Tag Archives: Eames

The ABC of Architects

30 Jan

As a follow-up to my previous incredibly geeky primer on architecture, I have to share this wonderful video on The ABC of Architects from Ombu Architecture.  So fun.

Who’s your favorite and why?


Smart Design for Mad Men

26 Jun

As many of you know, I started my professional life in advertising, which may help explain my obsession with both Mad Men and mid-century design.  I ran across this post from the Herman Miller blog and admit to letting out a sigh of nostalgia for that world.  My alma mater, Leo Burnett, is featured below from wall-art in the Singapore office.  Enjoy!

Still smarting from the end of this season of Mad Men? (And can we make it through another year without being able to spot the mid-century modern pieces popping up in Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce?) While you wait, get your design fix from a few modern-day ad agencies that Don Draper — or perhaps his design-loving wife Megan — would be proud to call home.

Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the multidisciplinary creative agency Parliament is stocked with pieces by Charles and Ray Eames, including Eames molded plastic side chairs and Eames molded plywood chairs. (Photo: Parliament)

Eames molded plastic side chairs stand at attention in Athens, Greece, at Graphics Garage. (Photo: Graphics Garage)

Designed by Ministry of Design, the Singapore office of Leo Burnett boasts a giant graffiti-style wall portrait of founder Leo Burnett himself. (Photo: Ministry of Design)

Eames molded plywood chairs and coffee tables play nicely with the Aeron office chairs in the studio space of Big Giant, also in Portland. (Photo: The Beege blog)

The airy Boulder, Colorado, office of Crispin Porter + Bogusky features bike-friendly parking. (Photo: This Ain’t No Disco)

A pair of Eames molded plywood chairs welcome guests to the Sydney, Australia, branch of legendary advertising agency Ogilvy. (Photo: Australia Design Review)

A mix of Eames Aluminum Group Management Chairs, Ronald McDonald heads, horse-shaped lighting, foot sculptures, and ball pits make Chandelier Creative one of New York City’s most remarkable workspaces. (Photos: NOTCOT)

It Really Isn’t Easy Being Green…

12 Feb

MilkWeed:  The Eames – Alive and Well and Green

MilkWeed: The Eames   Alive and Well and Green

(I wrote a post a while ago titled ‘It’s not easy being green’ about the green walls we were painting in the family room. I love the layers in the word green. Besides it being my favorite color, I like that it also means nature, environmentalism, new, fresh, all of which aren’t easy to achieve in a home. It doesn’t help that I have a black thumb instead of a green one.  Especially since I want a green one so much. Which brings me to this post, courtesy of DesignMilk about greenery in the mid-century home ala the Eames.  Enjoy. -Brandy)

On my first academic trip to Los Angeles over ten years ago I visited the Eames House  in Pacific Palisades. Frozen in time, preserved in the way Ray Eames left it  upon her death in 1988, I peered through its steel framed windows to find it  standing still in design and time except for one thing: the plants.

Charles and Ray may no longer breathe life on  this earth, but their plants still do. The greenery is what made the rooms stay  alive, filled with moisture, fresh air and change. Without them, time would have  truly stood still; with the plants’ continuing presence in the place, change  slowly occurs each day — its long continual metamorphosis not seen until one  returns after a period of months, years. But they maintain; they live.

Lately the Eames have been the talk of the town getting credit and attention  well deserved, particularly because of their inclusion in the LACMA California Modern, 1930-1965: “Living in a Modern Way”show open now until June 3 and the recent documentary Eames: The Architect and The  Painter. The entire contents of their living room has been moved  temporarily to LACMA for the exhibition, giving their home some much-needed  downtime for preservation. All the wonderful knick knacks, the library, the rugs  and furniture have been cataloged and photographed and now can be observed in a  gallery, except for the plants. There are artificial replacements in the show  (and I’m not sure where the plants are right now — hopefully just vacationing  somewhere sunny,) but without their presence amongst the objects in the exhibit,  the home now feels expired.

MilkWeed: The Eames   Alive and Well and Green

The greenery in the Eames house is as integral as the glass, the wood  paneling, the paintings, and the objects Charles and Ray collected along side  them. Without it, the home’s straight industrial lines would terminate, cross,  divide in an unsettling way. Ray realized this too and so the home was filled  with greenery of varying scale.

MilkWeed: The Eames   Alive and Well and Green

Whether in a permanent gravel bed continually filled with plants in pots or  in the large dried tumbleweed collection that hung from the loft ceilings  (below), the plants were likely chosen for their broad need leaves and the  shadows that they made whether on the interior or on the translucent windows  visible from the exterior at night.

MilkWeed: The Eames   Alive and Well and Green

You can view the room without the greenery via the time-lapse of the room’s de- and re-construction at LACMA.  The plants were the first to leave and the last to be replaced. The room without  their inclusion is barren, cold and still. The large scale of the room and the  relatively small scale of its furniture seem at odds with each other. The  cracked and worn tile is more noticeable. The greenery makes the difference.

So whatever way you choose to incorporate green in your home, whether it’s  via ornate modernist pots, flea market finds, or via standard clay pots from  your nursery (they were good enough for the Eames), the Eames have shown that it  makes a home literally alive, lived-in, loved and balanced. Artificial just  doesn’t do it justice.

MilkWeed: The Eames   Alive and Well and Green

Top photo by Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times, all others by  Tim Street-Porter, Prints  and Photos Division.

Top 10 Mid-Century Decor Must-Haves

31 Jan

Think of this as the David Letterman list (am I dating myself?) of the top ten things I think say mid-century design in a home. When I think about my hopes and dreams for this house, only half of it is structural. The other half is decor…furniture, object d’art, accessories. So I started making a list for myself that I thought I would share it with you, dear readers. This is an ‘in my opinion’ list. My opinion. Brandy’s. It’s as eclectic as I am (i.e. mis-matched and slightly askew).  And I am sure I will miss something that you personally love and think is a ‘must-have’. I have no Florence Knoll or Le Corbusier or Mies Van der Rohe, all of which I love but I had to make some practical choices based on my own home. So pile it on in the comments.  Tell me what you love too and share it with other mid-century crazies enthusiasts like us.

Whether you buy an original or a replica or a used piece, there are many ways to fit these into your home based on your budget. (I know there are soaring debates about authentic versus replica, but let’s just say I don’t judge. Some replicas are quality; some not so much. Everyone needs to do whatever they need to do within their means and values.)

10. Flokati rug:  Ebay vintage 4×6 $40, New 4×6 $139

Flokati Rug 70 x 140cm

9. George Nelson bubble lamp:  Original 16″ vintage on ebay $450, New authentic from Design Within Reach $329

8. Catherineholm enamelware: Must buy it vintage on places like Etsy or Ebay. Never seen one out in the thrift store wild, but I have to believe they are out there. The set below is priced at $380 on Etsy, which feels a little high to me.  You can find good pieces upwards of $50 for the smaller ones.

7. Some kind of owl something: Easy peasy. Dig an old macrame out of your mom’s attic or pick up this slightly kitchsy but wonderful owl wallpaper by UK designer Abigail Edwards.

Pinned Image

6. Noguchi coffee table:  Authentic from Herman Miller for $1399 or a replica from Rex Kelly for $349.

5. George Nelson platform bench: 5′ at Design Within Reach $779 or 5′ replica at Lexington Modern for $349

4. Eames lounge chairHerman Miller $4499 or replica at Kardiel for $1249 or another replica at Rex Kelly for $849.

Eames Lounge Chair

3. Eero Saarinen Tulip chair and table: From Design Within Reach $1807 for the table and $1440 for each chair or from Designer Seating on Amazon $1130 for the set.39" Eero Saarinen Style Tulip Dining Table with White Marble Top and 4 Tulip Side Chairs

2. Danish teak credenza: These are everywhere but not cheap.  If you are lucky, you will find a decent inexpensive one in a thrift store or you can look for them on Ebay (like the one below for $1750) though some are $200-500 if you are willing to do a little work.  Also check your local craigslist.  You never know.

1. Eames fiberglass shell chair: What can I say? For me this is the iconic must-have piece in any color in any style. I love them beyond words, especially the rocking chair, which I would want in celery and can only find at Modernica for $375.  Not too bad.  Rex Kelly also has some replicas, a $99 side chair I just ordered for the new desk, so I will let you know how that works out. Stay tuned.

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Mid-Century Modern Kids

28 Jul

 The drool-worthy Dwell magazine recently had an issue devoted to family living spaces and that got me thinking about how we treat our kids’ rooms. There is so much focus on the living, dining and family rooms coupled with an almost pathological obsession with kitchen space that we forget entirely the wee ones and their need for cool rooms too. Plastic Barbie dwellings and the gazillion stuffed animals that are kid musts can live alongside some pretty swank furniture that doesn’t make mom cringe.

Our twins Hailey and Hannah (who have also been browsing through Dwell…way to go, girls!) are in-love with these hanging beds. We are all convinced Brett could make these and they would transform the girls room into a modern Wonderland. Unfortunately, I can’t find a link to the article, but Brett scanned the photo from the magazine for me. It doesn’t give any DIY instructions, but I think it couldn’t be too hard to figure out. (Right, Brett?  Right?)

Courtesy of the blog Babble (and Michelle!), here’s great stuff to taking mid-century modern style into the nursery and kids’ rooms. Love the baby tulip and Eames chairs.

From the blog Happiness Is, a room that would suit any discriminating teen!

And getting old school, this is an image from the original Eames coat rack, obviously with family in mind:

And finally, as a fun DIY project, I could totally see painting these Ikea spice racks a bright color and using them for kids’ books or even magazines and books in a family room. (Did I just digress into book storage again?)

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