Mid-Century Modern Furniture Then and Now - Paradigm Gallery Blog

Architects and Their Chairs “G”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On November 21st

                        “G” is for Gehry


Frank Owen Gehry Architects and Their Chairs G


 Frank Owen Gehry was born in Toronto, Canada on February 28, 1929. He studied at the University of Southern California and Harvard University. Frank was creative at a young age, building imaginary homes and cities from items found in his grandfather’s hardware store. This interest in unconventional building materials would come to characterize Gehry’s architectural work.     information via, Ruarte Contract


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image via  Ruarte Contract


Gehry creates unexpected, twisted forms that break conventions of building design. His work has been called radical, playful, organic, and sensual.

His selection of materials such as corrugated metal lends some of Gehry’s designs an unfinished or even crude aesthetic. This consistent approach has made Gehry one of the most distinctive and easily recognizable designers of the recent past. Critics of Gehry’s work have charged, however, that his designs are not thoughtful of contextual concerns and frequently do not make the best use of valuable urban space.


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My first experience of his work in 2007…love at first sight…University of Iowa


His style has been called Deconstructivist —a post-structuralist aesthetic that challenges accepted design paradigms of architecture while breaking with the modernist ideal of form following function.Frank Gehry looks for an architecture more and more free, with virtuous lines and complex forms, in which the light and its reflection is a principal matter. Furthermore, he is unique in the election of materials, each one more and more unusual giving his works an artistic quality unequaled.   information via, http://www.biography.com/people/frank-gehry-


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Preliminary sketches for the Panama Puente de Vida Museo | © Frank O. Gehry


“a sculptor that studied architecture”

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EMP’s futuristic Frank O. Gehry designed building is constructed of over 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles and 280 steel ribs. If its 400 tons of structural steel were stretched into the lightest banjo string it would extend one-fourth of the way to Venus.

A world-renowned architect, Frank O. Gehry has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1989), the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award (1994), the National Medal of Arts (1998), a Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (1999), and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts (2000).

Photo courtesy of EMP staff.Situated at the base of the world-renowned Space Needle


In His Own Words:

“I approach each building as a sculptural object, a spatial container, a space with light and air, a response to context and appropriateness of feeling and spirit. To this container, this sculpture, the user brings his baggage, his program, and interacts with it to accommodate his needs. If he can’t do that, I’ve failed.”— from the 1980 edition of “Contemporary Architects”

“Building a building is like berthing the Queen Mary in a small slip at a marina. There are lots of wheels and turbines and thousands of people involved, and the architect is the guy at the helm who has to visualize everything going on and organize it all in his head. Architecture is anticipating, working with and understanding all of the craftsmen, what they can do and what they can’t do, and making it all come together. I think of the final product as a dream image, and it’s always elusive. You can have a sense of what the building should look like and you can try to capture it. But you never quite do.”— Conversations With Frank Gehry by Barbara Isenberg, p. 62

information via, http://architecture.about.com/od/greatarchitects/p/gehry.htm


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EMP Museum – Seattle
At the base of the Space Needle, Gehry framed the EMP Museum to look as if its steel-and-aluminum skin is flapping in the wake of Seattle’s famous monorail. The building’s remarkable architectural form and sophisticated use of colors and textures can be traced to a melted Stratocaster guitar that served as inspiration to the architect Frank O. Gehry. Architectural Digest



 Idiosyncratic as it is said to be, Gehry’s philosophy toward designing is simple. He stays original and attempts to balance out the current trends of plain modernism with his own spice. Gehry mirrors the crazy, chaotic, insane aspects of life in his buildings. Like Gehry said himself, “What is architecture? It’s a three-dimensional object, right? So why can’t it be anything?”   www.SilverCreek




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Emeco with Gehry: A Collaboration in Support of Hereditary Disease Research
“Tuyomyo” Yours and Mine: One-of-a-Kind


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Gehry had success in the 1970s with his line of Easy Edges chairs made from bent laminated cardboard. By 1991, Gehry was using bent laminated maple to produce the Power Play Armchair. These designs are part of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) collection in NYC.


