Glasraum

StuttgartLilly Reich and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Not only the Weissenhofsiedlung was built in the context of the Werkbund exhibition ‘Die Wohnung’ in Stuttgart, in the centre of town an exhibition also took place, featuring different products and materials that play a role in the construction and furnishing of homes. Mies van der Rohe asked Werkbund member Lilly Reich, who had made an impression with her design for the exhibition ‘Von der Faser zum Gewebe’ in Frankfurt (1926), to design this exhibition. She opted for an austere approach with one product group per hall, for example sanitary facilities, kitchens, curtains, furniture and wallpaper. Hall 4 (devoted to the mirror glass industry) and Hall 5 (with a presentation by the Deutsche Linoleum Werke) were co-designed by Mies and Reich. The actual initiative for the Glasraum in Hall 4 came from Mies, who was looking for a materials sponsor for the glass in his Weissenhofsiedlung housing block…

 

Equipement intérieur d’une habitation

ParisCharlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret

With the arrival of Charlotte Perriand in the Parisian studio of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in 1927, the three designers began to develop a series of furniture designs. The designs were exhibited at the Salon d’Automne beginning in 1928. This annual art exhibition, which started in 1903 and still takes place in Paris, had a great reputation as a collection point for the latest developments in the visual arts and architecture, especially in the first decades of its existence…

 

Ambiente di soggiorno e terrazzo

MilanLuigi Figini and Gino Pollini

In the late 1920s, Italian architecture was still operating within the boundaries of academic thinking, and clung to neoclassicism and a decorative style concept, whereas in the surrounding world, the Modern Movement was already in full swing. Among the first young people to oppose this conservative Italian academic culture were Luigi Figini (1903-1984) and Gino Pollini (1903-1991). Both were founders of GRUPPO 7; their four-part manifesto (1926-1927) provided the basis for the Italian Razionalismo. Together, they began a design practice in Milan in 1929; from 1930, they were also active CIAM members…

 

Svenskt Tenns utställningsrum

New YorkJosef Frank and Estrid Ericson

Sweden speaks. In 1939, this motto was written in large letters on the Swedish pavilion at the New York World’s Fair. The pavilion, designed by Sven Markelius, drew a lot of attention, not least because of several style rooms that were furnished by leading designers. One of the rooms, a studio, was designed and furnished by Estrid Ericson and Josef Frank, respectively the founder and lead designer of the interior design firm Svenskt Tenn in Stockholm. This interior was launched as an initial example of a new, informal, and multifaceted interior style that was much followed around the world in the years after the Second World War under the name Swedish Modern…

 

Interiør -52

TrondheimFinn Juhl

Danish architect Finn Juhl (1912-1989), the ‘father of Danish design’, was commissioned in 1950 by Norwegian art historian T. Krohn-Hansen (at the time, director of the Nordenfjeldeske Kunstindustrimuseum in Trondheim) to furnish one of the museum’s rooms as an office, to be part of the museum’s permanent collection. This workspace was meant to enter into a dialogue with the museum’s existing Henry van de Velde interior. By means of the character of the space, the materials and the decorative objects, the new room was meant to typify the lifestyle of the years 1940-1950, the period of Scandinavian design…

 

Wohnung für eine Familie von 6 Personen

BrusselsKarl Augustinus Bieber and Ernst Althoff, drawings Marie Marcks

The pavilion of the Federal Republic of Germany at Expo 58 in Brussels was designed by architects Egon Eiermann and Sep Ruf. The exhibition route led visitors via light walkways through eight individual, transparent volumes of different sizes. Visitors reached the ‘City and Home’ sector via the top floor, which was dedicated to the theme of ‘the city’. Various urban projects and challenges from the past decades were presented here, including the initiatives of the Bauhaus, the CIAM, the devastation of the war, and reconstruction projects such as the Hansaviertel in Berlin. The sector did not take a strong position on the high-rise debate that was taking place in Germany at the time, but it did highlight the benefits of a diversity of housing typologies…

 

Total Furnishing Unit

New YorkJoe Colombo with Ignazia Favata

In 1972, the influential exhibition ‘Italy: The New Domestic Landscape’ was held at the MoMA in New York. Curator Emilio Ambasz assembled 180 household objects and 11 installations by Italian designers in order to investigate the relationship between the designer, the user and (industrialized) society. Italy, which at that time was the leading country in terms of design, served as a model for the entire industrialized world…

 

La serie Misura

Domus, no. 517Superstudio

First referred to as Le tombe degli architetti, Superstudio’s designs for the Istogrammi and subsequent Misura furniture series were conceived as countermeasures geared to undermine the market’s unending demands for new consumer products.

The earliest Istogrammi came in a number of shapes and varieties that together constituted a comprehensive set of household solutions for everyday living. The Istogrammi formed an assembly of stacked and gridded blocks, combining pure geometrical forms, towers, pyramid tops and other primary architectural shapes into an open number of possible configurations. These gridded blocks were what inspired Edoardo Boncinelli to suggest the name Istogrammi. Typically, histograms are geometrical representations of data, commonly used to track and display sound activity on audio equipment. In a sense, Superstudio’s Istogrammi perform a similar kind of action, responding to the individual user’s needs through fluctuations in its various geometrical shapes…

 

La Casa Telematica

MilanUgo La Pietra

In 1971, Italian architect and artist Ugo La Pietra had already developed a first draft of the Casa Telematica for the exhibition ‘Italy: The New Domestic Landscape’, which took place in 1972 at the MoMa in New York. The concept included a house with a triangular cross section, which La Pietra used to examine the potential impact of engineering and technology on the home, and on domestic life. Using images reminiscent of Superstudio’s The Continuous Landscape, La Pietra presented the house as a space where people come together, but also one in which a variety of information-processing equipment has been included, which allowed for communication with the outside world…

 

Some New Items for the Home – Part I

BerlinJasper Morrison

Jasper Morrison is considered to be one of the most successful product designers of our time. He has built up a body of work that ranges from furniture to kitchen appliances and shoes. His work often has a somewhat neutral or anonymous appearance, which also characterizes many design products from the 1950s and 1960s. Morrison himself has stated that for him, form is less important, and can often be derived from what already exists. Great beauty, he said, lurks in the obvious and ordinary object…

 

Tsunago

MilanKengo Kuma

At the 2007 Milan Furniture Fair, the Japanese project developer Mitsui Fudosan presented a concept home called Tsunago, designed by Kengo Kuma. The home showed ideas and concepts that the company wanted to use in apartment buildings for the Japanese market. Tsunago means ‘connect’, and Kuma elaborated on this theme on various levels. A connection to Japanese culture was created by imbuing the home with elements of traditional (residential) architecture. The walls of the house were designed as bamboo screens, known in Japan as sumushiko. Kuma here not only interwove his design with the Japanese building tradition; the transparent character of the sumushiko also focused on the connection between the inner world of the home and the outside world. The floor plan was a simple rectangle, divided into quadrants. This type of plan is called a ‘rice field character’ plan, because of its similarity to the Chinese character ta (   ), which means rice field. Here, the floor plan was extended with a veranda over its entire width…