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Charles and Ray Eames introduce their legendary lounge chair on daytime TV, 1956
09.09.2014
02:32 pm

Topics:
Art
Design
Television

Tags:
Ray Eames
furniture
Charles Eames


 
If Charles and Ray Eames weren’t the greatest figures in American design in their era, they may have been the ones that most encapsulated the American twentieth century. Their careers flourished after World War II, and they made important contributions to the areas of architecture, design, industrial design, photography, and film. Their lounge chair is an undisputed icon of American design. After already having introduced a series of fiberglass and plastic resin chairs and wire mesh chairs for Herman Miller, the Eames introduced the lounge chair in 1956 on the Home Show, hosted by Arlene Francis. (It’s common to refer to this appearance as having happened on the Today Show, but I don’t see any justification for that.) 
 

Charles and Ray Eames sitting on their creation
 
In the interview, Charles mentions a movie about their home, known to all architecture lovers (including Ice Cube) as “Case Study House No. 8.” That movie is linked below in addition to the Today Show clip. Impressively, the music was composed by Hollywood composer Elmer Bernstein.

In that vein, Charles discusses a project he’s doing with the great director Billy Wilder, almost certainly a reference to the montage Charles did for The Spirit of St. Louis, but it’s worth pointing out that the connections between Wilder and the Eameses are extensive.

 

 
Towards the end of the clip Charles plays a cute little movie of a man constructing an Eames lounge chair on his own. Using time-lapse photography, the man skids and slides around with unnatural speed and the chair begins to take form. Once he is done, he sits in the chair and enjoys a brief reverie, during which the image of a woman materializes on his freshly built ottoman and then vanishes, after which the man begins to disassemble the furniture.

Not to be too unkind about this, but that movie cries out for a psychological reading, methinks. I mean, that woman may as well be Ray Eames, right? Ray shows up briefly on the Today Show set but then vanishes too, and at the time Charles was given the lion’s share of credit for the couple’s creations. Arlene Francis even repeatedly emphasizes that Ray is “standing behind”/“supporting” Charles. After stating that her role is too look for the “big idea” and to “look critically at the work”—core elements of an artistic persona, both—Francis inanely says that it’s important to have “a critical viewpoint of your husband’s work, so that he can improve along with it—otherwise he might be stagnant or stand still.” 
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
It’s impractical, it’s ugly & rich people love it: Behold the furniture of Italian Radical design!
07.14.2014
11:22 am

Topics:
Design

Tags:
furniture
Italian


 
Before you get your knickers in a twist and deliver unto me your undergrad thesis on the subjectivity of beauty, rest assured—this furniture is supposed to be ugly, or rather it is intended to be “post-ugly.” The abominations you see here are from a new book, 1968: Radical Italian Furniture, and it’s a mind-bendingly vibrant tour through the late 60’s Italian avant-garde. This is a design movement in which concepts such as “good design” and ‘taste” were actively spurned.

In addition to the jarring aesthetics of Italian Radical Design, you may notice that a lot of what you see here barely resembles anything we might recognize as “furniture,” and what does appears to be completely incompatible with the domestic spaces of actual people—it’s all better understood in the context of art, rather than of utility. If you’re wondering what museum is charged with curating such a hypnotic, aesthetically unholy, fundamentally impractical collection of furniture, you need look no further than those steadfast guardians of the fugly, those perpetual patrons of the hallowed and hideous—the insanely rich. Every piece you see here is owned by a man named Dakis Joannou,a Greek septugenarian billlionaire who has managed to remain unscathed by his country’s economic crisis.

Imagine that.
 

 
Besides his filthy riches, Dakis Joannou is known for two things—his enormous private collection of contemporary art and furniture, and his possession of the ugliest fucking boat in the universe. The “mega-yacht,” over 39 meters long, is christened “Guilty,” and its design is inspired by World War One era British Naval camouflage. (Perhaps Joannou is worried some one might try to blow him out of the water?) Curiously, if you look at Guilty from above, you’ll see a giant picture of Iggy Pop—not the artist that usually comes to mind when one hears the phrase, “yacht rock.”

