Archive for February, 2014

Auction | Late Century Modern

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Cubo Di Teo
light sculpture by
James Riviere, 1960s
Auction estimate
£800 > £1,200 /
$1,330 > $1,996


Les Trois Garçons
Christie’s
South Kensington | London | UK
Exhibition 1st > 4th March 2014
Sale 5th March 2014

They have no rules. They just go for what they like, no matter the price: ‘It’s more about the aesthetic rather than the value.’ Their businesses are an extension of their lifestyle, say Michel Lasserre, Hassan Abdullah, and Stefan Karlsson – owners of East London’s Les Trois Garçons restaurant, neighbouring cocktail bar Loungelover, café-shop Maison Trois Garçons, and the Château de la Goujonnerie, France. The three boys also run an interior design practice, L3GC Design, that recently launched its own Charlotte Perriand-influenced furniture collection in collaboration with Portuguese furniture manufacturer De Pau.

The list of lots for the forthcoming Les Trois Garçons sale at Christie’s South Kensington bears witness to the trio’s utterly eclectic tastes; every item, within its particular genre, is of the best quality and workmanship. For those for whom a Claude Lalanne chandelier with monkeys or a toilet in the shape of a fly might not be their idea of the holy grail, but also for those who may crave a diversion from the mid-century-modern pieces, so in vogue at the moment, we’ve sifted through and picked out a selection of interesting and surprising, relatively simple, late 20th century furniture and accessories.

James Riviere (aka Vincenzo Teora Rivière) is a prominent Italian jewellery designer and sculptor, who also produced exceptional lighting and glassware from the 1960s to the 1990s. It’s worth noting that a similar piece to his 1960s ‘Cubo Di Teo’ light sculpture, above, sold for $10,000 / £6,000 at Phillips in New York in 2007. A pair of these in green comprise another single lot in Christie’s sale, which, at an estimated price of only £2,000 >£3,000 / $3,326 > $4,989, must be a bargain.

Hemispherical
lounge chair by
Christian Daninos, 1968

Auction estimate
£5,000 > £8,000 /
$8,315 > $13,304


The cushions in the picture above are not included with the lot and indeed are incorrect for this elegant Christian Daninos piece, designed to come with a large leather, cotton, or canvas geometrically-shaped pad in pink, white, or black.



Molecular table
lamp, left, by
Robert Haussmann,
20th century (2nd half).
Gaetano Sciolari
table lamp

Auction estimate
for combined lot
£600 > £900 /
$998 > $1,497


Hexagonal revolving
dentist’s cabinet,
1970s > 80s

Auction estimate
£800 > £1,200 /
$1,330 > $1,996
Pair of Fase
table lamps, 1960s
Auction estimate
£700 > £1,000 /
$1,164 > $1,663


Fase lamps – as seen on desks in Mad Men, in Indiana Jones, and especially in the movies of Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar – were produced by one of Spain and Europe’s eponymously-named leading lighting manufactures from the 1950s to the 1970s.


Corner cabinet
Eugene C, 1980s

Auction estimate
£1,500 > £2,500 /
$2,495 > $4,158

Geometric chandelier,
attributed to
Gaetano Sciolari,
20th century (2nd half )

Auction estimate
£700 > 1,000 /
$1,167 > $1,667

Photos © Christie’s Images Limited, 2014


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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Books | London Youth 1978-1987

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Boy George, Le Beat Route 1981


78–87
London Youth – Derek Ridgers

Photographs by Derek Ridgers
Introductory text by John Maybury
Published by Damiani / February 2014
21.5 x 31.5 cm / 160 pp / hardback

Steve and friend, left, and Matin, right, Bowie Night at Billy’s 1978


Eye-witness and participating member of London’s edgy youth culture scene during the unique period this book documents, video artist and film director John Maybury’s introductory text is so sharp and well-written that all we’re going to do is select a few short edited passages from it and allow Derek Ridgers formidable images, as they appear in this beautifully-produced book, do the rest.

Charlotte at the Dayglo Ball, Heaven 1984. Right, Paul, Kings Road 1984


John Maybury: Curiously the London represented in these images might be recognisable to a twenty-year-old today – a recession coming after an extended period of boom and bust, but there the similarities end. Post swinging London, the euphoria dissolved into a grey reality, with a political and media class confused by the rallying cry of the Sex Pistol’s [sic] No Future – but there was…

At Feltham Rugby Club 1981. Right, Mark, Leicester Square, 1981


JM: Against the depressing backdrop of a grey London demoralised by IRA bombs, riots in Brixton, Toxteth and at the Notting Hill Carnival, the miners’ strike and general civil unrest, going clubbing offered an escape…  The Roxy and Louise’s begat the Vortex, Bowie Night at Billy’s, Le Beat Route, the Blitz, Le Kilt, the Batcave, Hell, White Trash, Legends, the People’s Palace, and Taboo, where events would take place mid-week. To walk into one of them was to enter a kaleidoscope world of like-minded hedonists.

Martin and Steve, Kings Road 1981. Right, Chelsea, 1980


JM: Suddenly ordinary kids were adopting styles and attitudes that threw their parents into tailspin. Before long the streets of Soho, Camden Lock, the Kings Road and Kensington High Street were crawling with ‘these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds’.

Charlotte and Jeffrey at the Alternative Miss World, Earls Court 1981


JM: Sex (that became Seditionaries and mutated into Worlds End, Boy and PX, the stalls at Beaufort market and Kensington market, provided street-style catwalks. Punk was about watching bands. Now we were watching each other.

Southend Seafront on Bank Holiday, 1979


JM: Notorious camera whores like Boy George, Marilyn or Steve Strange not only deserved to be photographed but expected it. Being photographed served as an affirmation that your particular ‘look’ set you apart as somebody… In 78–87 London Youth, Derek Ridgers makes each and every one a hero or heroine of their own drama with one click.


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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Architecture | Future Spaces

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Merisiers School Group | Mantes-la-Ville | France
‘What identity should be given
to the
school
to reveal the identities that compose it?’
Architect: Vincent Parreira




Stories of Spaces for the Future
Villa Noailles | Montée Noailles | Hyères | France
16th February > 23rd March 2014

Architecture, design and education go hand in hand. My elder brother, who began his education in a single-sex, red brick Victorian building, took me to start mine in the adjacent, brand new, single-storey, detached, mixed-sex infants block, with brand new light-coloured wooden furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out on a playing field surrounded by tall trees. On sunny days, my class and I would enjoy lessons sitting outside on the grass in a semi-circle around the teacher. When my family re-located to another provincial, northern city, I was taught in a simple, pre-fabricated wooden hut, which wasn’t new but for me infinitely preferable, to the main – again – old red brick block my brother was put into, in which the windows were so high it was impossible to look out. While in winter the older children had to suffer clunking and rattling radiators that – when they were working – only heated the person sitting beside them, we had a large wood-burning stove that gave out heat so efficiently that none of us were ever cold. I looked forward to going to school there, I learned a lot and had a lot of fun. All the same, next door, down a grass-covered hill, set at an angle, with playing fields all around sat a completely new modern infants’ school that was affiliated to another religious denomination. I would climb up and hang on the metal grill fencing that surrounded it – meant to keep us out in my mind, rather than them in – watching the comings and goings with envy in my young boy eyes.

When I progressed to senior school, the school had just been built. It was modern, clean, warm in winter, cool in summer, with wide corridors, and large well-lit classrooms that had big windows, with unblemished beech wood desks, and large, innovative blackboards that, rather than standing on easels, like those I was used to, were on rollers and set into the wall. I liked the atmosphere. I felt comfortable there. Pupils of the school tended to do well.

My elder brother went to another senior school then into a trade. Like many of my peers, I elected to go into further education – this meant, however, spending a foundation year in a miserable, converted Victorian red brick school, every room of which the beery fumes from a nearby brewery permeated. Then I struck lucky once more, becoming one of the first year students in a brand new, purpose-built building on a new university campus. Afterwards, going to London to do a master’s degree at The Royal College of Art, I found myself in scruffy graphics department studios, alongside the equally, or perhaps more scruffy fine art and printmaking studios, housed in a rear red-brick annexe of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Luckily for me, however, the course was so loosely structured that I was able to spend much of my time in the inspiringly modern Darwin building on Kensington Gore, with its leafy quadrangle, light and airy library, open-plan refectory and the cool Art Bar, where students and staff from every department interacted and intermingled.

Maria Grazia Cutuli Primary School | Herat | Afghanistan
‘It came out of the blind cruelty of war but offers a vision of peace’
Architects: 2A+P/A, IaN+, maO/emmeazero

Fuji Preschool | Tokyo | Japan
‘A place for observation, experimentation, where they [the children]
acquire confidence in their abilities and manage their daily life
Architects: Tezuka Architects

Makoko Floating School | Lagos | Nigeria
‘A reflection on how to respond to the living conditions
in this territory of 100,000 inhabitants who live on the water’

Architects: Kunlé Adeyami Nlé Architects



Stories of Spaces for the Future, a new exhibition at the Villa Noailles, explores the concept that designing schools equates to ‘founding tomorrow’. It looks at how, by encouraging children to discover, experiment and imagine, each one can be offered the possibility of constructing themselves. Taking as its premise that education was first established as a uniform and carefully calibrated system that took place in standardised buildings, it describes how in recent decades it has changed to allow each child to be himself, to lead him into the outside world in order to encounter and interact with others.

The organisers have selected four teams of architects from France, Japan, Africa and Afghanistan, all of whom have been involved in creating innovative schools, and examines their work under the headings: Schools of desire, Schools of enchantment, Schools of openness, Schools of the possible, in terms of the benefits that can be gained from re-imagined educational environments.


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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Design | Japanese Posters in Situ

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Mitsuo Katsui
Air – I’m here,
1993



Japanese Poster Artists
– Cherry Blossom and Asceticism
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Zürich | Switzerland
12 February > 25 May 2014

One of my most treasured books is Japanese Graphic Design by Richard S Thornton (Laurence King Publishing, 1991). Delving deep into the country’s complex cultural history and traditions, it puts the entire subject – of which Japanese poster design is an extremely important ingredient – into clear historical perspective. But graphic works shown in books are one thing: seeing them, and especially posters – which ideally should to be viewed at full size to be properly appreciated – is an entirely different and sometimes surprising experience.

Having looked at some of them on the the Designboom website, on a recent trip into central London I made a wide detour to take in the OSPAAAL (Organisation in Solidarity with the People of Africa, Asia and Latin America) Posters Show of Cuban posters at the Kemistry Gallery, near Old Street, which specialises in graphic design-related exhibitions, and which I hadn’t previously visited. Entering, I found myself in a space not much larger than a double garage, albeit with a higher ceiling. I had expected the bold, colourful, politically-charged designs to hit me like a series of sledgehammers, but, equally-spaced on three walls, all in the same odd, elongated vertical format, the diminutive framed posters sang out like brilliant stained glass windows in a small side chapel, their power uncompromised by their compact dimensions. I had thought that perhaps, at the time of their production, paper was in short supply in Cuba, however the small poster format derives from their being folded magazine inserts in Tricontinental, OSPAAAL’s quarterly publication. The experience taught me something about the importance of context and strengthened my view that making the effort to see posters (and all art) in the flesh, rather than simply evaluating them at reduced size in books, magazines or on internet sites (as here), is infinitely more rewarding. As Ernest Hemingway wrote ‘it’s very hard to get anything true on anything you haven’t seen yourself’.

Shigeo Fukuda
Victory 1945, 1975

Draft Co Ltd
Une nana cool, 2002

Ken Miki / Shigeyuki Sakaida
Snow – Hokusetu Snow Mountain, c 2002


Dedicated poster museums are few and far between. There isn’t one in the UK. There’s the London Transport Underground collection at the London Transport Museum, and the collection at the V&A. (A poster which I designed with Phil Carter in 1979 for the RCA Automotive Design degree show is amongst this collection, but, for whatever reason, and despite my enquiries, no image is available on the museum’s website).

Abroad, it’s better. In New York City, you can visit Postermuseum.com – an actual gallery, as opposed to the virtual one the name suggests – established in Manhattan in 1973, which with 100,000 unique posters from 1870 to the present, claims to be the largest vintage poster gallery in the world. The Dutch Poster Museum at Hoorn, in the Netherlands, opened in 2003 and has around four different exhibitions per year. Founded in 1968, in 1999 the Musée de l’Affiche, renamed Musée de la Publicité, with a collection of 50,000 posters, was installed in permanent exhibition rooms designed by Jean Nouvel at Les Arts Décoratifs, rue de Rivoli, Paris. The Wilanów Poster Museum, a branch of the National Museum, is the world’s oldest, and hosts the Warsaw Poster Biennale, established in 1966. (Another of my posters, designed in 1977 for The New Contemporaries Exhibition at London’s ICA was accepted for the 1978 Biennale). There’s also the Ogaki Poster Museum in Japan, and the collection at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, in Zürich, Switzerland, where the forthcoming show happens to be Japanese Poster Artists – Cherry Blossom and Asceticism. Here, contemporary posters and works by three ‘old masters’, Shigeo Fukuda, Kazumasa Nagai and Ikko Tanaka – all of whom feature in the aforementioned Richard S Thornton book – plus work by the renowned Tadanori Yokoo are amongst the 300 examples on show, covering the period from 1950 to the present.

Tadanori Yokoo
Japanese Culture
– The Fifty Post-War Years
1945-1995
, 1995


Rikako Nagashima
Be noisy. Laforet, 2012


The selected period is particularly apposite. While early Japanese posters were contiguous with traditional wood-block prints and were often hand-painted on paper, once lithography was introduced, posters in Japan began to resemble or mimic those of Europe and America. And when modernism swept though the country and took hold in most areas of design, commercial poster designers followed suit. However, when the rubble was cleared after World War II, a re-evaluation was made of traditional Japanese design principles. This was especially apparent in relation to poster design, where the commercial aspects began to be toned down, and the medium became the domain of artists. These printmakers, fused modern reproduction processes with Japanese craft techiques, and an intuitive sense of composition, to produce iconic printed creations that have earned their place in galleries.

I also own a copy of the book 100 Posters of Tadanori Yokoo by Koichi Tanikawa (Big O Publishing, 1978) which has an introduction by US design legend Milton Glaser. Its format is just under A3 (297 x 420 mm), which means that although Yokoo’s posters, typically 728 x 103 mm, were far bigger, at least one gets some feeling of their scale.

Japan – Nippon, with 122 pages and 120 illustrations, a preface by Bettina Richter, and an essay by Kiyonori Muroga is published with German and English text by the much-respected Lars Müller Publishers at CHF 35 / £24.00 / $40, to accompany the Museum für Gestaltung’s exhibition. It will undoubtably be a beautifully presented book, but the miniscule 165 x 24 mm format will demand a considerable feat of imagination from anyone who does not visit the exhibition, to understand how the posters were intended to be seen.

All posters courtesy Museum für Gestaltung Zürich Poster Collection


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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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