Friday, February 26, 2010


Danish architect and designer Arne Vodder (1926 – 2009) is counted among the most influential Scandinavian mid-century designers. A student to famous furniture designer Finn Juhl, Vodder started designing furniture for Fritz Hansen and France & Son ans Sibast, the latter for which he designed a wide range of furniture which received worldwide recognition and success. His designs were nicely detailed and modest in their expression, almost without exception based on natural materials. Rosewood and teak - according to the fashion at the time - seem to have been the preferred materials, often combined with eye-catching colourful panels & draws. Today, Vodder is perhaps most appreciated for his beautiful rosewood and teak sideboards designed in the 1950-1960's and produced by Sibast Furniture. Pieces by Vodder can be regularly seen at high-end 20th century design auctions and dealers.

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Images: (click on images to enlarge)
Teak sideboard c1960s (top)
Rosewood Palisander leather sofa c1950s (2nd)
Rosewood Palisander, Chromed steel, Leather writing desk 20th century (3rd)
Rosewood sideboard 20th century (4th)
Teak Palette tray 20th century (bottom)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Architect, inventor and designer Jean Marie Massaud (1966 - ) has lent his creative genius to industrial giant Yamaha offshore, French national aerospace research body ONERA; luxury brands Armani and Baccarat and manufacturers including Cassina, Cappellini, MDF Italia, Poltrona Frau, Porro, B&B Italia, Arper and Glas Italia. He has been architect behind such projects Vulcano Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Tribeca Condominium Towers in New York. His constant aim is to combine intelligence with feeling, nature with culture, and to always ensure that it is the individual who occupies pride of place. His whole fundamental view is completely holistic. Massaud is represented at museums and exhibitions in cities across the world, from Chicago to Paris, from London to Amsterdam.

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images: (click on images to enlarge)
Manned Cloud cruise airship for French national aerospace research body ONERA (top)
Flow armchair for MDF Italia (2nd)
Terminal 1 daybed for B&B Italia (3rd)
Kennedee sofa for Poltrona Frau (4th)
Synapsis table for Porro (bottom)

Monday, February 22, 2010


Noted modern-day photographer Thomas Struth (1954 - ) is best known for his detailed cityscapes, Asian jungles and family portraits. His work contributed to establishing photography as a major medium in contemporary art, especially with his large-format color prints. Struth studied under Gerhard Richter and Bernd Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (1973-80), moving from painting to photography and thus becoming part of a new generation of photographers known as the ‘Becher School’. After beginning in 1976 with black-and-white studies of deserted streets, and bird's-eye views of cities such as Düsseldorf, Berlin, Paris, London, Chicago and New York, he turned to color, including peopled street scenes in the Far East. In these cityscapes, with clarity and formal precision, Struth investigates the relationship of individuals with public spaces as sites of a collective unconscious and daily urban existence. This interest in exploring social interaction also informs his ongoing portraits of friends and their families in their private environments. His series of visitors contemplating works of art in museums and religious sites reflect the acts of seeing and representation, and the way we relate to the past and position ourselves in the present. Since the 1990s Struth has also photographed flowers, deserts, and primeval forests as well. Struth’s work can be found at fine galleries and auction houses.

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images: (click on images to enlarge)
Waldstrasse auf dem Lindberg-Landscape Wintherthur 1992 (top)
Eleanor and Giles Robertson, Edinburgh 1987 (2nd)
South LaSalle Street (Chicago Board of Trade), Chicago 1992 (3rd)
Art Institute of Chicago II, Chicago 1990 (4th)
Overbucherstrasse 1985 (bottom)

Friday, February 19, 2010


The Italian painter, sculptor, craftsman, and decorator Piero Fornasetti (1913 – 1988) cultivated a highly original style throughout his career. Awe-struck by the past greatness of Italian art, Fornasetti developed an eclectic style, not confining himself, however, to the motifs of the Novecento style, which was inspired by Neo-Classicism. Instead Fornasetti also used Early Renaissance ornamental and pictorial motifs to decorate silk scarves, furniture, porcelain plates, vessels, and other similar objects. Fornasetti was also influenced by Surrealism and Pittura Metafisica (Italian for Metaphysic Painting). His signature was the woman's face he used to decorate the "Tema e Variazioni" series, which was that of operatic soprano Lina Cavalieri. Fornasetti later collaborated on numerous projects with design icon Gio Ponti: Ponti’s magazine, "Domus"; decorating a Casino in San Remo; the interiors of the magnificent transatlantic liner "Andrea Doria” and most notably joint ventured on the "Architettura" line of furniture designed by Ponti and decorated with architectural quotations by Fornasetti. Ponti and Fornasetti showcased this furniture line consisting of round tables decorated with trompe-l'oeil paintings of musical instruments or large suns at the 1951 Triennale. Fornasetti’s designs can be sourced through fine dealers and auction houses.

related links:

Tema e Variazioni plates (top)
Milan Cathedral folding screen (2nd)
Bibliotheca folding screen (3rd)
Sideboard by Gio Ponti edited by Fornasetti (4th)
Musical chair (bottom)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Vladimir Kagan (1927 - ) is one of today's most enduring designers of modern furniture with a career that has spanned more than sixty years. He started designing in 1946 and by the early Fifties his innovative sculptured designs created a new look in American furniture. Today, his sparkling creations are on the cutting edge of the 21st century. His designs are spearheading creative designs for hotels, furniture, textiles and home furnishings. The New York Times says: "Vladimir Kagan is one of the most important furniture designers of the 20th century. Furniture designed by him in the forties, fifties and sixties have become icons of Modernity and an obligatory reference to every designer. He is the creative grandfather of a whole new generation of designers. Kagan’s designs have consistently been collection favorites by serious and prestigious private and corporate clients for years. To his tribute Kagan has been the recipient of numerous achievement awards as well as being personality for retrospective exhibits. Refer to company portal for showrooms.

related links:

images: (click on images to enlarge)
Serpentine sofa (top)
Contour Low Back Lounge Chair (2nd)
Crescent Table Desk (3rd)
Swanback sofa (4th)
Cubist Double Pedestal Table (bottom)

Monday, February 15, 2010


Estel I 5 Sensi dell’Habitat is the name the company is known by since 2007 when the Office and Home sectors merged; that highlights the global concept of furniture for the company founded by Alfredo Stella in 1937 and combines the culture of furniture and design, the passion for materials, design and industrial talents. Their first commercial landmark in the 70’s was Estensibile Stella, a closet with sliding doors, the years to follow marked outstanding growth … the Office Project. Subsequently strategic corporate acquisitions ensued: in 2005: Frighetto, a company specialized in upholstery and living room furniture; Contin, a traditional cabinet-making shop established in 1924; in 2006 Deko Collezioni, a Parma-based company and leader in manufacturing armchairs and seats for auditoriums, convention centers, stadiums and universities and in 2008 such brands like Simon, Arte & Cuoio, Triangolo, Zeritalia, Sica, and RSVP have become part of the group’s family, contributing added value to the already consolidated prestige of this Venetian company. Refer to company portal for store affiliates.

related links:

images: (click on images to enlarge)
Sigmund chaise by Enzo Mari (top)
Demask armchairs by Cory Grosser, Jazz table by Freelab Associati (2nd)
Niemeyer table by Oscar Niemeyer (3rd)
Up & Pill bookcase by Giovanni Galla (4th)
Seventy wardrobe by Estel Casa (bottom)

Friday, February 12, 2010


Japanese American woodworker, architect and furniture maker George Nakashima (1905 – 1990) was one of the leading innovators of 20th Century furniture design and a father of the American Craft movement. After earning a Master's degree in architecture from M.I.T., Nakashima sold his car and purchased a round-the-world steamship ticket. He spent a year in France living the life of a bohemian, and then went on to North Africa and eventually to Japan. While in Japan, Nakashima went to work for Antonin Raymond, an American architect who had collaborated with Frank Lloyd Wright on the Imperial Hotel. While working for Raymond, Nakashima toured Japan extensively, studying the subtleties of Japanese architecture and design. In 1937, Raymond's company was commissioned to build a dormitory at an ashram in Pondicherry, India for which Nakashima was the primary construction consultant. It was here that Nakashima made his first furniture. In 1940, Nakashima returned to America and began to teach woodworking and to make furniture in Seattle. Like others of Japanese ancestry, he was interned during the Second World War and sent to Camp Minidoka in Hunt, Idaho, in March 1942. At the camp he met Gentaro Hikogawa, a man trained in traditional Japanese carpentry. Under his tutelage, Nakashima learned to master traditional Japanese hand tools and joinery techniques. Perhaps more significant, he began to approach woodworking with discipline and patience, striving for perfection in every stage of construction. Nakashima's signature woodworking design was his large-scale tables made of large wood slabs with smooth tops but unfinished natural edges, consisting of multiple slabs connected with butterfly joints. Since 1990 Mira, Nakashima’s daughter has extended the tradition of the George Nakashima Studio not only by producing the classic and traditional lines, but by continuing the evolution of new design solutions by way of her new line, the Keisho Collection.