Guilty was co-designed by some Italian yacht designer and contemporary artist Jeff Koons. Koons and Joannou have maintained a relationship since the mid-80s, when the yachting enthusiast purchased Koons’ Total Equilibrium Tank for for $2,700. The piece, by the way, is three basketballs in an aquarium. No word if there are any Koons originals stowing away aboard Guilty, but the main deck “living room” is decorated in (you guessed it), Italian Radical Design.
 

 
Shockingly, Joannou has received some criticism from his countrymen, who believe he’s more interested in being an art collector than actually supporting the arts, especially in his native Greece. Despite the tragic state of the Greek economy, Joannou stands by a mission statement that conveniently absolves him from any funding responsibilities, saying:

“Support isn’t helping anybody. In the beginning, a lot of people thought that’s what I was doing, and they would ask for funding for this or that. I said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m not into that.’ It’s about creating a platform.”

 

 
I wouldn’t worry though—Joannou assures us he is helping in other ways. For example, two years ago he put on a show entitled, “Animal Spirits,” a reference to the theories of “soft capitalist” economist John Maynard Keynes. Keynes believed that a man’s “animal spirit” compromises his rationality, that much of what we do is motivated by “spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical expectations.”  Oh, and the show featured Joannou’s own shitty drawings. From the mission statement:

The economic crisis faced by the world today is not only extensive and multifaceted, but its implications for our future are profound. “Animal Spirits,” the collection of drawings from the Dakis Joannou Drawing Collection presented in the Hydra Slaughterhouse, is intended to invoke comment and trigger reflection on our current global dilemma.

 

 
It goes on to say that the exhibit intends to “[provoke] acknowledgment of the looming international crisis,” leaving one to imagine how easy it must be to avoid political provocation whilst captaining the world’s ugliest fucking yacht.. The Italian Radical collection is not to my taste (to say the least), but it’s weird and exciting and dangerous, and any retching it might inspire doesn’t diminish its artistic and historical significance. It may be a little more difficult to “expropriate the expropriators” when they’re bobbing on a lurid, nautical Versailles, but I think we can still do it.

Come on comrades, let’s commandeer the Guilty—for art, for justice, and for ugly, uncomfortable chairs!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Via yatzer

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Amazing ‘sketchy’ furniture will make you look twice!
12.20.2013
05:11 am

Topics:
Art
Design

Tags:
furniture
Daigo Fukawa

fukawa 1
 
I will freely admit I got chumped. When these images of Daigo Fukawa’s Rough Sketch Products furniture started blowing up the design blogs over the last few days, I figured I was looking at photos of models digitally superimposed onto sketchbook pages, and, accordingly, I thought “meh.” But no, this is actual furniture, made of bent wire to resemble scribbles. Via Bored Panda:

Usually it takes a long way for a sketch to be turned into an actual product. Japanese designer Daigo Fukawa just might change all that, however, with his series of furniture called “Rough Sketch Products” that look like they’ve just been transferred directly from his sketchbook to reality. The project was submitted as Fukuhawa’s senior thesis exhibition at Tokyo University of the Arts.

Made from cleverly arranged wire and photographed with a perfectly blank background, his various benches and chairs trick our perception of dimensions. Suddenly, 2D meets 3D, and the people sitting on these unique scribbled creations seem to be levitating  in the air. It might not be the comfiest furniture out there, but it will definitely put a smile on your face.

It blew my mind all the more to learn that that this incredibly executed stuff is student work! I can’t imagine it’s something anyone not big into hairshirts would care to actually sit on for very long, but regardless, I now have a new and totally unrealistic dream: when I make my first million, I will hire Fukawa to remake a room in my house after a Cy Twombly painting.
 
fukawa 2
 
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fukawa 5
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment