Art by Enrico Castellani

Sure, you were hanging out with Andy at the Factory back in the day. But did you ever shake hands with the king of Italian cool in the late 1960s? Enrico Castellani was one of the most intriguing artists during this period: do a search on google and you certainly will be amazed. Simply wonderful. Superficie Bianca for example is simply wonderful: peaceful, serene and super cool. Executed by Enrico Castellani in 1968, at the height of the Italian modernist space age movement.

Art by Lucio Fontana

Lucio Fontana
Concetto Spaziale, Attese
Estimate 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 GBP

signed, titled and inscribed on the reverse
Con questa pioggia é impossibile lavorare - W il sole

The above work will be offered through Sotheby's in London on October 15th 2010.

"The discovery of the Cosmos is that of a new dimension, it is the Infinite: thus I pierce this canvas, which is the basis of all arts and I have created an infinite dimension, an x which for me is the basis for all Contemporary Art"

Lucio Fontana's stunning Concetto Spaziale, Attese from 1965 is an impressive
example from the artist's celebrated Tagli series. Its scale and presence and the sharp
contrast of the silken white surface with the blackness of the eight diagonally curving
black slashes epitomises Erika Billeter's statement that: "Lucio Fontana... challenges
the history of painting. With one bold stroke he pierces the canvas and tears it to
shreds. Through this action he declares before the entire world that the canvas is no
longer a pictorial vehicle and asserts that easel painting, a constant in art heretofore, is called into question. Implied in this gesture is both the termination of a five-hundred year evolution in Western painting and a new beginning, for destruction carries innovation in its wake"

Art by Lucio Fontana

Architecture in Florida

Nice minimal modern architecture complete with ultra modern furniture in Casey Key, Florida. We don't have any idea who the architect is. The yellow fiberglass chair is the Albatros chair. It was designed in the late 1960's by Danielle Quarante for Airborne in France. Beautiful curves, beautiful Space Age design.  The sleek minimal chairs and table in the living room were designed by French designer Jacques Charpentier in 1970.

Photo Credit Richard Powers

Chair by Hans Wegner

The CH24 Wishbone chair was designed by the Danish designer Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen. We love this bright and happy orange color with matches well with the natural papercord seat. The legendary Hans Wegner Wishbone chair in an attractive warm orange hue. Hans Wegner designed the classic CH24 Wishbone Chair in 1949.

The Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair is a timeless chair that has graced dining tables around the world ever since. The Wishbone Chair continues to appeal to design aficionados of all ages. The Wishbone Chair is a light, sculptural dining chair whose steam-bent back allows a variety of comfortable sitting positions. Its materials and craftsmanship provide generations of lasting value and comfort.

The Wishbone Chair is a classic icon of mid century modern Scandinavian design. It also happens to be one of the most comfortable design chairs ever produced. A true modern furniture gem. The Wishbone Chair is a beautiful and functional arm chair that is truly timeless.

Hans Wegner Furniture by Carl Hansen

Block Lamp from Sweden

The Block Lamp was created by Harri Koskinen for Design House Stockholm. This spectacular table lamp is a classic! Each part of the block lamp is hand cast and it undergoes an extremely long cooling process to avoid cracking later on if exposed to strong temperature changes. The matt bulb shape is sand-blasted.

The Block Lamp was featured at the New York Museum of Modern Art and London's Victoria and Albert Museum. It has wun numerous awards including the Swedish Design Award and the Design Plus Ambiente Award.

Harri Koskinen Block Lamp

Part of the Museum of Modern Art New York collection since 2000, the unique design of the block lamp has been a favorite since its inception in 1996. Designed by Harri Koskinen, the lamp continues to be among Design House Stockholm's most popular products and has numerous design awards and accolades to its credit. Light up your home or office in style with the Scandinavian touch of the Block Lamp.

Each part of the block lamp is hand cast and undergoes an extremely long cooling process to avoid cracking later on if exposed to strong temperature changes. The matte bulb shape is sand-blasted.

Part of the collection, the premier modern lighting store specializing in Foscarini Italian lighting. We have the entire Foscarini lamp collection in stock and ready to ship including the Caboche lamp, Twiggy lamp and other Foscarini lamp designs. The modern Foscarini lighting collection was established in Venice Italy in 1981. Foscarini started out by exploring the opportunities offered by Murano glass. Over the years, Foscarini has expanded the range of materials used to include glass, polyethylene, wood and aluminum, as well as patented materials such as an exclusive textured glass and Kevlar (R) or carbon fiber composite. Designers that have created for Foscarini include Valerio Bottin, Aldo Cibic, Tom Dixon, Jozeph Forakis, James Irvine, Defne Koz, Atelier Oi, Karim Rashid, Marc Sadler, Patricia Urquiola among many others. The impressive modern lighting collection from Foscarini includes the Caboche lamp designed by Patricia Urquiola and Eliana Gerotto, the Twiggy lamp designed by Marc Sadler, the Big Bang lamp designed by Enrico Franzolini and Vicente Garcia Jimenes and the Havana light designed by Jozeph Forakis. All these modern design lamps are perfect for modern design interiors.