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Frank O. Gehry, Easy Edges lounge chair, 1972


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One of the more spectacular 70s chairs is Frank O. Gehry’s cardboard chair, Wiggle Side Chair, which is made out of 60 layers of closely compressed …


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Frank Gehry Face Off café table and 4 Cross Check arm chairs …

  • The most prominent influence of Gehry’s childhood was the love of fish. The elements he loved in the fish can be constantly seen in all of his buildings. It got him into thinking freely.

“The fish is a perfect form.” –Frank O. Gehry, 1986


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The shape of the fish is what got me thinking freely. Via silvercreek


We always aim to give credit for all images and information, in the event we fail to do that please notify us and we will correct the error. LMV


Architects and Their Chairs “F”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On September 30th

           “F” is for Ferrari-Hardoy


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Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy and The Butterfly Chair


Ferrari-Hardoy is one of the most important architects of Argentina. He belongs to the generation of Argentinean architects that advocated the ideas of modernism.

Ferrari-Hardoy studied until 1937 at the renowned “Escuela de Arquitectura” in Buenos Aires. He then went to Europe and spent a few months in Paris. Inspired by Le Corbusier who – as a representative of the „Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne“ (CIAM) – had a particular interest in Latin America, Ferrari-Hardoy worked closely with him on the elaboration of a first urban master plan for Buenos Aires. In addition, Ferrari-Hardoy was lecturer at the “Escuela Industrial” in La Plata, the “Escuela de Arquitectura y Urbanismo de la Universidad del Litoral” and at the University of Buenos Aires.


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Edificio Los Eucaliptus / Jorge Ferrari Hardoy + Juan Kurchan


His Architectural firm, Austral developed pioneering projects, discussed the relevant aspects of contemporary architecture, and participated in exhibitions, competitions and conferences. Moreover, the group members were actively seeking international exposure; they exchanged ideas with architects from other countries and published the magazine “Nosotros”. In addition, Austral organized cultural events and included painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, doctors, sociologists and educators in their work.



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image via The Modern View – Weinbaum


Starting in 1937 the office had been charged with the planning works for a university town on the site of the old port of Buenos Aires, residential buildings in the southern part of the city as well as the construction of hospitals, sports facilities and schools along the central avenue Corrientes. At all their works, Ferrari-Hardoy promoted the use of composable industrial elements and employed curved glass panels and sun visors, as evidenced by the “Ateliers” (1938) at the corner Suipacha and Paraguay. Together with Juan Kurchan he developed from 1941 to 1944 a residential complex in the district of Belgrano. The building became quickly popular because of its implanted tree inside the patio.  The Modern View _ Weinbaum


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Colorful Marimekko KIVET fabric adorns these cheerful butterflies. Don’t you just love the way they stand out against the colors in the landscape?
by Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture http://bit.ly/1DDPB0C



The BKF chair is a modern update of the Paragon chair which was first made for use as campaign furniture in the 1870s. A later version of the design was known as the Tripolina chair, a portable chair introduced in the early 20th century. Jorge Ferrari Hardoy along with Antonio Bonet and Juan Kurchan developed the BKF in 1938 for an apartment building they designed in Buenos Aires. On July 24, 1940, the chair was shown at the 3rd Salon de Artistas Decoradores exhibition where it was discovered by the Museum of Modern Art. At the request of MoMA design director Edgar Kaufmann Jr., Hardoy sent 3 pre-production chairs to New York. One is in the MoMA collection and one is at the Frank Lloyd Wright house Fallingwater, but no one knows where the third chair went. Naming the BKF as one of the “best efforts of modern chair design,” Kaufmann accurately predicted that it would become extremely popular in the US.  Wikipedia



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Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy butterfly chair from Stella Harasek’s home. http://bit.ly/1CtxhG1



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Found on houseandhome.com



Bored with the monotony of suburbia? So was Harry Seidler when he arrived from America in 1948.
The potential of the Australian landscape fascinated him, but our boxy homes did not. As a result he embraced a modernist philosophy to create this liveable, functional sculptural home for his parents Rose and Max. However, their Viennese furniture was all but banned from the house by Seidler who favoured features such as open-plan living spaces, minimal colour schemes and built in wardrobes. Thanks to Harry they all made their Australian debuts here.



