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208 posts categorized "Architecture"

February 28, 2013

On location with architect Michael P. Johnson.

Architect: Michael P. Johnson. The Bradley residence, Scottsdale, AZ.
Photo: Bill Timmerman, Timmerman Photography, Inc.

“One percent of buildings are architecture,” says Michael P. Johnson. “The rest are just stuff.” Standing six foot four with a mop of white hair and a lot to say, Johnson has a rugged elegance that’s a lot like the juxtaposition between his sleek streamlined buildings and the rough terrain of the Arizona landscape. He drives a red pickup, drinks his coffee black and likes his scotch on the rocks. He’s married to the documentary filmmaker Suzanne Johnson, and the two of them live in a house that Michael designed in Cave Creek, Arizona. Inspired by Suzanne’s dream of living in a loft in New York City, Johnson gave his wife “a loft in the desert.”

Architect: Michael P. Johnson. The Johnson residence, Cave Creek, AZ.
Photo: Richard Mack

The Johnson house is set in a remote area north of Cave Creek, keenly attuned to the changing light throughout the day and subtle shifts of the seasons. It has luscious views of mountains, cacti and sky, and one of the few houses that can be seen is the Ellsworth house, which Johnson also designed (talk about taking control of your view).

Architect: Michael P. Johnson. The Ellsworth residence, Cave Creek, AZ.
Photo: Bill Timmerman, Timmerman Photography, Inc.

The Ellsworth was one of the houses where we photographed the DWR March catalog, and we chose the space for its bold simplicity, balanced proportions and sleek industrial surfaces. In other words, we knew our furniture would look fantastic in a house designed by Johnson.

Continue reading "On location with architect Michael P. Johnson. " »

February 26, 2013

Moby sings the praises (and not) of L.A. architecture.

The musician, DJ and photographer known as Moby (aka Richard Melville Hall) has more in common with DWR than he knows. His first studio, circa 1987, was in an old factory in Stamford, Connecticut, located next door to where our corporate offices and Stamford Studio are now. He's also a huge fan of architecture, and his latest video is about the "mind numbingly complicated" built landscape of Los Angeles.


February 19, 2013

Nordic Cool begins today.

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Today is the first day of the month-long Nordic culture festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The festivities include panel discussions on architecture, exhibitions by 30 innovative and acclaimed Nordic designers and, of course, Legos. Building block trivia: Lego was founded in Billund, a small town in Denmark, by carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen in the 1930’s. Today they are the world's third largest manufacturer of play materials.

Oslo Opera House, designed by Snøhetta. Craig Dykers, a senior partner at the firm, will be a panelist at the Feb. 24 forum.

A few highlights from the calendar:

Forum: Master Builder/Master Builders Performing Architecture
Forum: Living by Design: A Holistic Approach to Everything
Lego Exhibition and Play Space: open daily in the Nations Gallery
Exhibition: Nordic Design Illustrated in the North Atrium Foyer

February 06, 2013

Get "Stollerized" at the Yossi Milo Gallery in NYC.

Chamberlain Cottage by Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius, Wayland, MA | Gelatin Silver Print by Ezra Stoller (1942)

The stunning work of photographer Ezra Stoller is on display at Yossi Milo Gallery through March 2, 2013. Michael Kimmelman reviews the show and discusses Stoller's work in today's New York Times.

Ezra Stoller
General Motors Technical Center, Eero Saarinen, Warren, MI | Gelatin Silver Print by Ezra Stoller (1950)

February 01, 2013

A Grand (Central) Centennial.


Happy anniversary to Grand Central Terminal, New York’s favorite Beaux-Arts style building.

Today marks the centennial of the historic New York landmark. We’re particularly excited because many of us use it to get to and from the office. In fact, of the 750,000 or so travelers who pass through Grand Central every day, many are DWR employees. We like to think of it as an old friend you can always depend on – or are sometimes stuck with for a while. Nevertheless, we’re truly happy to celebrate it.

Check out the Gothamist for a breakdown of Grand Central restaurants and shops that are rolling back to 1913 prices on food and more throughout the day.

Five Fun Facts

1. Grand Central is the largest train station in the world by number of tracks and of platforms.

Continue reading "A Grand (Central) Centennial." »

January 24, 2013

The ABCs of Architecture.

The ABC of Architects from fedelpeye on Vimeo.

Thanks to our friends at Metropolis magazine for sharing this video on their blog. Designed by Andrea Stinga and Federico Gonzalez, it's an engaging (and alphabetical) spin through iconic buildings by some of the world's best architects. "A lot of them have been left out with grief," says Stinga, "because we only need one for each letter and we have made an effort to have different nationalities."


January 08, 2013

Architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable dies at 91.

