of Pietrasanta forcing the great sculptor to give up Carrara's marbles in favour of the Seravezza deposits. Forte dei Marmi therefore became the main marble deposit in the area. For many years the only buildings in the area were indeed a loading wharf to transport materials and a warehouse. Officially, the city was founded by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo throughout the 1700's, and was famous during those times as a customs house and a defensive centre. The town started to attract the first tourists during the 1800s, and after the second world war it became one of Italy's most exclusive holiday resorts. From its 20th Century history, Forte dei Marmi's style mixes contemporary lines with 1950's to 1970's modernist  influences. 
See this wonderful private villa, completed in 2008 by Dordoni Architetti, a design team from Milan. The luxurious elegance and sense of measure are enhanced by the choices of furniture designed by Bertoia, Mies von der Rohe, Fritz Hansen, etc., in modern editions by Cassina, Knoll or Flos for the lightings....