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The mural at Rose Seidler House (designed by Harry Seidler) sundeck and reproduction Hardoy chairs. Photographer: Justin Mackintosh

The Rose Seidler House was designed by Harry Seidler for his parents, Max and Rose, and is located in Wahroonga, on the outskirts of Sydney. Built in the late 1940s, it was his first Australian commission. It is a minimalist, open-plan design with all the modern conveniences of the day. Found on blog.selector.com

Appreciated by connoisseurs, hipsters and students alike, the butterfly also presaged the disposable-furniture onslaught a half-century later. “It appeared at a moment when there was such a demand for cheap furniture, but furniture that identified with a new aesthetic,” Kinchin says. “You’ve got this burst of color and fun really coming into midcentury modern interiors.” Today MoMA holds a Hardoy in its permanent collection, and Walmart sells one for $39. Somehow it all makes sense.“It’s so minimal,” Dror Benshetrit, designer of the well-regarded Peacock Chair, says of its high-low appeal. “It’s so effortless.”  By HILARY GREENBAUM and DANA RUBINSTEIN  NYTimes Magazine 2012


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Jorge Ferrari Hardoy-Butterfly
W82 x D85 x H96 cm
Manufactured by Knoll International of USA,
designed by Jorge Ferrari Hardoy, 1938.


An example of some of the chairs other monikers: the B.K.F. Chair, Hardoy Chair, Butterfly Chair, Safari Chair, Sling Chair, or Wing ChairAn estimated 5 million of these chairs were produced during the 1950′s by numerous manufacturers under various names.The tubular steel frame was enamelled and the sling seat was leather. http://bebob.eu/en/designer/hardoy-ferrari/

The B.K.F. chair,  patented in 1877, was originally mass-produced by Artek-Pascoe. In 1945 Knoll took over production and it was a tremendous success. Unlicensed knock-offs and the loss of a Knoll copyright suit have made this one of the most copied chairs of modern design and it became one of the most widely copied chairs in existence. http://bebob.eu/en/designer/hardoy-ferrari/



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Life of and Architect



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Found on m.cb2.com
1938 bergama butterfly chair
on the wings of a classic. Bright new angles pop modern in a graphic twist on the 1938 Hardoy Chair, aka the “Butterfly.” Envisioned by Brooklyn-based designer Aelfie Oudghiri as a Turkish kilim, the handwoven flatweave dhurrie is inspired by the colorful coastal scene of American beach towns. Aqua, sour apple and white geometric forms radiate bold on a sunny orange backdrop, reflecting the iconic seascape dotted with ice cream shops, hot dog stands and surfers. Hand-whipstitched edge to edge in sour apple on a substantial tubular iron frame antiqued light zinc.


We attempt to convey accurate information and credit to those whose images or research we have shared. If we have erred, please let us know, and we will correct any mistakes.


Architects and Their Chairs “E”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On August 22nd

                        “E” is for Eiermann

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Egon Eiermann 1948

Egon Eiermann (September 29, 1904 – July 20, 1970) was one of Germany’s most prominent architects in the second half of the 20th century.

A functionalist, his major works include: the textile mill at Blumberg (1951); the West German pavilion at the Brussels World Exhibition (with Sep Ruf, 1958); the West German embassy in Washington, D.C. (1958–1964); a building for the German Parliament (Bundestag) in Bonn (1965–1969); the IBM-Germany Headquarters in Stuttgart (1967–1972); and, the Olivetti building in Frankfurt (1968–1972). By far his most famous work is the new church on the site of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin (1959–1963). Wikipedia

His wide variety of buildings have been admired for their elegant proportions, precise detail, and structural clarity. Following are a few examples of his architectural point of view.


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Deutscher Pavillon, Egon Eiermann, 1958
Image via THE-ARQ-M tumblr



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A staircase detail from an apartment building on Bartningallee 2–4, Wohnhaus, Berlin. Designed by von Egon Eiermann in 1961/1962. / Behance
via Tumblr



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Among the obligatory stops in a visit to Berlin is the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Considered a symbol and link between the wartime destruction and the rebirth of the city, it is visited by millions of tourists, even though few remember the name of its architect, Egon Eiermann (1904-70). He was one of the leaders of German modernism who is being rediscovered and celebrated by the Bauhaus.
image via http://egoneiermann.tumblr.com/


                   The Legacy of Chairs

 Egon Eiermann also designed furniture and interiors for some of his buildings.

Eiermann’s most successful furniture design was the “E 10″ basket chair (1954), whose prototype was designed back in 1948 for “Wie wohnen”, an exhibition in Karlsruhe. Equally popular was the “SE 18″ folding chair Egon Eiermann designed for Wilde & Spieth in Esslingen.

Egon Eiermann is next to Eileen Gray, Charles Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Arne Jacobsen, Marcel Breuer one of the most famous Bauhaus architects and designers of the Bauhaus era.


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1949 Egon Eierman Chair Model SE 42



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obiblanche: Davore`s Egon Eiermann collection.
My flatmate Davor thought about to buy 2 nice vintage Eiermann chairs for our kitchen, now he has 30 red/orange and 25 black ones.



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Egon Eiermann folding chairs via http://tootasinfoot.blogspot.com/2012/01/egon-eiermann.html



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Folding Chair by Egon Eiermann at 1stdibs


I hope you enjoyed your brief introduction to the work of Egon Eiermann, please leave a comment if you are so inclined. If I have neglected to give accurate credit for any image or quote, please let me know and I will rectify the omission.

Architects and Their Chairs “D”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On July 14th

         “D” is for Deganello


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Paolo Deganello via Interiors – Culture dell’Abitare

“Nowadays, designers have to go against the market, they have to head in an ecologically sustainable direction. They have to be brave enough to bite the hand that feeds them,” Paolo Deganello declares decisively.

Paolo Deganello was born in Este (Padua) in 1940. After graduating with honours from the Faculty of Architecture in Florence in 1966, he opened the studio Arquitectura Radical Archizoom Associati that same year, along with Andrea Branzi, Gilberto Corretti and Massimo Morozzi. He worked at the studio until it disbanded in 1972. He then began freelancing in Milan, which he still does today, combining his architectural and design projects with teaching positions. Since 2006, he teaches at ESAD in Matosiñho (Oporto) and since 2008 at the Architecture Faculty in Alghero (Italy).
His work is featured in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Design Museum (London), the Museum of Modern Art (Toyama, Japan), the Denver Museum (Denver, USA), the Vitra Design Museum (Weil am Rhein, Germany), the Museo do Design of the Cultural Centre of Belem (Lisbon) and the Museo del Design della Triennale in Milan.  via  experimenta magazine


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A pair of “Torso” high back sculptural chairs redone in silver Pewter leather designed by Paolo Deganello for Cassina in 1982. Visually interesting and comfortable.



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Paolo Deganello Regina chairs for Zanotta Italy 1991
Designer: Paolo Deganello
Provenance: Italy
Material: Leather & Cowskin



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mies’ chaise longue, 1969.
design archizoom .manufactured by poltronova.
courtesy paolo deganello



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Playful 80’s Italian sofa with serious style. Seat in leather and back upholstered in a specially-commissioned Jack Lenor Larsen material entitled “La Madre” (“The Mother”). From Deganello’s “Torso” series for Cassina. 1stdibs


                                                   AEO 1973

“When Paolo Deganello, cofounder of the Archizoom group from Florence, Italy, presented the “AEO” chair in 1973, it attracted great attention. The chair is undeniably comfortable, but opinions differ on its unusual appearance. One side regards it as a caricature of the robust television chair, the other as an icon of a new functional aesthetic.   Deganello does not comply with a particular aesthetic convention but instead sets the different qualities off against each other.”  Vitra Design Museum


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Vitra Design Museum
Design: 1973
Production: 1973 to the present
Manufacturer: Cassina


 “We need to turn design inside out, like a glove”

Paolo Deganello  06/30/2010

Based on his participation in the seminar Less is Next held on World Food Day, Paolo Deganello uses the crisis as a starting point to reflect upon the kind of role architects and designers should play in organising a fairer professional practice, rooted in the defence of new, ethical values.

