Italian Design

In Italy, everything is design, everything, everywhere.  Companies takes pride in their craft and style.  Take for example the design of an item as simple as this industrial baking oven.

Designed by Cesar Arroyo for Mondial Forni in Italy.

Brazilian Modernist Design

The Bienal Brasileira de Design in Curitiba Brazil has an interesting exhibit on Brazilian mid century modern design.  The yellow microcar and the yellow phone booth are by far our favorites.

This exhibit retrieves the history of the first design biennials organized in Brazil. In Rio, the International Design Biennial had three editions, in 1968, 1970 and 1972, which were organized by the Industrial Design Institute (IDI). They used the wonderfully beautiful building of the Modern Art Museum, which had just been inaugurated, and made clear what potential design had in a developing country.

In Curitiba, Professor Ivens Fontoura headed two editions of the Brazilian Design Biennial, in 1990 and 1992. Using a reference system that ensured the participation of the whole national design community in the selection of works to be exhibited, these editions presented a diversified panorama of design in many areas of specialty. All the works exhibited had excellent repercussion among public and critics and contributed to disseminating a design culture in our country.

Bau Lamp by Normann Copenhagen

More images of the Piet Mondrian styled Normann Copenhagen Bau Lamp. 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. This lamp ships flat packed, assembly required.

Italian Table Lamp

Cobra Table Lamp by Elio Martinelli

One of the most iconic lamps ever created, the Cobra lamp designed by Elio Martinelli in 1968. The Cobra lamp is a table lamp with a real futuristic look. It is a very functional table lamp with a swiveling upper arm which allows for 360 degree rotation. Elio Martinelli's Cobra lamp is considered to be a masterpiece of mid century modern Italian design. This space age table lamp displays the exemplary design talent of the Italian designer Elio Martinelli. This attractive modern table light is the ultimate modern icon. Always stylish, effortlessly elegant and uniquely beautiful, the Cobra lamp is a modern classic that evokes a minimal and refined atmosphere. The Cobra lamp is a modernist light vessel to be treasured forever. Its gracious rounded curves and organic shape make it an easy choice for any modern interior.

Cobra Table Lamp by Elio Martinelli

Mirrored Cabinet

Mirrored Sideboard Cabinet by Tonelli

Mirrored Sideboard Cabinet by Tonelli Detail

Mirror mirror on the wall: Tonelli Psiche mirrored wall-mounted high sideboard. Truly stunning and luxurious with reflecting mirrored glass panels. Simply incredible! Psiche is a sideboard that reflects and modifies unexpectedly its surroundings, thanks to its doors, top and sides! Each multi-angled piece of glass allows natural light to cast beautiful reflections around the room. Produced with concave and convex panels covered with mirrors. Available with either gold mirrored glass, mirrored glass or white lacquered glass.

Mirrored Sideboard Cabinet by Tonelli

This very attractive modern sideboard was designed by Giovanni Tommaso Garattoni for Tonelli in Italy. Looks perfect in bedrooms and living areas. Matches the other items in the dazzling range of multi-facet mirrored Tonelli Psiche furniture line.

Mirrored Sideboard Cabinet by Tonelli

Round Wall Mirror Tonelli

Isao Hosoe Shiki Revolving Round Wall Mirror

This functional round wall mirror was designed by the Japanese designer Isao Hosoe for Tonelli. This stylish mirror has two concentric circles. The outer circle fluidly spins 360° around the inner fixed circle with a gently push, thanks to a patented revolving mechanism hidden from view. This is one of the most beautiful modern mirrors we have ever seen. Tonelli's Shiki mirror will add style and elegance to any room.

Tonelli Shiki Mirror available from nova68

Close Encounters

i am space - space is i

Art meets Fashion

And perhaps the most beautiful spaced out rendition of Ave Maria you have ever heard:

Manolo Valdés Butterflies

We absolutely love the sculptures by Manolo Valdés.  The Butterflies sculpture by Manolo Valdés. Butterflies is part of the Beyond Limits sculpture sale organized by Sotheby's at Chatsworth in the UK (the exhibition is about to close on October 31st 2010 so if you have a couple of millions to invest, this is your chance). Note that we use the worth "invest" since we are pretty sure that in the 21st century the sculptures by Manolo Valdés will certainly command the same prices as the sculptures by Henry Moore. The present work by Manolo Valdés is Butterflies which he conceived in 2010 and which is a unique piece. It is an impressive and large sculpture, perhaps not suitable for the average apartment in London or NYC: it measures an astonishing 4.6 by 9.5 x 5 meters. It was partly inspired by a Henri Matisse painting; the elegant countenance, distinguished only by the brow and line of the nose, bears the influence of the Fauve's early portraits such as Woman with a Hat.

Manolo Valdés "Butterflies" detail

But Butterflies was also the fruit of happenstance, as Manolo Valdés has explained: 'one day, while strolling in Central Park, I saw a group of butterflies that had landed on top of a sculpture and the idea of the headpiece was born.'

Manolo Valdés "Butterflies"

The beguiling headdress imbues the sculpture with a sense of movement and weightlessness, its solid forms dissipating into the surrounding space. At once monumental and accessible, patent yet enigmatic.  Butterflies, cast in shimmering aluminium, is characterised by a unique approach to volume and materiality that has become the defining quality of Manolo Valdés' large-scale sculptures and accounts entirely for their powerful, mesmerising presence.

Manolo Valdés "Butterflies"

Architecture by Gerrit Rietveld

After a major restoration, the Gerrit Rietveld Pavilion in the sculpture garden of the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands is accessible to the public again.

