Weely Photo Challenge: In the Background

High modernism with large expanses of glass and many reflective surfaces.

The lobby of a modernist building designed by Mies Vander Rohe and built in 1959, with large glass walls and furnished with Barcelona chairs.

Three more photos — From the outside looking in through a large glass window, through the lobby and into the mailroom of an apartment house.

Looking into the lobby of an aparment building, the cross shaped columns are visible.

Looking from the inside towards the pool.

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10 comments
  1. Those chairs don’t look very inviting do they? lol

    • fojap said:

      I’ve sat in them and they’re actually reasonably comfortable. From Wikipedia:

      Philosophy and economics

      Although many architects and furniture designers of the Bauhaus era were intent on providing well-designed homes and impeccably manufactured furnishings for the “common man,” the Barcelona chair was an exception. It was designed for the Spanish Royalty to oversee the opening ceremonies of the exhibition and described by Time magazine as inhabiting “his sumptuous German pavillion.” ….despite the industrial appearance the Barcelona chair requires much hand craftsmanship.

      Current production

      Since 1953 Knoll Inc has manufactured the chair. They make the frame in two different steel configurations, chrome and stainless. The chair is almost completely hand-laboured,[4] and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s signature is stamped into each chair. Unauthorized reproductions proliferate worldwide and are sold under different marketing names.

      It doesn’t say anything about level of comfort, though.

      I’ve being trying to teach myself a little 3D modeling and looking at photo-realistic models of interiors, I’ve come to the conclusion that this must be the most common chair in the virtual world. I’m not sure why I find that amusing, though it’s probably due to its status as an “iconic” chair and the fact that it looks easy to model.

      When I first moved into the building one of my new neighbors introduced himself to me and said, “So, are you a design geek or do you work at the university?” The chairs and most of the other furnishings were designed by the building’s architect. However, everyone pretty obviously doesn’t have the same taste. Someone bought the apartment above mine and they ripped out the kitchen cabinets which were original to the building. It’s funny, because other neighbors asked me if I had the original cabinets in my unit and, when I said I did, they said I was lucky. I like them myself, but to each his own. I did replace the stove and the refrigerator, though. I’m not so sure I’d want a stove from 1960 no matter how great the design. 🙂

      I like modern design, myself. In my parallel fantasy life, I live in a house designed by Richard Neutra and drive my 65 Corvette to work at the Salk Institute.

  2. Well, maybe I will try them out. My problem with a low chair is that once down I can’t get back up. ;(
    Looked up Richard N. I looked at some images that I guess were his designs. I saw one house in a beautiful tree shaded area. Somehow I wanted to pull the drapes on most of them.

    • fojap said:

      There was a house on the corner of the street where my sister lives. It’s set back from the road on a wooded lot and my sister said that it took her a couple years to realize there was even a house there. As it happens, it was put up for sale when I was looking to buy and I looked at it. It was fascinating. The father of the family who had lived there was an amateur of architecture (a scientist I believe) and had designed it himself and literally built the entire thing by hand. The realtor described it as being “inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright,” but I would have said that it was more influenced by Neutra. It had walls of windows that looked out on the woods. I think that was possible because it was so hard to see house through the trees. In any case, at 3,000 square feet it was far more house than I needed, and I prefer an urban environment anyway. I do have to say the temptation was strong to buy it just for the pleasure of restoring it, but I’d have to have a lot more money than I do to do that.

      By the way, I’ve made drapes professionally. I believe the Villa Savoye was originally designed to have drapes. At least I’ve seen that example used to counter the argument that modernism = no drapes. My apartment had vertical blinds when I bought it. I put up a shade in one room. Window treatments of some kind are an absolute necessity because otherwise the sun beats in during the summer and the place heats up. The shade looks good to me. I’ve been thinking of putting drapes in the bedroom. I really don’t like the way the vertical blinds look, but the windows are eight feet wide and that shade had to be custom ordered. There are five windows in the living/dining area and, when I multiply the cost of the shade by five, I can’t afford it at the moment. The place was in disrepair and when I was trying to fix it up I found there was a real drawback to my love of older buildings. Nothing was a standard size and everything had to be special ordered – at a price. Even now, I had something fixed and the guy who did it replaced the base board along the floor with something that totally doesn’t match the rest of the room. Every time I walk in there, which is several times a day, I look at the spot and think to myself, “One day I’m going to get some custom mill-work made.” Then I think of all the things like that I want to do and I start feeling overwhelmed and tired. They’re all small at this stage, except for refinishing floor, something I’ve just totally given up on. I called about five companies that refinish floors, including one that advertises that it does work on historic buildings. Actually, I called them first since this is an historic building. They couldn’t do it. They wanted to sell me an entire new floor. It’s a modern building with no clear divisions between rooms, so that would be about a thousand square feet of flooring of stuff that wouldn’t match the style of the building. I can’t tell you what I had to do to find linoleum for the kitchen. Everyone has this crazy idea that linoleum is “bad” for some reason. I think people have linoleum and vinyl confused. Linoleum is actually considered a “green” building material and I finally found it on a site that specializes in that.

      Okay, I’m going to resist telling you about my attempts to find handles for the closet doors.

      The house on the corner was fixed-up by a family that appears to have a lot of kids. I haven’t seen the inside, but they appear to have done a nice job. It’s a great house if you have kids. For the price in that neighborhood, its fabulous now that it’s fixed up. If I had the capital, I would have been tempted to do it as a form of speculation.

      I was about to write something, but I think you’ve given me an idea for today’s blog post.

  3. You are quite diverse. From someone who was going to leave here you are just an astounding wealth of knowledge. I have virtually no drpares in my home. Give me the light!!

    • fojap said:

      Like a lot of people, I went off to college having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I guess where I took a different turn is that when it came time to declare a major, I had no idea what I wanted to study and I dropped out of college to find out what “the real world” was like. That led me to a series of odd jobs trying to find my way. I fell into the decorative painting more or less as an accident. Making drapes came from that when I happened to have clients that had be design a whole room rather than just painting the walls. I went back to school at night during this time.

      I accidentally trashed my career when I got married and moved to Canada. Ever since I’ve come back, I’ve been trying to get a decent career started again, although I’ve been having no luck. It’s been quite a while now and I’ve gotten to the age where I think it’s not going to happen. That’s why I’ve just started concentrating on my own personal projects, traveling and things like that.

      • I have a similar story.My degree and profession was painting and doing tromp l’oeil for a few years but children and divorce changed my past. We do what we can !

    • fojap said:

      Oh my! You did trompe l’oeil too?!? So did I!

      • I LOVED IT! I would still do it if I had a partner.

  4. Top 3 shots; very stylish looking space. Could be good for a magazine spread.

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