For our third special we are little bit more daring and present you something kitschy: a midcentury floor vase in mint condition. It features a for the time and area, probably West Germany, typical pattern. The vase is approximately 40cm high, 18,5cm wide and weighs 2 kilos.
When a famous designer and architect concludes his life by stating that his principal contribution was the adaptation of the work of older architects to the needs of modern society, this says a lot about the person. Not a sheer egomaniac, but a man who loved to collaborate and to develop ideas of others further. We are speaking about the Hungarian designer and architect Marcel Breuer.
He was born in Pécs, at that time Austria-Hungary, in 1902. At the age of 18 he left his home for artistic training. After a short stint in Vienna, he studied at the newly-formed Bauhaus in Weimar. There he met his mentor Walter Gropius, who from an early stage saw his potential and soon made him head of the Carpentry shop.
At the time the Bauhaus changed location to Dessau, he shortly stayed in Paris, but soon joined the older faculty members like Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky or Paul Klee. He was fascinated with mass production and experimented with tubular steel furniture inspired by bicycle handlebars. He designed here one of his most famous furniture pieces, the Model B3 Chair, better known as Wassily Chair. Contrary to popular believe the chair was not made for the artist, but he was one of the first recipients.
At the beginning of the Nazi regime, he relocated to London and worked there for Jack Pritchard at the Isokon company. Here he experimented with bent and formed plywood and created another well known furniture design, the Long Chair, which is reminiscent of Alvar Aalto. Between 1935 and 1937 he worked with the English modernist F. R. S. Yorke and designed a few houses with him.
He followed Gropius' call to Harvard's Graduate School of Design, where he was appointed chairman, and taught and worked there with him. Under his students were for example Paul Rudolph, John Johansen, and Philip Johnson. In 1941, he broke with his mentor and set up a practice in New York.
Apparently his intent was to get out Gropius shadow and not only create small buildings or furniture apartments. The interest in his practice grew with a demonstration house, which was set up in the MoMA garden in 1949. After that he designed for example the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris with Pier Luigi Nervi and Bernard Zehrfuss or the Whitney Museum in New York with Hamilton P. Smith. He retired from active practice in 1976 and died five years later in Manhattan.
Some cities are culturally more fructuous than others and that has not got a lot to do with size or proximity. A prime example for such a city is Düsseldorf. Over the last decades there were always breeding grounds for artists. From the late 70's to the early 80's the hot spot for artists and musicians was the Ratinger Hof. A role and place, which is now taken by the Salon des Amateurs at the Kunsthalle.
Under the guidance of Detlef Weinrich, a.k.a. Toulouse Low Trax, a lot of young artists emerged from this night club, a particular one being Jan Schulte. He is a jack of many trades and has apparently for each one another moniker. He operates under his given name, but also Wolf Müller for his Balearic side, Bufiman for his housier projects, Diskoking Burnhart McKoolksi and Goofy Man for his edits and also collaborates with Christian Pannenborg as Montezumas Rache and with Cass as Wolf Müller & Cass.
With each of these monikers he covers a different part of electronic music, but all are unified by his interest for rhythm and percussion. This interest was originally sparked by him being a break dancer and the drive to know, where the breaks originally came from. Because of this he started to produce his first breakbeats.
This quest still leads him in his productions, always experimenting and searching for new and untypical sounds, which leads to unique and organic productions. So far he has released on labels like Versatile, International Feel Recordings, Emotional Response and most significantly on Themes For Great Cities, a label from Düsseldorf run by Rearview Radio.
His curiosity also shows in his DJ-sets, which can range from rather typical electronic dance music to obscure drums from Ghana to cheesy Italo-Pop, always able to surprise his audience.
Print, as a medium, was declared dead in the last decade, but for smaller, rather specific publications quite the contrary seems to be true. In last year's Christmas calendar the alternative interior magazine Apartamento was featured and each of the previous calendars had their share of magazines.
This year we proudly present you Space Magazine, which was founded in 2014 by the Danish agency Moon. They describe the magazine as an interior and culture biannual about the universal and sometimes extravagant subject of living. Thereby combines frank photography and writing, which leads to unique mix of interviews, reportages and portfolios about design and interior.
The magazines has already reached its fourth issue and contrary to many other contemporaries uses glossy paper and a staple binding. So far they featured the fashion brothers Andreas & Kostas Murkudis, the designer Ana Kras, the director Tomas Alfredson, the designer Kim Jones, the architect Sophie Hicks and many more.
Repetition is proverbial the mother of learning or wisdom. An artist, who took this to another extreme, was the American minimalist Donald Judd. All his life he fought that categorization, but in retrospective is seen as its biggest pioneer.
He was born in 1928 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri and served from 1946 to 1947 in the army. A year later, he began studying and first earned a degree in philosophy at the Columbia University School of General Studies. Around the same time he began painting and additionally started to take evening classes at the Art Students League of New York.