Gerrit Rietveld (1884-1964) designed the pavilion for the display of small sculptures at the Third International Sculpture Exhibition in Arnhem’s Sonsbeek Park in 1955. This ‘Sonsbeek Pavilion’ was intended as a temporary structure, and it was dismantled when the exhibition was over. On the initiative of several Dutch architects, the building found a permanent home in the Kröller-Müller Museum’s sculpture garden, under a new name: the ‘Rietveld Pavilion’.

From the very outset, the maintenance of the Rietveld Pavilion was a constant source of concern. Every conceivable method was considered and tried, from conservation and restoration to copying and replacing parts of the building, but it eventually became clear that the structure was beyond saving.
The 1965 pavilion has now been disassembled. Today, in 2010, the museum has rebuild the structure with new materials, while adhering as closely as possible to Gerrit Rietveld’s original design. Wherever possible, parts of the 1965 pavilion that were still in adequate condition have been reused. Construction work began in January 2010 and finished in September of this year. The new, third version of the pavilion now stands in the museum’s sculpture garden, preserving Rietveld’s world-famous design for the future. The pavilion is the property of the Government Buildings Agency (GBA) of the State of the Netherlands, which, as its owner, is responsible for its maintenance. The GBA was also overseeing the restoration project on behalf of the Kröller-Müller Museum.

To coincide with the opening of the reconstructed pavilion, a small presentation is on display in the museum’s old wing, with archive material on the pavilion and several pieces of furniture made by Rietveld from the museum’s collection. The current State Architect Liesbeth van der Pol B Sc commissioned a documentary to be made on the realization of this version of the Rietveld Pavilion. This documentary by Pieter Kiewiet de Jonge, entitled ‘According to Rietveld - the reconstruction of the Rietveld Pavilion’, is ca. 40 minutes long and is also showing in the museum.

NB: the exhibition Rietvelds Universum is on display from 21 October 2010 in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht.

Images taken by Hans Jan Dürr from durr-architect and Marjon Gemmeke.

Pictured is the Gerrit Rietveld Pavillion Sonsbeek Arnhem, Netherlands, designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1955, reconstructed in 1965 in Otterlo Netherlands.

This modernist open structure was designed in 1955 for Sonsbeek Park in Arnheim for the exhibition of small sculptures. In 1965 it was rebuilt in the sculpture garden of the Kröller-Müller Museum on a site Rietveld himself selected. This building has the simplicity and geometric qualities characteristic of De Stijl architecture. Around a central space (12 by 12 meters) Rietveld arranged three corridor-like open galleries. The materials of the construction are clearly evident: concrete block brick, glass, and metal beams. Not only is the transition easy within the structure, but the open structure suggests a relationship between nature and the built environment.

Kröller-Müller Museum

Forgotten Modernist Architecture

Chances are you know Belgium for its fashion, waffles, diamond cutters and the Atomium from Expo 58.  But this amazing collection of photographs by Dutch photographer Klaas Vermaas shows a truly dazzling collection of true modern architectural gems, some of them semi- or completely abandoned, forgotten, overgrown and in total disrepair.  I am sure we have all dreamed of stumbling on a totally forgotten hidden masterpiece; well Belgium (and the Netherlands) seem to be the place.  Browsing through this vast archive of fantastic modern buildings may make us move to rainy northern Europe after all.

Klaas Vermaas on Flickr

Robert Indiana's Love

Robert Indiana's Love, Red Faces Blue Sides available from the Coskun Fine Art gallery in London.

Coskun Fine Art

Art by André Lhote

André Lhote "Untitled, Landscape in Green and Orange" not dated.

We love this modernist work by French artist André Lhote (1885-1962).

Art by Robert Bechtle

Alameda Gran Torino painted by Robert Bechtle in 1974.  Collection SFMOMA.

Art by Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud's Flatland River painting executed in 1997.
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase through a gift of Phyllis Wattis
© Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA, New York 98.27

Art by Torsten Jovinge

Torsten Jovinge's "View over the Vasa bridge" 1933

If you like modern art and you fancy the Sacramento River Delta paintings by Wayne Thiebaud, you should do a google search for the Swedish artist Torsten Jovinge, an almost forgotten master of modern art, with an incredible talent that often matched or surpassed the work by Gino Severini, Giorgio de Chirico and Georges Braque in our opinion. Torsten Jovinge was Sweden's foremost arbiter of taste in the early 20th century but after his tragic death at the age of 38, he was simply forgotten by the international art scene, a tragedy in its own way. Torsten Jovinge's modernist works display such a wonderful color composition.  Take for example "View over the Vasa bridge" (above) which he painted in 1933.  Truly amazing.  Unfortunately Torsten Jovinge's career came to a dramatic end when he was fatally stabbed in Seville Spain at the early age of 38 years. It appears to be a mystery what exactly happened to him in Seville in 1936. Since his last works date to 1936 his works are limited and true collectors pieces, although he remains largely unknown to the art world outside Scandinavia, which is another mystery to us (MoMA and SFMoMA, I am sure you reading this post so please give this guy the recognition he deserves).

Torsten Jovinge's "Kvarted Bergsund" 1931

Torsten Jovinge's "Stadshuset från Centralpalatset" 1933

Torsten Jovinge's "Cannes sur Mer" 1927

Torsten Jovinge's "Kvarteret Marmorn" 1933

Image Credits: Bukowskis, Stockholms Auktionsverk, Wikimedia