"The main living room in Bruno Mathsson's house looks out to a lake, and the whole time I was shooting there, the only thing I could hear was the wind in the trees. It was so quiet and peaceful. The house is filled with all his own designs. I don't think there is one stick of furniture in his house that he did not design." - Leslie Williamson (more here)

"Walking into Gae Aulenti's living room for the first time was pretty thrilling for me. She showed me in and just kind of waved her hand around the room matter of factly… All of her lighting designs that I love are there and masses of books. Her library is staggering and carefully arranged around the walls of the double level  living room. " - Leslie Williamson

SUPPORT: Handcrafted Modern Europe

Photographer & writer Leslie Williamson has been steadily working on her follow up to "Handcrafted Modern: At Home with Mid-century Designers." The new book focuses on European architects and designers, including Aalto, Aulenti, Matthson, to name a few.  I was lucky enough to have coffee with Leslie when she was in Los Angeles last fall, in between her travels to Europe working on her book. Her dedication to her craft, her patience and desire to tell the stories of these designers hit me on an emotional level. Her dedication to documenting beauty, and the simple truths of living through the eyes of designers is a wonderful pursuit. 

Leslie Williamson has begun a kickstarter campaign for funding for the 2nd book, and for the next 18 days will be hopefully achieving her goal with our support.  To pledge, please visit her kickstarter page here, watch the video, and see more images from her upcoming book. - David John

In addition, there will be a lecture by Leslie Williamson, where she will be previewing more images from the book! Saturday, March 9, 2013, 6:00 p.m. at the Neighborhood Church 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103. more info here.. 

"The living room of Alvar Aalto's house looks into the home studio where he had his practice in the early years. When I was shooting the living room I felt like Aino - that is her picture on the piano - was watching me the whole time. At first it made me nervous and then I found her gaze very comforting. Like I somehow had her approval…But it made me want to ask her so many questions about the collaborative process of this house between her and Alvar."

"One of my favorite things about finn Juhl's house was his use of color. Each room has a color scheme and everything is integrated to serve that it seems. The way I say that makes it sound very calculated, but it all feels very organic. 

The blue and grey entry area is the narrowest part of the house and looks right out to the back yard. So you walk in the front door and immediately feel like you are outside again.
-Leslie Williamson 

Visit Leslie Williamson's kickstarter page here..

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Modernism Week
"An 11-day celebration of mid-century modern design, architecture and culture. This design aesthetic, originated in the 1950s and 60s, was typified by clean, simple lines and celebrated elegant informality which came to define desert modernism."

 l;; l

 This past weekend  I was invited to the opening of Palm Springs Annual Modernism Week, an 11 day celebration of desert modernism.  I snapped this photo during a 3 hour architectural bus tour of the city, showcasing homes by Lautner, Cody, Albert Frey, and others. 1st Dibs and Modernism Magazine hosted the opening night of the Modernism Sale, including Amsterdam Modern, Fat Chance, Reform, Converso, Downtown, and Objects USA to name a few. (Read a past interview with Objects USA here).

Thanks for the incredible weekend of design and events.
For a full listing of next weekend's events, visit here. - David John


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 "This chair clearly brings to light Wanscher’s inspiration while remaining modern and functional. Also known as OW2000, Wanscher’s Egyptian Folding Chair was first designed and produced in 1957 before being taken out of production in the 1970s. It wasn’t until 2000 that Danish cabinet maker PJ Furniture finally put this true classic back into production but distribution was limited."

A new look at the design of Ole Wanscher, via Carl Hansen & Son

"Ole Wanscher (1903-1985), whose furniture designs are now considered classics, was an architect and professor of architecture, specializing in furniture design. Treating furniture design as if it were a branch of architecture, Wanscher paid utmost attention to construction and form. He studied under and apprenticed for Kaare Klint (who’s Safari Chair Carl Hansen & Son is also producing) and later followed in his footsteps to become a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Known to be a student of furniture design wherever his travels took him, Wanscher was especially influenced by his trips through Europe and Northern Africa. He embraced his impressions gathered on these voyages and brought them to his own sensibility. It was in Egypt that he found the inspiration for his Egyptian Folding Chair. During his Egyptian excursions, Wanscher became fascinated with the old seats that historically represented power with a sense of dignity and elegance, and he designed the chair with this in mind...