He goes on to say, “now that we are faced with economic crisis and the ever more dramatic destruction of the planet’s resources. My proposal, which I had already been advocating for some years, was that we must change all our schools of design into schools of socially responsible and/or sustainable design.”

from Experimenta Magazine Spain

learn more from Paolo Deganello, watch the video My Radical Project Architecture and Eco Design

Architects and Their Chairs “C”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On June 10th

        C is for Castiglioni



 “Start from scratch. Stick to common sense. Know your goals and means”.

Achille Castiglioni (February 26, 1918 – December 2, 2002) was a renowned Italian industrial designer. He was often inspired by everyday things and made use of ordinary materials.He preferred to use a minimal amount of materials to create forms with maximal effect.

Achille Castiglioni was born in Milan and studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano University and set up a design office in 1944 with his brothers, Livioioni Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. In 1956, Castiglioni founded the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (Association for Industrial Design, ADI). Castiglioni taught for many years, first at the Politecnico di Torino, and in 1969 he led a class in Industrial Design at the Politecnico di Milano.

MoMA’s permanent collection in New York hosts 14 of his works. Other works may be found in the following museums: Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Kunstgewerbe Museum in Zurich, Staatliches Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Munich, Design Museum in Prato, Uneleckoprumyslove Museum in Prague, Israel Museum in Jerusalem, The Denver Art Museum, Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Angewandte Kunst Museum in Hamburg and Koln




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Sanluca, designed in 1960 by Achille and Pier Giacomo, is a modern take on the traditional lounge chair – See more at: http://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/three-best-italian-lounge-chairs



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Achille Castiglioni . sancarlo, for Tacchini



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Achille Castiglioni, Sella telephone stool, 1957, for Zanotta (designed with Pier Giacomo Castiglioni).



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1980’s ‘vintage’ Leonardo table, Achille Castiglioni Architectural trestle work table
Pin by Ryan Tam on Tables | Pinterest



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the achille castiglioni effect



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The famous Arco Floor Lamp with its elegant marble base was designed in 1962 by Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for the Italian manufacturer Flos.



Design is one of the highest expressions of twentieth-century creativity, and Achille Castiglioni is one of its greatest masters. His objects stand as clear examples of rigorous method, technical skill, exuberant talent, and wit, combined to achieve a beauty that is fulfilling on both a rational and an emotional level. His work exemplifies the ideal of good design.

With his functional and purist yet playful objects, Castiglioni has shown that form and function, while certainly the main ingredients for successful design, cannot be a designer’s only concerns. He has thus contributed invaluably to updating modernist design to contemporary modern.

Paola Antonelli
Associate Curator
Department of Architecture and Design

Excerpt from MOMA exhibition


Overview of all products by designer Achille Castiglioni


We apologize if we have failed to credit a quote or an image to the correct source. Please let us know and we will correct the error.


Architects and Their Chairs “B”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On May 12th

     B is For Breuer

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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


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B 34 1928 via http://www.loeffler.de.com/de/sammlung


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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




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Plywood Chair



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Lounge Chair



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”.



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jvworks: St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota



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[Marcel Breuer’s 1969 Armstrong (aka Pirelli) Building, pre-IKEA
Image and story http://archidose.blogspot.com/2008/08/ikea-1-breuer-12.html


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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 ),

  • Ameritrust Tower (Cleveland, his only skyscraper)

Complete list: http://www.marcelbreuer.org/Works.html



We try to give credit for all information and images, but if there is an error please notify us and we will correct it.

