Wednesday, May 23, 2018

California Captured: Marvin Rand’s Legacy

Southern California was the epicenter of mid-century glamor as industrial and cultural growth flourished. Architects flocked to the area and created some of the most iconic mid-century homes and buildings. After opening his studio in 1950, Marvin Rand and his camera captured the city’s ever changing façade and the striking architectural work that came to epitomize the era. Rand passed away in 2009, and a new book published this spring titled ‘California Captured,’ documents and presents Rand’s work as significant in its own right, while also creating a layered look at the growth of architecture during the mid-century period.

“It’s the incredibly graphic sensibility and the way Rand approaches buildings almost as exercises in abstraction that really stand out,” says Emily Bills, co-author of ‘California Captured.’ “It was never about photographing a lifestyle image of L.A. His interest was really the structures and how they fit into the city.”

Los Angeles drive-in by architect Douglas Honnold, Marvin Rand 1949
Pereira Residence by William L. Pereira & Associates, Marvin Rand 1964
California Captured: Mid-Century Modern Architecture, Published by Phaidon
Capitol Records Building by Welton Becket & Associates, Marvin Rand 1956

Born in 1924, Rand was a hard worker, never ceasing in his search of subjects. Throughout his career, he worked with established architectural greats such as Esther McCoy, Charles and Ray Eames, Louis Kahn, Welton Becket, Craig Ellwood, Cesar Pelli, John Lautner, Ray Kappe, Frank Gehry, and Thom Mayne. Beyond the big names, he continued to work with new architects just beginning their careers. Into his 70s, he photographed and even processed his own film, never had assistants, and only accepted aid from his son. In his mid-70s he even bought a computer and taught himself digital photography. His relentless focus and vision are clear in his beautiful, haunting images that show each building as art. Rand made it a habit of walking through a space with the architect before he began working, taking the time to understand the thought and intention so he could accurately capture each in his photographs.

“His photography transcends the mere documentation of the built environment,” said Michael Hricak. “In a single thoughtful image, he is able to explain the intentions behind the work.”

Marvin Rand in his studio, Architectural Digest
Louis Kahn Salk Institute, Marvin Rand 1963
Stone Stuart Pharmaceutical Company by Edward Durell, Marvin Rand 1958
Dektor Film Group by Gwynne Pugh and Lawrence Scarpa, Marvin Rand 1991

Rand’s archive includes nearly 20,000 images, a fraction of which are included in ‘California Captured.’ His work is a passionate portrayal of architecture, while also evocatively playing with light, shadow, and form.

“For more than half a century, [Rand] used that camera to fight on behalf of our profession.” –Lawrence Scarpa, architect and friend

Case Study House #18 by Craig Ellwood, Marvin Rand 1958
Cambridge Investment Inc. Building by Killingsworth, Brady & Smith, Marvin Rand 1960
The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion by Welton Becket & Associates, Marvin Rand 1967
LAX Theme Building by Pereira & Luckman, Marvin Rand 1961
Posted by Cecilia Chard at 04:10:33 AM
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Pierre Cardin’s Bubble Palace

French designer Pierre Cardin is known for his ultra-mod “Space Age Futurism” fashion and furniture designs in the 1950’s and 60’s, but his home at the Bubble Palace takes this look to another level. Designed by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag, Bubble Palace has no right angles– the beds, swimming pools, walls, doors, and windows are all ovals, circles, and spheres.

Bubble House Estate | Luxury Defined
Bubble House Pool | Architectural Digest
Bubble House Living Room | Luxury Defined

The spectacular 28-room, 13,000 square foot estate is situated on a rocky cliff within Massif de L’Esterel, a volcanic mountain range that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea in the South of France. Due to its unusual shape, Bubble House was constructed using non-traditional methods. Rather than erect a wooden frame, builders had to use a series of round mesh shells that were fixed in place with metal rods. Concrete was then poured over each section, forming the seamless bubbles of the home’s eccentric exterior.

View over the Bay of Cannes | Luxury Defined

 

Bubble House Interior Architecture | Luxury Defined

Over the years, Bubble House has been host to a number of swanky soirées. In 2002 MTV hosted James Bond’s 40th birthday, and last summer Dior held an indoor/outdoor fashion show featuring their resort collection. Funnily enough, 71 years earlier in 1946, Christian Dior himself, who had just opened his own Fashion house in Paris, hired Cardin as a tailor. From there, Cardin went on to found his own company and design clothes ranging from avant-garde haute couture, to stylish ready-to-wear.

Dior Resort Fashion Show 2017 | Dazed Digital

 

Dior Resort Fashion Show 2017 | Footwear News

 

Lauren Baccall wearing the “Cardine” dress, 1968 | Pierre Cardin

 

Space Age Fashion, Pierre Cardin | Pinterest

Cardin’s attraction to circles and spheres is quite apparent in his designs, from the rounded shape of his iconic “Bubble Dress”, to the patterns on the fabric he used, to the curved forms of his furniture creations. “The circle is the symbol of eternity… I love the circle. The moon, the sun, the earth are pure creations, boundless, without beginning and end.” It’s no wonder he was drawn to the organic forms of Bubble House– in such a creative industry, it is essential to be constantly inspired by your environment and surroundings. It’s safe to say Cardin found just the right spot.

Pierre Cardin and the “Bubble Dress”, 1954 | Pierre Cardin

 

Space Age Fashion, Pierre Cardin | Madame Le Figaro

 

Space age fashion, Pierre Cardin for L’Officiel, 1971, Roland Bianchini | Super Seventies

 

Pierre Cardin Furniture Design | WWD

 

Posted by Lauren Gunn at 05:17:01 AM
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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

‘Final Portrait’: Giacometti Biopic

“This movie is, literally, about watching paint dry – but Tucci and the cast find a world of detail and nuance.”  –Moira MacDonald, film critic for the Seattle Times

Depicting two weeks in the artist Alberto Giacometti’s life, ‘Final Portrait’ is a film that at once captures the agonizing process of art and the complicated mind of the artist. Directed by Stanley Tucci, the movie stars Geoffrey Rush as Giacometti himself, and Armie Hammer as writer James Lord. Almost all of the film takes place in the artist’s studio, surrounded by a myriad of paintings and sculptures, each at differing levels of completion. For two weeks before his return to America, Lord poses for a portrait by Giacometti, and in doing so experiences the world Giacometti inhabits. From the struggle of creating art to the impassioned feelings of love and loss, ‘Final Portrait’ captures the daily life of a great artist from the viewpoint of a friend.

‘Final Portrait’ Movie Poster, IMDB
Armie Hammer and Geoffrey Rush on set, Veeyen Unplugged
Rush and Hammer in film, Film Babble

Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss-born artist, who was based for much of his working life in Paris. His surrealist pieces included sculpture, painting, print making, and draftsmanship. Often his work focused on the philosophical questions of the human condition, most notably depicted in his iconic tall, slender figure sculptures. Giacometti died in 1966 at the age of 64. His work is included in museums worldwide, and he is highly regarded as one of the most influential and important sculptors of the 20th century. As recently as 2015, his piece titled “L’Homme au doigt (Pointing Man)” sold for $126 million. Four of the top ten most expensive sculptures are pieces by Giacometti.

In ‘Final Portrait’, Geoffrey Rush depicts Giacometti approximately two years before his death, at a time when he was regularly painting but suffering deeply from his self-critical nature. As it shows the pain of making art, it also shows the important figures in Giacometti’s life: his younger brother Diego (played by Tony Shalhoub), his wife Annette (played by Sylvie Testud), and his young mistress (played by Clémence Poésy).

Alberto Giacometti at the 31° Venice Biennale in 1962, photographed by Paolo Mont, BEIC
Man Pointing 1947, Tate
Giacometti in his studio, Artribune

James Lord was an American writer, whose friendships with great artists shaped his career. Spending much of his time in Paris, Lord had strong relationships with Pablo Picasso and Giacometti, leading to biographies of both, including “A Giacometti Portrait”, which inspired ‘Final Portrait’. His charisma and personality are perfectly captured by Hammer, as he finds posing almost as torturous as the painting is for Giacometti.

James Lord portrait by Giacometti, Gallery Intell

Though the film is a quiet look into the connection between two people, it is also a glimpse into the process of a great artist. Filled with comical interactions and a beautiful setting, the best moments are the silent hours spent as the two characters face each other with only an easel and layers upon layers of paint between them.

“What’s clear is that Giacometti… is out to capture a truth that most of us can’t begin to see… Watching the movie, you feel you’ve gotten to know who Alberto Giacometti is, and to revel in what it was like when an artist, sitting in a shabby studio, could command the world.” –Owen Gleiberman, film critic for Variety

 

Posted by Cecilia Chard at 02:05:15 AM
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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Willy Rizzo: From Photography to Furniture

Some may know him best for his furniture and lighting designs, but Italian renaissance man Willy Rizzo actually got his start as a photographer. In the 1940’s he was a photojournalist for a number of French publications, eventually covering the historic Nuremberg Trials and even traveling to Tunisia to photograph the conflict in North Africa, which was published in Life Magazine.

Willy Rizzo | Pamono

As his reputation grew, he was hired to take portraits of the rich and famous at events such as the Cannes Film Festival. A few years later he was invited to join Paris Match magazine as head photographer, shooting the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Fred Astaire, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso.

Marilyn Monroe, Willy Rizzo, 1952 | Pinterest
Salvadore Dali, Willy Rizzo, Paris, 1950 | Architectural Digest
Rizzo later became the artistic director of Marie Claire, and collaborated with other fashion publications, including Vogue. He made close friends with many famous personalities along the way, including Jack Nicholson, who he photographed in a variety of candid moments. He was also known for his story-telling abilities, and is said to have been one of the only people capable of inducing a smile from Coco Chanel.
He became such a renowned chronicler of the “jet set” lifestyle of celebrities, politicians, and royalty, that he was immortalized as paparazzo Walter Rizotto in the comic series The Adventures of Tintin‘s twenty-first volume: The Castafiore Emerald.
Rizzo married Italian actress Elsa Martinelli in 1968, and they relocated to Rome. There they purchased a pied-à-terre, and Rizzo says he got into furniture design “by necessity”. He recalls, “I wanted to decorate [my home] in a modern style, so I created things for it— and my career went from there”. His “glitterati” friends saw the pieces in his home, and began commissioning him to create furniture and design for their own homes.
He launched his furniture line in 1966, and was inspired by Modernists such as Mies van der Rohe, and his close friend Corbusier. From steel-banded travertine dining tables and bronze table lamps in his inaugural collection, to his iconic rotating round cocktail table with a built-in champagne bucket, Rizzo’s designs are strong and masculine with an emphasis on clean lines, geometric forms, and unique combinations of luxe materials, such as wood, marble, stainless steel, brass and leather.
Jean-Marc and Jean-Noël found a pair of timeless signed Willy Rizzo console tables on their most recent buying trip. Click through to see the beautiful patina and other details, or stop by the gallery to view in person!
Posted by Lauren Gunn at 03:50:24 AM
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