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« June 2014 | Main



July 25, 2014

Brutal love.

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Photo by Gwendolyn Horton

“A box is the easiest thing to build. This ain’t no box,” said Paul Rudolph in response to criticism of the Government Center he designed in the town of Goshen, New York. Completed in 1967, the Brutalist building is considered one of Rudolph’s greatest achievements. However, the structure landed on the World Monuments Fund watch list after poor maintenance led to deterioration and a series of damaging storms caused its closure in 2011. Preservationists want it saved, many in the Orange County legislature do not, and – in an interesting 11th-hour twist – architect Gene Kaufman recently offered to buy the building and transform it into art studios and exhibition spaces. 

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Photo by Gwendolyn Horton

Located an hour northwest of New York City, the building is worth going to see, as I did recently. At first, it felt smaller than it appears in photographs, but then it literally grew on me. I’ve always been a fan of Rudolph’s work, and this building does not disappoint. Standing at the end of an empty parking lot riddled with cracks and weeds, the now vacant building is surrounded by a freshly mowed lawn and neatly trimmed trees. The facade is a cluster of windowed boxes that appear to be lurching forward, as if they’re each trying to get a better look at you. The side of the building that faces Main Street is long and windowless. Having a sense of exaggerated perspective, the stretched and staggered boxes look as if they were frozen in mid stride, like a single frame of a stop-motion film.

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Mies must-read.

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Photo courtesy of Phaidon

Did you know that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies? Find out what else you don’t know about this master of modern design in Detlef Mertins’ extraordinary monograph, Mies (Phaidon).


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Few authors could have written this book, and it reveals as much about Mies as it does about Dr. Detlef Mertins, who was uniquely qualified for the task. Mertins spent a decade researching and writing this monograph but sadly died before it was published, at 56. He spent the last 10 years of his life living Mies, and I cannot imagine a more touching and selfless tribute to one of the 20th century’s most influential architects.

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860–880 Lake Shore Drive, 1948–51, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Photo courtesy of Phaidon

Growing up with a father who was an architect and a mother who worked for Knoll, Mertins’ appreciation of the built world began in childhood. Born in Stuttgart and raised in Canada, he had an understanding of German and North American culture, which served him well in his roles as architect, historian and writer and as professor of architectural history and theory at the University of Pennsylvania. An avid reader, his Toronto home had to be structurally reinforced to support the weight of his library of more than 4,000 titles that were recently donated to Penn.

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Hello, Seattle!

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We’ve been busy opening spacious new locations across the country especially for you. The recently renovated and expanded Seattle Studio opened earlier this month and includes many breathtaking features. Stop by to experience the billowing Light Cloud overhead, a colorific Swatch Wall, the full-room vignettes and much more.

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Camber Sofa, Barcelona Chair and Stool, Saarinen Table

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July 24, 2014

Craving Culture? Exhibitions to see now.

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Eames chairs from Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America, an exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Photo by Balthazar Korab, courtesy of the Herman Miller archives.

From quilts in Boston and porcelain in Portland to futurism in New York and expressionism in Los Angeles, there is a rich range of art to see now. Here is a selection of must-see exhibitions running around the country.

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky

ILLINOIS
Art Institute of Chicago
Architecture to Scale: Stanley Tigerman and Zago Architecture

Continue reading "Craving Culture? Exhibitions to see now." »

July 23, 2014

Be Original: Supporting authentic design.

DWR is proud to be a member of Be Original Americas, joining Alessi, Cassina, Emeco, Flos, Fritz Hansen, Herman Miller®, Vitra and other companies in the fight against counterfeit design. Being a member means that we’re a vetted retailer of authentic goods.

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Christian Grosen Rasmussen. Photo courtesy of Fritz Hansen

This month’s Be Original profile is Christian Grosen Rasmussen, head of design at Fritz Hansen, the Danish company that produces authored works by Arne Jacobsen, Poul Kjaerholm, Piet Hein and others.

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The authentic Egg Chair (1958) by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen.

Q: Why is Be Original important?
A: Because without originality the world would become an imitation of itself and we wouldn’t move forward, expanding our knowledge, improving solutions and thereby life in general. Originality is needed more than ever, so it’s important that we understand and respect intellectual property rights.

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July 21, 2014

Huge DWR Warehouse Sale this weekend!

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These photos were just taken to give you an idea of what you’ll find at the DWR Warehouse Sale in New Jersey. Take an additional 20% off already drastically reduced prices on overstocked, returned and scratch-and-dent furniture. Prices are up to 75% off original retail. Find details, including information about our Free Shuttle from NYC, at dwr.com/outlet

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July 15, 2014

A light way to savor summer.

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The designers at Rich Brilliant Willing are saying "Hello, summer!" with a sunny twist on their logo. Stephanie Murg at Unbeige praises the design as a refreshing way to celebrate a season that "is typically welcomed with little more than picnic-themed grocery store displays before it is ushered offstage in a blaze of back-to-school-themed commercials."

We're guessing this playful spirit is what enables RBW to come up with brilliant (and rich and willing) ideas like using audio jacks as connectors in their lamps. What will this summer inspire them to do?

July 02, 2014

Making the Glass House disappear.

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The Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Conn. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

During the annual Glass House Summer Party, we were treated to Fujiko Nakaya’s art exhibition Veil. On view through November 30, this project “produces an opaque atmosphere to meet the building’s extreme transparency and temporal effects that complement its timelessness.” Huh?

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Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Here’s my unscholarly interpretation: Nakaya is using fog – something that normally hides things – to give shape to a transparent house. It’s as if Johnson drew his house in invisible ink and Nakaya’s fog is the “black light” needed to reveal the secret message.

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Stepping inside Philip Johnson's library.

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Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Architect Philip Johnson had his 384-square-foot Library-Study painted white with a red door when it was completed in 1980. However, Johnson later changed the color specifically to a nameless brown because, in his words, “It’s an emotion, not a color.”

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Note the Ghost House in the distance. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Rarely open to the public, this one-room workspace stands alone on the 49-acre, 14-structure Glass House property that Johnson designed for himself in New Canaan, Connecticut. In Johnson’s day, there was no path to the Library-Study, so guests had to find their own way through tall grass and wetlands. “It keeps the uninteresting people out,” he explained.

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Need to see your space in 3-D?

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Looking for something creative to do this long weekend? Check out the DWR 3-D Room Planner, a free online tool that lets you see your space furnished with DWR furniture. You can also improve your view, move walls, add square footage -- anything your heart desires.

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A sleek space created by Martin Mobley of DWR West Hollywood.

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Hello, Chicago!

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Photo by William Zbanek

The new DWR Chicago Studio in Lincoln Park is now open, and we invite you to stop by. We’ve combined our two previous locations into one, giving you a bigger, brighter space to luxuriate in authentic modern design.

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Photo by William Zbanek

Upon arrival, the first thing you’ll notice is the blazing Light Cloud of hanging pendants billowing over the entryway. Inside, the furniture is arranged in “houses” to help you envision how these pieces will work in your own home. And just for Chicago, we’ve created a Dining Test Lab where you can test-drive the largest assortment of iconic dining chairs in the world.

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