Recently, the Jewish Museum presented the first U.S. exhibition on the work of French designer and architect Pierre Chareau (1883–1950). On show were mainly furniture and lighting fixtures, as well as designs for Maison de Verre, the glass house completed in Paris in 1932, in collaboration with Dutch architect Bernard Bijvoet (1889-1979) and craftsman metalworker Louis Dalbet.
Chareau’s designs were complemented by pieces from his personal art collection, since both he and his wife Dollie were active collectors.
But I only had eyes for these sleek, stylish pieces of furniture and fixtures created in the 1920s, yet so modern they could have come right out of a Manhattan penthouse overlooking Central Park.
Take your pick:
Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design exhibition ran between November 2016 – March 2017. You can read and browse through more photos on The Jewish Museum website.
wiki: ”the building’s Art Deco spire was designed to be a mooring mast and depot for dirigibles. An elevator between the 86th and 102nd floors would carry passengers after they checked in on the 86th floor. The idea proved impractical and dangerous, due to the powerful updrafts caused by the building itself, as well as the lack of mooring lines tying the other end of the craft to the ground.”
Absolutely true and downright crazy, something right out of Les Cités obscures by François Schuiten. Imagine for a moment living in a universe where, instead of the subway, dirigibles were a regular means of public transport; and, instead of holes in the ground, masts of skyscrapers played the role of mooring stations 100 floors above ground. Going to work with the head in the clouds – how much more fun that would be!
With rows of red brick family houses and small apartment buildings, modest and slightly rundown, this part of Beverly Road is not particularly pretty.
But, then, one comes across this marvelous Artdeco tower on the edge of a seemingly triangular structure. Later, I found out that it is a department store, opened in 1932 with Eleanor Roosevelt being the guest of honour, keynote speaker and first customer in what was to be Ms. Roosevelt’s last public appearance before her husband became President.
Until then, a few snapshots from the legendary, ultra chic Waldorf Astoria that closed on 28th February for renovation. Its new owners, a Chinese insurance company, intend to convert most of its rooms to luxury condominiums. While the exterior is entirely landmarked, this is not the case with some interior parts. Hopefully, all public spaces and their exquisite ArtDeco elements including the hotel’s extensive archive of photographs, menus and other historical paraphernalia will be preserved.
How is it to work here every weekday? Can staff still pose in admiration at the elegant art deco murals, marquetry and brass details? Surely there comes a time when the excitement of the first encounter fades, wielding to a seen-it-all-before blasé spirit. When the eye looks but forgets to see. I’m glad I don’t work in the Chrysler Building. Wish I will never have enough of this magnificent lobby.
August 30th, 2016
PS: Surprisingly little information can be found on the internet about the artist of the mural that covers the entire ceiling and upper parts of some walls – quite dissapointing given that, when created in 1930, it was considered the largest in the world.
Edward Trumbull was born in Michigan and raised in Connecticut. He attended the Art Students’ League of New York and studied in London under the noted muralist, Frank Brangwyn. Trumbull’s style as a muralist was traditional, and he was best known for his ease of bright and varied colors. A long time resident of Pittsburgh, Trumbull painted panels for the Heinz Administration Building in Pittsburgh and used “The Three Rivers” that converge at the city as the theme for the ceiling of the lobby of the Chrysler Building in New York. Two of his murals, located in the South Office building of the Pennsylvania Capitol Complex, are smaller versions of the murals he painted for buildings in Pittsburgh.