related links:

images: (click on images to enlarge)
Minguren IV dining table & Conoid chairs, vintage (top)
Grass seat chairs (2nd)
Slab coffee table (3rd)
Conoid Lounge & ottoman, vintage (4th)
King size platform bed, vintage (bottom)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


In 1985 Javier Nieto Santa, Gabriel Ordeig Cole, and Nina Masó collaborated to establish Santa & Cole Ediciones de Diseño S.A . The company has lived for industrial design, an art consisting of focusing on everyday objects in order to seek a better use experience, thereby leading S&C to reflect upon material culture. S&C employs its brand name to edit lighting products, indoor/outdoor furniture, urban elements, books and plant elements for urban reforestation. A range that is only apparently disperse, converging upon a single concern: not to accumulate, but rather to select; not to enjoy quantity, but rather quality.. The finest protectable industrial design and whatever related knowledge required for its proper business operation: this is the true essence of Santa & Cole. Since editing is their raison d'être, registered design is not only an aesthetic choice but also the basic pillar of their differentiation strategy. Refer to company portal for dealer representation.

related links:

images: (click on images to enlarge)
Caori cocktail table/cabinet by Vico Magistretti (top)
Digamma armchair by Ignazio Gardella (2nd)
Gatcpac floor lamp by Josep Torres Clavé (3rd)
Ramon stackable chairs by Ramón Bigas (4th)
Rodovre hanging lighting system by Arne Jacobsen (bottom)

Monday, February 8, 2010


Christophe Pillet (1959 - ) has been living and working in Paris since 1988. Pillet graduated from Nice's Arts Dratifs School in 1985 and Milan's Domus Academy in 1986. He then collaborated with Martine Bedin for two years, thereafter worked with Phillipe Starck for the next five, and has been working independently since 1993. Pillet’s repertoire includes product and furniture design, interior decoration, architecture, scenography and artistic direction. He has created furniture, objects and interior design for Cappellini, Daum, Fiam Italia, Pallucco, Zanotta, Tronconi, Tacchini Italia, Artelano, HC Decaux, Driade, Ecart International, L’Oreal, Lacoste, Moroso, Renault, Porro Serralunga, Shiseido, Shu Uemura, Holly Hunt, Veuve Clicquot, Ponsardin, Whirlpool and Fontana Arte. Pillet’s portal is a wonderful explicative for his interiors, furniture & product designs. Illustrated are just a few of his furniture designs.

related links:

images: (click on images to enlarge)
Sunset chair for Cappellini (top)
Decade bed for Pallucco (2nd)
H. chairs for Porro (3rd)
Aileron occasional chair for Holly Hunt (4th)
Millenium Drive sofa for Tacchini Italia (bottom)

Friday, February 5, 2010


Considered one of the most important names in international modern architecture, Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (1907 - ) was a pioneer in exploring the formal possibilities of reinforced concrete for their aesthetic impact. His buildings are often characterized by being spacious and exposed, mixing volumes and empty space to create unconventional patterns and often propped up by pilotis which are ground level supporting columns. Both lauded and criticized for being a "sculptor of monuments, he has been praised for being a great artist and one of the greatest architects of his generation. In addition Niemeyer’s furniture designs are favorites for savvy collectors and can be sourced through fine dealers and auction houses.

related links:

images: (click on images to enlarge)
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro Brazil 1996 (top)
Niemeyer table for Estel (2nd)
National Congress of Brazil, Brasilia 1956-1960 (3rd)
Lounge chair by Mobilier de France, vintage (4th)
Cathedral of Brasilia, Brazil 1970 (bottom)