Architects and Their Chairs “A”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On April 14th

          A is for Aulenti

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Gae Aulenti 1927-1912

We begin this retrospective with Gae Aulenti (December 4, 1927 – October 31, 2012) an Italian architect, lighting and interior designer, and industrial designer. She was well known for several large-scale museum projects, including Musée d’Orsay in Paris (1980–86), the Contemporary Art Gallery at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985–86), and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (2000–2003). Information via Wikipedia

Quote: “advice to whoever asks me how to make a home is to not have anything, just a few shelves for books, some pillows to sit on. And then, to take a stand against the ephemeral, against passing trends…and to return to lasting values.”


                        Sparsal Rocking Chair 1962

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Gae Aulenti Italian Architect , Industrial Designer
Sparsul Rocking Chair 1962




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Gae Aulenti Italian Architect and Industrial Designer



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tavolo con ruote



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Tour Table by Gae Aulenti
Available through: www.mintshop.co.uk
Pic: www.moggit.com


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Architect and Industrial Designer at Home
Gae Aulenti



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Architect and Industrial Designer at Home
Gae Aulenti


Ms. Aulenti was one of the few Italian women to rise to prominence in architecture and design in the postwar years. Her work includes villas for the rich, showrooms for Fiat, shops for Olivetti, pens and watches for Louis Vuitton, and a coffee table on wheels that is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“I’ve always worked for myself, and it’s been quite an education. Women in architecture must not think of themselves as a minority, because the minute you do, you become paralyzed. It is most important to never create the problem.” Gae Aulenti


An Architect Reflects From Across The Pond

Posted by Meto Mihaylov On March 17th

I am pleased to introduce my guest this month, Meto Mihaylov, Architect · Basel, Switzerland ·  Meto spent Christmas with our family in 2006 when he attended Westtown School in Pennsylvania, with my son Joshua.  Lo and behold, we recently connected again (thank you Facebook), and my charming Bulgarian friend is now an architect!  So naturally I queried….


Q:  What led you to become an architect, your favorite architect/s?  Did your time living in the U.S. influence you in any way?


A:  My name is Meto. I come from Bulgaria. I have lived and studied in high school for one year in the USA. After this I studied architecture at a University in Denmark and now work as an architect in Switzerland.

In my culture it is normal to pick a profession at a very early age. I was a little kid when I saw the ancient city of Plovdiv for the first time. I fell in love with its old buildings and with its atmosphere, and decided that I wanted to become an architect.


Untitled An Architect Reflects From Across The Pond


NYC made the biggest impression on me when I was in the USA and solidified my intention to study and do buildings. Please visit this city at least once in your life if you can.

At University I learned more and more about the contemporary work of the 20th and 21st century. It is scary to see how Professors in Europe teach architectural theory no different than religion is taught in a religion class. “Le Corbusier is God, and if you question any of what I tell you- you are dumb”. I like it when people question things and point out defects in buildings. This is a constructive way to work and achieve better results. Architects must not be the ones who judge architecture because they are too immersed into it and lose the objectivity. We do not build for architects- we build for people, for children, for shopping, for doctors etc. I like to ask friends and family to give me their opinion on my buildings during the design process, because their view tends to be much more objective, human, and overall better than when I ask my colleagues.

My list of professional influences reflects my worldview. There are certain architects whom I like, but I always try to be fair and see the pros and cons in their work. I do not believe in unconditionally worshiping an architect like I see many architect friends do. The character of a person, in architecture, always shows up in the work, so I like to study architects also as individuals, in order to understand their thought process better.

I like the organic form of Oscar Niemeyer but even more I like his overall organic approach to life. The houses of John Lautner have a similar effect- a completely revised space which makes life better. He was also very good at sustainable budget houses, not only the houses for the rich, like the one in the movie “The big Lebowski”. When it comes to the ever-present-for-good-or-bad field of Modernism, I find Paul Rudolph to be the one who really cracked the code of the modern form and proportion, overcoming the haunting sterility of modernist structures.