Recently, Carl Hansen & Son has acquired the manufacturing rights for this design and will be distributing it in the US for the first time.    The chair typifies the elegant, decorative and functional qualities seen in many of Wanscher’s classic designs. Stable and light, the seat easily folds for easy transport and storing."


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Furniture hand-crafted in Mexico

We are believers in the classic designs of Casmidy. Their collection of furniture  is casually elegant, refined and understated all at the same time.  We recently ordered some pieces for a DISC project in Hollywood, and are eagerly awaiting their arrival.  Photos to come.

Owners Jorge Almada and Anne-Marie Midy, husband and wife, work in Sam Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Last year when I was in Mexico City I was hoping to make a stop in San Miguel, but sadly ran out of time. Their latest works continue to evolve, materials of leather, canvas, wood, and modernist Mexican forms. - David John

for further reading, Remodelista here.

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"when a sculpture becomes a stairway only to become a conversation about the void."

[He] opens a dialogue with the history of abstract art, and at the same time criticizes the ontological status of pure painting.”
The husband is a true modernist, so he would have lost his mind in a log cabin. And she’s a bit more traditional, so the idea of traveling all the way from New York to Colorado just to be in a minimalist white box wasn’t going to fly,” 

"when a sculpture becomes a stairway 
only to become a conversation 
about the void."


1.. Studio Sofield in Aspen : via AD, text by Mayer Rus, photo by Scott Frances
The clients who commissioned designer William Sofield to create their new home on Aspen’s Red Mountain are a couple, he says, with somewhat divergent tastes. “The husband is a true modernist, so he would have lost his mind in a log cabin. And she’s a bit more traditional, so the idea of traveling all the way from New York to Colorado just to be in a minimalist white box wasn’t going to fly,” Sofield explains. “The strength of this house lies in the tension between their aesthetics.”

read the entire article and images here... they are stunning....

2.. Campoli Presti is pleased to present Olivier Mosset’s second solo exhibition with the gallery following his solo exhibition at Indipendenza Studio, Rome in 2012.  Mosset emerged in the Sixties and has been associated with a multitude of art historical movements and contexts. Although his work addresses purest ideals reflected in the Minimalist colour-field painting of Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt, the artist began to critique Modernist value systems in painting during his involvement with Daniel Buren, Michel the group BMPT.  In anticipation of many artists, who in the 1980s would use appropriation as a tool to critique Modernist authority, Mosset called into question the painter’s gesture and signature by sharing visual styles and dissolving authorship in order to reach a ‘degree zero’ of painting. The Academic Paul Eli Ivey sums up Mosset’s predicament thus – “[He] opens a dialogue with the history of abstract art, and at the same time criticizes the ontological status of pure painting.”

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Amy Somervillle, London: Built by hand in England.

Leeder House 6 Erskine Road 
Primrose Hill London NW3 3AJ


"Our designs combine precision lines and sensual organic curves to create sophisticated eclectic shapes perfect for redefining traditional spaces and adding depth and soul to the contemporary.    All of our furniture pieces are made to order in the UK using traditional methods, the greatest care and the highest quality materials.  The majority of our designs can be customized in scale and finish.

We work with interior, hotel and yacht designers, architects and individuals on projects of all scale.     Our studio-showroom in London is open by appointment and the majority of our furniture and finishes can be viewed there along with our fabric and rug collections."

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"Well I left my happy home to see what I could find out 
I left my folk and friends with the aim to clear my mind out"

"So off and on you go, the seconds tick the time out 
There's so much left to know and I'm on the road to find out" - Cat Stevens

February 10 - March 17, 2013 
Opening Reception: Sunday, February 10th, 6-8pm  

Lisa Cooley is pleased to present a two-person exhibition by Becky Beasley and Alicja Kwade. Their works share an interest in industrial materials as well as dark, blunt and sometimes opaque formal qualities. Yet these dark aspects are rivaled by the artists’ engagement with the domestic, perception, literature or personal narrative. This is the first time either artist has shown at the gallery.  

Becky Beasley’s work may first appear as subtle, quiet forms but quickly give way to literary worlds, tinged with autobiographical references... Beasley’s sculptures have always conversed with her photography. Early photographs depicted objects covered in blankets and were thus abstracted. As these photographic forms transmogrified into sculptures, they assumed a domestic scale – pianos, books, or humans – and poetic function. In this case, Steppe’s inky landscape counterbalances Beasley’s verdant photographs, representing the bloodless, lifeless phase of nature’s cycle.  