Harri Koskinen Block Lamp


Since its first publication in 1969, Pioneers of Modern Typography has been the standard guide to the avant-garde origins of modern graphic design and typography. In this essential reference, Herbert Spencer shows how new concepts in graphic design in the early decades of the twentieth century had their roots in the artistic movements of the time in painting, poetry, and architecture. Spencer examines the "heroic" period of modern design and typography, the beginning of which he traces to the publication in Le Figaro of the Italian artist Manetti's Futurist manifesto. He discusses the work of such "pioneers" as El Lissitzky, Alexander Rodchenko, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. He examines the artistic background of the new concepts in graphic design, and traces the influences of futurism, Dadaism, de Stijl, suprematism, constructivism, and the Bauhaus. His text is profusely illustrated with examples of the new typography, shown in genres that range from posters and magazine covers to Apollinaire's "figurative poetry."

Spencer was the editor of Typographica and a premiere type historian. This book is considered the best volume on Modern typography, and is now sadly out-of-print. Copies of this book are getting scarce: highly recommended.

Op Art 1963

We love Op Art and here are two interesting works in plexiglass by Leroy Lamis from 1963.  The one on top is titled "Construction 31".  Does that mean there are (at least) 30 more works like this out there? Wish we could find them all.

The work on top is available from the Loretta Howard Gallery.

Op Art 1972

Brim Two is a head spinning Op Art work by Polish-born Julian Stañczak from 1972.

Julian Stañczak studied with Josef Albers and Conrad Marca Relli at Yale University. Stañczak was the first of the ‘Op Artists’ to use undulating lines to create form and movement in his works. After earning his MFA in Painting from Yale in 1956, the artist exhibited his new Optical Paintings in 1964 in his first solo show at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, "Julian Staňczak: Optical Paintings"—followed by his inclusion with the British painter, Bridget Riley, and Hungarian Victor Vasarely—in the 1964 landmark international exhibition of the new art movement at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, entitled "The Responsive Eye". Julian Stañczak is known for by his use of repetitive imagery that vibrates across the picture plane. The artist currently lives and works in the Midwest, USA.

Julian Staňczak's work can be seen in museum collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Available from artnet

Here is another mind bending work of art by Julian Stañczak:

Image Credit Flickr

Landscaping Ideas

We just received this book and it is a real delight for any fan of mid century modern architecture and modern landscape design. When we think of the gardens of Southern California, we tend to think of the enormous semiarid landscapes of the Huntington and Rancho Los Alamitos, often built on the sprawling grounds of former ranches. But there is another garden tradition in Southern California: the modest, rectangular suburban plots designed by the most famous architects of mid-century modernism: Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Gregory Ain, Raphael Soriano, Harwell Hamilton Harris, A. Quincy Jones, and John Lautner. These architects saw the garden as an outdoor extension of the space of the houses they designed, rather than a neo-Spanish fantasy to be added later by a "landscapist." Their modern gardens made use of low-maintenance, drought-resistant plants, and made room for informal outdoor living by children and adults with an emphasis on recreation and exercise.

The first book of its kind, Private Landscapes profiles twenty significant gardens-and their accompanying houses-by these celebrated architects. Using contemporary photographs by Julius Shulman and newly commissioned color images, along with plans and plant lists, Private Landscapes provides a never-before-seen look at these gardens. As beautiful and practical now as they were 50 years ago, these designs continue to provide inspiration for gardeners and designers everywhere.

Written by Pamela Burton and Marie Botnick. Pamela Burton is a noted landscape architect in Los Angeles who has been instrumental in restoring several mid-century gardens in Southern California. Marie Botnick is an interior designer specializing in re-creating modernist interiors and responsible for restoring a major Richard Neutra residence in Los Angeles. She lives in Ojai, California.

The Gary Cooper House was designed by the mid century modern architect A. Quincy Jones in 1961.  This beautiful photograph shows the current garden with swimming pool.

And here is the same house from the sky by Google.

Private Landscapes
Modernist Gardens in Southern California

> Available from

Only in New York

This could only happen in New York during the 1980s (no need to panic, New York City has since cleaned up its sewers).

Crocodile by Helmut Newton

Minimal Architecture Orchard House

A minimalist modern masterpiece in Sonoma County created by

We love the sleek minimal Orchard House by Anderson Anderson Architecture.  An incredible modernist retreat set amidst the beautiful orchards in Sebastopol in Sonoma County, Northern California. An amazing icon of modern architecture.

The Kinmont-Hupert Orchard House is a highly site-specific, cast concrete construction, rationally pre-fabricated through the use of a limited set of repeated, modular formwork, and standardized SIPS sandwich panel and pre-fabricated truss framing components. This approach allows a high degree of adaptability to the landscape, while keeping construction costs to a minimum.