Getty Images

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Ada Louise Huxtable. The famed architecture critic for the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Huxtable "changed the way most of us see and think about man-made environments," said an editor at the Times. In 1963, she became the first full-time architecture critic for an American newspaper, and in 1970, she won the first-ever Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

Huxtable with Arthur Ochs Sulzberger in 1970. Librado Romero/New York Times

Still writing at 91, Huxtable's piece about the $300 million restructuring plan for the New York Public Library appeared in the Journal just a few weeks ago. In Undertaking Its Destruction, Huxtable's honest, eloquent, smart, witty and somewhat saucy style is in full gear as she writes "This is a plan devised out of a profound ignorance of or willful disregard for not only the library's original concept and design, but also the folly of altering its meaning and mission and compromising its historical and architectural integrity. You don't 'update' a masterpiece. 'Modernization' may be the most dangerously misused word in the English language."

"Buildings change; they adapt to needs, times and tastes," she continued. "Old buildings are restored, upgraded and converted to new uses. For architecturally or historically significant buildings with landmark protection, the process is more complex; subtle, subjective and difficult decisions are often required. Nothing, not even buildings, stands still."

Ada Louise Huxtable in 1974. Alfred Eisenstaedt/Life Magazine

Huxtable inspired us and made us think about the world that surrounds us. I love her for using "august" as an adjective -- referring to the library as "an august institution" -- which I rarely see except for in the poetry of Wallace Stevens. My compass and my mentor, you will be missed.


December 17, 2012

Long-vacant TWA Terminal could become boutique hotel.

Photo: John Bartelstone and Beyer Blinder Belle

In early 2011, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued a request for proposals to transform the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Terminal at JFK Airport into the centerpiece of a hotel. A few big players – including Trump and Starwood – sent representatives to tour the vacant terminal, and now the Wall Street Journal (wsj subscription required) is reporting that hotel developer Andre Balazs is in talks to develop the site. Balazs developed the Mercer Hotel in SoHo and The Standard in the Meatpacking District, and according to the Journal’s sources, the Port Authority aims to finalize a deal with him in the next few months. If the project moves forward, Saarinen's iconic building could become the lobby (with restaurants and shopping) for a 150-room hotel to be built in the space between the old TWA terminal and the new (built in 2008) JetBlue building. Completed in 1962, the TWA Terminal has been vacant since American acquired TWA in 2001. It was added to America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2003.

Photo: Gwendolyn Horton for DWR

December 10, 2012

Remembering Oscar Niemeyer.

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Oscar Niemeyer's Museum of Contemporary Art in Niterói, near Rio. Credit: Ricardo Moraes/Associated Press

“Here, then, is what I wanted to tell you of my architecture," said Oscar Niemeyer. "I created it with courage and idealism, but also with an awareness of the fact that what is important is life, friends and attempting to make this unjust world a better place in which to live.” Known for his sweeping curvaceous forms, the Brazilian architect truly did make this world a better place to live, for which we will be forever grateful. Mr. Niemeyer passed away on December 5, ten days before his 105th birthday. 

November 29, 2012

Jens Risom's Block Island retreat.

Jens Risom's Block Island Retreat by Gary Nadeau for Dwell from gary nadeau on Vimeo.

Step inside Jens Risom's Block Island home in this beautiful video from Dwell. “There’s something peaceful about the island," says Risom. "It is a unique feeling that you’re there. Not that it’s yours but you’re using it.” Learn more about this iconic designer, his thoughts on prefab and the simple summers he and his family enjoyed (and still enjoy) on the island.

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Jens Risom being interviewed by Gary Nadeau for Dwell magazine.

November 21, 2012

Craving culture? Exhibitions to see now.

Red Sun by Arthur G. Dove, 1935. Oil on canvas. On display at Amon Carter Museum. © Estate of Arthur G. Dove; The Phillips Collection

Here are just a few exhibitions happening around the country. From the Phillips Collection in Fort Worth to Eero Saarinen in Los Angeles to Studio Gang Architects in Chicago, there is richness to enjoy everywhere.


Amon Carter Museum of American Art
To See as Artists See: American Art from the Phillips Collection
Industrial Monuments: Photographs and Works on Paper from the Machine Age


Architecture and Design Museum, Los Angeles
Eero Saarinen: A Reputation for Innovation 

Pasadena Museum of California Art 
Greta Magnusson Grossman: A Car and Some Shorts 

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

You have to read George.

George Nelson posing for Herman Miller advertisement "Traveling Men," ca. 1954. Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum Archive.

At last week's Yale symposium about George Nelson, one message was clear: You have to read George. In other words, George the writer trumps George the architect, George the designer and George the teacher, combined.

For two days, scholars, design nerds, editors and Murray Moss (there is no label to define him) talked about the legacy of this American icon. Known mainly for his furniture and design work for Herman Miller, Nelson also wrote and edited for Architectural Forum, Fortune, Pencil Points, Life and McCall's, and co-authored the bestselling Tomorrow's House with Henry Wright.

Cover of November 1959 issue of Architectural Forum, where George Nelson was associate editor (1935-1943) and consulting editor (1944-1949).