Alicja Kwade’s sculptures try to elongate time and space. They present themselves as solid, real, heavy things, created with industrial processes or from everyday conveniences like clocks, mirrors, cars, lamps, and watches, yet in Kwade’s hands they invert, misalign, and melt. Her sculptures subvert one’s expectations precisely because of their familiarity and physicality. Their crystalline elegance and cinematic scale only magnify their pull on one’s perception.

(more here)

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Ethan Cook felman 12.01.2013 - 16.02.2013

I was born on this land. Conflict : creating new forms out of surroundings 
deliberate by design There are not illusions here The forms : (my)time represented and recorded my life, my work, me: Felman I’ve lived here my entire life. 

 All you see here before you I’ve made from scratch: cotton and timber. Cotton starts in the fields, timber from below. All my life lay here before you… (here)

"Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft. The method in which these threads are inter woven affects the characteristics of the cloth. Cloth is usually woven on a loom, a device that holds the warp threads in place while weft threads are woven through them. he way the warp and filling threads interlace with each other is called the weave.

The majority of woven products are created with one of three basic weaves: plain weave, satin weave, or twill. Woven cloth can be plain (in one colour or a simple pattern), or can be woven in decorative or artistic designs. Canvas is an extremely heavy-duty plain-woven fabric used for making sails, tents, marquees, backpacks, and other items for which sturdiness is required. It is also popularly used by artists as a painting surface, typically stretched across a wooden frame.

Modern canvas is usually made of cotton or linen, although historically it was made from hemp. It differs from other heavy cotton fabrics, such as denim, in being plain weave rather than twill weave. Plain weave (also called tabby weave, linen weave or taffeta weave) is the most basic of three fundamental types of textile weaves. It is strong and hard-wearing. In plain weave, the warp and weft are aligned so they form a simple criss-cross pattern. Each weft thread crosses the warp threads by going over one, then under the next, and so on. The next weft thread goes under the warp threads that its neighbor went over, and vice versa."

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"A-Shades is a series of suspended light fixtures by designer Bec Brittain. Copper plated spun metal shades hang elegantly from a fabric wrapped cord. The warmth of the light cast off of the copper surface makes it an ideal light for both residential and commercial projects."

available at MATTER, NY, manufactured by Mattermade

When I interviewed Bec Brittain last year, she mentioned 2 important things she learned from working with a previous lighting designer. I often find myself coming back to her words, as they often ring true.... "Relax" and "your work will be appreciated by the client...."  Bec's latest copper spun pendants are simply stunning.  Copper forms, bold, simple, refined and timeless.

1. You can be a product designer and not make mass-produced items. Instead you make relatively few pieces, mostly by hand, and they will be appreciated by the client.

 2. Relax about something being perfect the first time out.  She continues to change and improve her pieces as certain issues pop up. There's a nice balance between making it the best you can at the time and understanding that you can always make it better. My description of how I made the SHY light in iterations is definitely influenced by this attitude.

Read the full interview with Bec Brittain here...

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He trembles in the bitter wind 
Until it's time for us to speak 
Whilst others here are sleeping sound 
I'll slip away by floorboard creak 
Upon the hill he'll hear my secrets  (here)

"Gregor Jenkin Studio is interested not in producing design or art, but rather in the physical act of creation and manufacture. Design is a by-product of this age old process: a natural consequence of the studio’s attempt to find the best way of doing something.  

The Gregor Jenkin Studio functions as a kind of engineering environment – a systematic workshop that sets out to come up with solutions to certain problems, whether they involve questions of production, space, or practicality. Each piece produced in the studio is a kind of feat in itself; the result of a search for a new way of doing something old."

In this way, Gregor Jenkin and his small team strive to  create functional objects that are at once thoughtful, and, by extension, thought-provoking.  The studio is an assembly: three men in a workshop, taking tools to materials to produce a sum of various parts. This return to hands-on creation brings buyer and maker closer together. The studio’s attention to process, mixed with Jenkin’s irreverent reimagining of everyday objects, is the foundation for an authentic set up that produces niche products. Working in a manufacturing partnership with his brother, Rogan Jenkin Fabrication in Johannesburg, the studio creates an array of short-run products that are at once sophisticated, accessible and yet strange."

more here


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