Sited within a mature apple orchard in Sonoma County, the house is built in conformity with the strict rectilinear geometry of the tree grid, and equally exploiting the secondary diagonal surprises particular to human motion through an agricultural field. The site was intensely studied for the individual particularities of each unique tree within the orchard field, and the house design then developed this same character of individual conditions within a predominantly regularized system. True to the character of the orchard, the house is laid out as long sequences of interior and exterior courtyards, defined by the adjacent trees, affording long, metered views along the rectilinear and diagonal axes of the field. The massive concrete walls align with the rows of tree trunks, while the open volumes of the rooms and exterior courts align with the open space between trees, affording a direct spatial continuity between house and landscape, figure and void.

The house is a low, single story volume, wheelchair accessible throughout, built with a minimal range of materials: heated concrete slabs, raw concrete primary walls inside and out, with secondary walls and ceiling clad in white drywall on the interior, with galvanized steel on the exterior. Minimal cabinetry and millwork is manufactured of raw Douglas Fir plywood. Windows are fabricated, galvanized steel. The flat roof of the house is low, and kept well below the top limbs of the orchard.

Wave Floor Rug by Missoni

We absolutely love the free-flowing modernist wave pattern on the beautiful Kalahari rug by the Italian fashion house Missioni.  Beautiful well-matched colors too.  Reminds us of the creations by Victor Vasarely, Verner Panton and even perhaps the gentle Brazilian curves of the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

Annette Chu Architecture

The "Off-White House" was designed by Annette Chu of Chu Design Architects in Hong Kong. Annette studied architecture at Cambridge University and the Architectural Association, London. After obtaining her Diploma in 2003, she worked at MDMA in Brussels where she took part in various projects, including theatre, private houses and housing complexes. After studying and working in Europe for a decade, Annette returned to Hong Kong in 2007 and set up her design studio CHU Design. Through her practice, she continues her interests in exploring another spatial narration and its effects on design language.

This project involved a complete renovation of a three-story house in Hong Kong. "Off" implies a departure from the familiar, creating something unfamiliar. The design seeks to search for a new spatial language that negotiates with the existing envelope which remains intact. It is expressed in white. White suggests the canvas, the backdrop. Timer wall panels form the center of the house - the client's study. Conceptually, it is a control box. It is also the hub where all the audio and visual display are generated and transmitted.

Solid acrylic rods are used to form the walls of the study, letting light into the study. When in operation, lights are emitted from inside. The solid acrylic rods create multiple distorted views, resulting in privacy as well as mystery. The timber core unwraps and extends upwards into the master bedroom hallway, and downwards to the floor below to form the slightly inclined ceiling in the living room.  What really caught our attention are the beautiful white floors. The super minimal modern white floor was poured on site by Senso from the Netherlands.  A beautiful minimal white!

As part of the renovation project, the first move was to swap the dining area with the living area in order to maximize the most valuable view of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. The first prop was introduced: a revolving dining area to allow all guests to enjoy the view. The stage effect is further enhanced by a ceiling of acrylic profiles. Practically hiding the air grilles, this feature produces scenes of varying lighting conditions, from one small intimate suspended light, to an evenly distributed bright daylight environment.

The second prop was the free-standing staircase. It is installed with a sound system to form a 'big harp'. One touch by the client on the suspended wire of the harp will initiate a song. And only he knows where the trigger is. This idea of play further defines the other props, including the concealed service zone, painted in fuchsia, concealed behind a corrugated white wall, the hidden colorful bar and the mirror sliding shoes cabinet. Hence the "Off-White House" s not just above living, but also about staging pleasant surprises.

Normann Copenhagen Bau Lamp

Bau Pendant Light Fixture by Normann Copenhagen

Bau is one of the most beautiful pendant light fixture we have ever seen. It looks like a suspended sculptural work of art. Bau is a decorative pendant lamp that suits both minimalistic interiors and more daring modern houses.

Bau is a sculptural pendant lamp designed by the Danish designer Vibeke Fonnesberg Schmidt for Normann Copenhagen. The design is based on interlocking geometric circles, sticking out in all directions. The Bau lamp has an immediate pattern that is broken up by the discs' colors, sizes and off-center linkages. This lamp combines the primary colors in the manner of De Stijl and Piet Mondrian with geometric circular shapes. A unique and creative design inspired by the Bauhaus movement.  The round shapes also remind us of the Imperial Hotel design by Frank Lloyd Wright.  This lamp ships flat packed, assembly required.

Vibeke Fonnesberg Schmidt explains: "Decoration does not need to be restricted to objects you hang on the wall, but can also form an integral part of more functional objects, such as a table or a lamp. This creates new and exciting opportunities in furnishing. When you move your position in relation to Bau, the tight geometric lines are broken. The sort of experience I want people to have is to see the Bau lamp and wonder what it looks like from the other side. It must appeal to peoples' sense of curiosity."

The Bau lamp is available in two sizes.

Bau Pendant Light Fixture by Normann Copenhagen

Fashion Icon

Fashion icon Twiggy.

Outdoor Lounge Furniture

Modern outdoor lounge furniture by Gandia Blasco

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Image Credit: Stardust, Case da Abitare