After his first solo exhibition in 1957, he started to move away from painting as he got more interested in space and saw the limits in classical painting or sculpture. This thought process peaked in his seminal theoretical work Specific Objects, released in 1964. At the same time he started to create his first boxes and used humble materials such as metals, industrial plywood, concrete and color-impregnated Plexiglas.
These materials and forms occupied him for the next thirty years. He countlessly repeated them and thereby explored space, surface, volume and, as aforementioned, form. In 1968 he bought on 101 Spring Street a five-story building, an abandoned factory, which became his home, studio, and permanent exhibition space.
As his works got bigger and he personally wanted some time out from the hectic city, he bought in 1979, after annual trips to Baja California, land with abandoned U.S. Army buildings in Marfa, Texas. Here he created some of his biggest installations and also helped the small town to international art-fame until today.
Our treasure hunt continues and this time we make a step further into homeware. For the second special this year, we present vintage candleholders. The holders are made from German silver by the company Vogelsang & Kühn. They feature a practical broader cap, that the wax does not drip on the ground. All come with the candle presented.
That art has the power to overcome or deal with personal problems or situations is a well known fact. For example, rockstars sing about their heartaches and a painter might deal with his personal issues. But rarely cinema or film is seen to have such quality. So it is quite interesting to see the film Mister Lonely by Harmony Korine.
The writer of KIDS fell into a dark, personal hole after directing Gummo and Julien Donkey Boy, dealing with drug addiction and loosing all interest in film-making and the subject of this film and of course working on it drew him back. As he puts it, he has a general attraction to obsessive characters, who are marginalized by society and enjoy living their life as someone else.
The main story follows a Michael Jackson impersonator, who meets while working in a retirement home in Paris, a Marilyn Monroe double. He follows her to a place, set in the Scottish Highlands, where only celebrity impersonators live. Additionally there is a side story about nuns and missionaries, who work in the jungle with the help of an airplane.
The film features an international ensemble cast with Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Anita Pallenberg, the director Werner Herzog and many more. Despite being a financial flop at the box office and receiving bad reviews under the aforementioned circumstances this is a more than interesting film to watch.
A regular question regarding interior design is, where one draws the line between kitsch and classy or even timeless. Often the impact of design is only seen in the long run, but what should one think of a design collective stylistically described as a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price. Of course we are talking about the Memphis Group.
The story of the design group is strongly linked to the Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, who was before already involved in Studio Alchemia. Following similar principles, he founded the Memphis Group in 1981 to break with the rules of good design at that time and the credo Form Follows Function. To do so, Ettore, at the time already in his 60s, surrounded himself with younger designers. Next to its founder, the collective comprised Alessandro Mendini, Martine Bedin, Andrea Branzi, Aldo Cibic, Michele de Lucchi, Nathalie du Pasquier, Michael Graves, Hans Hollein, Arata Isozaki, Shiro Kuromata, Matteo Thun, Javier Mariscal, George Sowden, Marco Zanini, and the journalist Barbara Radice.
The name of the group stems from the Bob Dylan song Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, which was on repeat at the group's initial meeting. Design-wise, they took their inspiration from Art Deco and Pop Art, and contrary to their zeitgeist wanted to bring in colors and patterns. Additionally they moved away from traditional materials and made a blend of high and low culture with their use of materials, colors and patterns. The collective disbanded in 1987.
The impact of the Memphis Group can be seen today, as it inspired a lot designers of other fields such as Christian Dior's Fall/Winter 2011 Haute Couture Collection or adidas sneakers. For example, Karl Lagerfeld once was a big collector and furnished his entire apartment in Monaco with Memphis pieces.
Fashion often used skateboarding to promote a certain youthfulness, most of the time not credible. But over the last years, the boundaries between skateboarding and high fashion blurred with brands like Supreme, Palace, Dime or celebrities wearing Trasher T-Shirts and Hoodies. So skateboarding, in its broadest sense, has become fashionable.
This being said, it is interesting to see skaters with a different approach, where skating and having fun are still the main focus. A prime example for such a skateboarder is the American Chris "Mango" Milic. He is originally from Arizona, but now resides in New York City. He has made a name for himself with his quirky and entertaining parts in videos like It's A Secret or Life Is A Goodie.
What makes him stand out, is on the one hand his skating, that does not only consist of bangers, but is very technical and playful, mixed with goofy clips of him and his friends and Nintendo game sequences. Next to his skating, he likes, as he puts it, to make things. So he also makes art, as one can see on his tumblr, and is very interested in music.
His taste in music is quite refreshing as he used Prince or Blood Orange for his video parts. This gets more obvious in his track selection for the Jenkem Magazine mix series, where the likes of Brian Eno, Björk or Ryuichi Sakamoto are blended together.