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Lautner An Architect Reflects From Across The Pond


I recently had the good fortune to hear SeARCH’s Bjarne Mastenbroek present his way of seeing things and I found a lot of common ground with him. He works in the real world, where he has a budget amidst a financial crisis, and has to build residential buildings and schools in Holland two times cheaper and three times better than twenty years ago. When you manage to do something like this, you are truly creative and innovative, and a real architect, unlike someone like Zaha Hadid, who gives someone sketches of an unknown spaceship, budget- unknown, energy requirements for building it and after- unknown, building time- unknown, “oh, and by the way- I designed it but you have to build it yourself, because I can’t”. So, back to Mastenbroek, and I will leave you with him. He will build the first passive hotel in the ski resort of St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps, where, until now, only the richest of the rich built the most unsustainable, most expensive villas possible (Norman Foster built his own house there). Mastenbroek made a research and he will heat the hotel with 60 cows, which in winter will produce more heat just in staying inside glass rooms, than a radiator or floor heating. No cars allowed, you will have to reach the place on a dog sled. The sloping roof will be a part of the ski slope. The Swiss government, based in the capital city of Bern, is going to discuss changing the law of the Canton (State) of Graubünden in 2014, so that the crazy Dutchman can do the cow hotel. Keep an eye out, you will see it happen soon.


SeArCH An Architect Reflects From Across The Pond


Be careful with architects. I can tell you that this industry often makes people extremely selfish and gives them a mania for fame. They stop wanting to make the world a better place and start wanting only attention. Please do not trust that single persons create buildings just because the media find it much easier to give you a single name. Even Mastenbroek cannot complete a house alone. Buildings are done by dozens of people and it is real teamwork that brings about a great result in the form of a built structure. Thank you for reading this and look for the architecture that makes a true innovation.


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Architect Meto Mihaylov
Zentrum Paul Klee (by Renzo Piano) — in Bern, Switzerland.
Paradigm Gallery’s photo.





Vote: Architectural Curves or Right Angles

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On February 18th


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National Congress of Brazil Oscar Niemeyer Architect via escuyer.tumblr.comvia


Oscar Niemeyer was one of the most important architects of the 20th century and he did not like angles. “Right angles don’t attract me. Nor straight, hard and inflexible lines created by man,” he wrote in his 1998 memoir The Curves of Time. ” I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman. Curves make up the entire universe, the curved universe of Einstein.” via theaustrailian.com.au and gizmodo  *great Niemeyer architecture images

Was he ahead of his time, anticipating the direction of architecture?


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People are far more likely to call a room beautiful when its design is round instead of linear. What about architecture, curves versus angles? The reason may be hard-wired into the brain. There have been recent studies by neuroscientists that conclude, “Curvature appears to affect our feelings, which in turn could drive our preference.” It’s also critical to point out that just because people have a natural neural affinity for curves doesn’t mean round design is always superior. If researchers asked people to rate architecture based on functionality instead of beauty, for instance, they might get different results.

CoDesign, in their post Why Our Brains Love Curvy Architecture shared: When the great architect Philip Johnson first visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, he started to cry. “Architecture is not about words. It’s about tears,” Johnson reportedly said. Something about the museum’s majestic curves moved him at an emotional level.


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Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Architect Frank Gehry
image via scarflove.tumblr.com


Curves are making big statements on skylines around the world from the exquisite (in my humble opinion) Guggenheim Bilbao to London’s “Gherkin” ,  the “Marilyn Monroe” Towers in Ontario, many of Zaha Hadid’s Designs, Calatrava, and the Apple Campus 2 — its massive new headquarters designed by starchitect Norman Foster.


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The Gherkin, Architect Norman Foster
Curved buildings can point to nature, whereas angular buildings contrast with it
Paul Silvia, assistant professor of psychology


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Monroe Curves, Absolute Towers by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects


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Calatrava via voguevoyager.tumblr.com



Curved or angular, do you have a preference?

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Some of the rooms had a round style like this
Courtesy Oshin Vartanian via CNN

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Others had a rectilinear form, like this
Courtesy Oshin Vartanian via CNN


In short, what we learned from our research and fastco.design’s work, “Time and again, when people are asked to choose between an object that’s linear and one that’s curved, they prefer the latter. That goes for watches with circular faces, letters rendered in a curly font, couches with smooth cushions–even dental floss with round packaging.

Mid-Century Modern Lighting for Every Style

Posted by Charu Gureja On January 23rd

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!


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