Continue reading "You have to read George." »

Exploring (and slightly disagreeing with) the Finn Juhl exhibition.


Across the museum courtyard, a beautiful red and gold building foreshadows the Finn Juhl exhibition we were about to see: Furniture for the Senses at Designmuseum Danmark.


Finn Juhl's gold and purple sofa designed in 1957, shown with a coffee table he designed for professor Alf Ross in 1948. Ross was a Danish lawyer, legal philosopher and the author of Guilt, Responsibility and Punishment in which he wrote about "morality's capacity to guide human behavior." Which brings me to the question of the built-in vase in this coffee table. Are we to see the flowers as imprisoned in the tabletop and, if so, what pray tell was their crime?

Continue reading "Exploring (and slightly disagreeing with) the Finn Juhl exhibition." »

November 16, 2012

Home for the holidays…

Pulled from the pages of our November catalog, here is our 2012 holiday story. It was shot on location in Armonk, New York, in a stunning mid-century home designed by Arthur Witthoefft.


Home for the holidays…



"I feel foolish that I came outside carrying a wreath, hammer and nail," she said as they stood outside their glass house. He took the wreath from her hand, hung it on the doorknob and said, "Let the holidays begin."

Continue reading "Home for the holidays…" »

November 14, 2012

A big award for a 500-square-foot space.

Photo by Muffy Kibbey. 

Congratulations to the team at Building Lab on receiving the Grand Award 2012 from Remodeling magazine. Designers Stephen Shoup, Hide Kawato and Chris Rogers created an au pair suite out of an unused space under a garage in San Francisco, Calif. 

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Theatre Sofa and Chair and Pool Coffee Table from DWR. Photo by Muffy Kibbey.

The homeowners worked with Eric Hildebrandt at the DWR Potrero Studio to select the perfect complements to the space, including a Theatre Sofa in custom leather and the Pool Coffee Table. "It's a tiny jewel box of craftsmanship that has all the essentials of living, sleeping, eating, and bathing contained in less than 500 square feet," said the judges.

Continue reading "A big award for a 500-square-foot space." »

November 06, 2012

Form follows function – and a fabulous story.

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Le Corbusier and one of his assistants working under the light of a Lampe Gras, 1959

We are so excited to present the iconic Lampes Gras Collection, a DWR exclusive. 

This is not a lamp designed to satisfy the ego of a designer. Rather, it is the product of Bernard-Albin Gras’ passion to improve working conditions for hundreds of laborers in ordinary machine shops, research laboratories and design studios in the 1920s. His success in creating a beautiful form by reducing a lamp to its pure function made Lampe Gras an emblem of modern design in the early 20th century.

Continue reading "Form follows function – and a fabulous story. " »

October 27, 2012

Remembering John M. Johansen.

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Photo courtesy of

The masterful architect and last surviving member of the Harvard Five passed away yesterday at the age of 96. Earlier this week, we wrote about Johansen's Goodyear House, which is for sale in Darien, Conn. The passionate comments and hundreds of facebook "likes" we received on this post were heartwarming and a testament to the power of great design. Johansen's work, while at times controversial, is outstanding for its bravery and intelligence. We thank Mr. Johansen for sharing his vision with the world. Our thoughts are with his family as we remember this extraordinary man. You can read more about him in today's New York Times.

October 24, 2012



I realize that I'm three years late with this "OMG" but did you know that Homer Simpson visited the Stahl House in the 2009 season premier of The Simpsons? The episode centers around Homer being cast as a superhero in a Hollywood movie, which is how he ends up at this iconic Los Angeles house, also known as Case Study House #22, designed by Pierre Koenig.


October 23, 2012

For sale: the Goodyear House by John M. Johansen.


The only surviving member of the Harvard Five, architect John Johansen settled in Connecticut in the 1940s, along with Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, Philip Johnson and Eliot Noyes. Drawn to the New Canaan area for its open landscape, the men experimented with new materials and construction methods as well as open floor plans and indoor-outdoor living. The homes they built for themselves and their clients attracted other architects to the area, which resulted in more than 80 modern houses being built over the next two decades.


Continue reading "For sale: the Goodyear House by John M. Johansen." »

A 2.4-mile first class trip taken by an airport terminal.

When you see the circular staircase and wavy ceiling in the former Copenhagen airport terminal, it seems impossible to pick up and move such a structure. And yet, that’s exactly what was done to preserve this stunning building.

The corrugated ceiling is the original from 1939. It is made of perforated wood fiberboard adhered to cement.

For two nights in September 1999, the building was transported across the airport’s runways to a new location. Now standing 2.4 miles from its previous home, the terminal still abuts a runway and is used for arrivals and departures of a single resident: the current monarch, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II.


The circular restaurant section was moved separately due to its shape.

Continue reading "A 2.4-mile first class trip taken by an airport terminal." »