Here’s another preview of dealers you can expect to find at Downtown Modernism next Sunday on June 30th:
Ambianic is a San Diego based treasure trove of authentic mid-century collectibles. The vintage shop prides itself on finding pristine originals of both the most prominent and more obscure designers of the era. You might even find a few fanciful pieces to give your home a distinctive twist, like a vintage leather suitcase or a delightfully shaggy rug.
Arroyo Artifacts has more than one motive for buying and selling beautiful furniture. After all, is there anything more environmentally-conscious than re-commissioning something used? By offering up a collection of rare vintage furniture and antiques, Arroyo Modern shows customers how to decorate their homes in the “greenest” way possible.
Thanks to my parents, who saw early on the value of works by Hans Wegner and his peers, I grew up surrounded with beautiful mid-century modern furniture. I spent hours as a child in our Papa Bear Chair listening to my father’s jazz albums. I obsessed alongside my mother as she debated the different wool samples with which she would ultimately reupholster the Wegner rocker – her second chair of choice – while listening to records in our living room. These items defined our home and, ultimately, defined my aesthetic in decor.
While Wegner ruled supreme, the designer who really pulled our house together with his amazing art and accessories was Bjorn Wiinblad. Wiinblad might not be the most recognizable name of the time, but his work exemplifies Danish mid-century style, and my parents were obsessed.
We had his iconic three dimensional face vase and wall plaques- faces painted with psychedelic swirls and cheeks dotted with circles of color, their pert noses pinched out and up. There were salt dishes with 19th-century-inspired line drawings of Shakespearean scenes, and serving bowls depicting the signs of the zodiac.
What I loved most were the two framed Wiinblad posters that led to our basement. One showed a woman playing a tuba with her toes. The other, a woman strumming her hair like the strings of a violin, featured the words “Spil Selv” written in a bold font along the bottom. The images were sexy, silly, colorful, and alive. Like all of his signature images, they were pure whimsy and total joy. When I say I stared at the posters for hours, well, that’s no joke.
Now an adult, I have two Wiinblad posters of my own (purchased by my mother on a trip back to Denmark some thirty years after her first visit), which I had framed and prominently displayed in my apartment in New York. I also have the little salt dishes that I so coveted, along with some trivets. One stunning over-sized platter features an image of a bird in the hand, which will be my next tattoo. While my mother might not love the idea of me getting another tattoo, she can’t deny she is responsible for passing on the obsession.
Yes, I love the sentimentality of it all, and the Wiinblad pieces wouldn’t fill my apartment if I didn’t adore them on their own. But for me, the real take away is that having these special, if somewhat obscure, pieces makes my MCM-adorned apartment feel like a home. Ever since the rebirth of the MCM movement, while I felt proud to be from a family who saw the future, I have been aware of how sterile the look can be when people decorate with too many ubiquitous looks. Finding these special and unique items is what really pumps up the “wow” factor. Not everything has to have the most popular designer’s tag on it. But everything should make you feel joyful. That, to me, is what Danish mid-century style is all about.
Alec Holland is a writer and decorator in New York City. See more on his blog about design, style tricks, and great household finds.
This vintage reseller/ restoration vendor offers an eclectic selection of twentieth century institutional, business, and industrial furnishings, including tanker desks, filing cabinets, storage pieces, and a range of vintage seating. Their products offer a rare look into a range of 20th century American heritage.
Another unique mix, Material Environment offers everything from art deco artwork to mid-century modern furniture and accessories. Their collection even offers a bit of eco-conscious contemporary designs for more twenty-first-century tastes.
A well-established Los Angeles storefront, Reform Gallery prides itself on collecting one-of-a-kind pieces from both famous mid-century designers and lesser-known artists of equal talent. With a specialty in California Modernism, the store not only sells vintage goods, it also helps to maintain Modernist traditions by hosting a variety of local art shows and events.
Downtown Modernism is all about rare finds and rare opportunities. That’s why we’ve worked with some leading vintage dealers for a selection that’s out of this world! Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the vintage modern vendors you can expect to find at the event on June 30th.
SHOPCLASS is organized by three unique individuals – Ellen, an importer of rare Dutch modern designs; Sally, an interior designer; and Jeff, a master of renovations. Together, they offer a distinctive mix of rare imports, design oddities, and refurbished treasures.
Amsterdam Modern is bringing out loads of mid-century modern imports straight from Amsterdam. This is a rare chance to get your hands on some of the finest modernist designs out of Europe.
Usually, this pop-up shop is only open for two weeks during Palm Springs Modernism Week. Lucky for you, Ken Erwin has agreed to bring out some of his exclusive pieces for Downtown Modernism.
Recently featured in Interior Design Magazine, You Tube shows us how to turn an empty helicopter hangar into the modern production office of our dreams. We’ve featured some of our favorite shots below, but you can see more, along with the full magazine article, on Interior Design’s website.
YouTube Space Los Angeles was designed by HLW International and all images are the property of Interior Design Magazine.
Don’t Miss the Hammer Museum’s Exclusive Exhibition and Lectures on A. Quincy Jones and Modern Living
Next Tuesday, the second in a series of lectures on Modernist architecture and lifestyle in Los Angeles will take place at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. The lectures are planned in conjunction with a temporary exhibit that is not to be missed: A. Quincy Jones, Building for Better Living.
Tuesday’s lecture, “MODERN PLANS, MODERN SYSTEMS, MODERN LIVING,” discusses how modern designs reinvented domestic life, home planning, and architecture, with an emphasis on A. Quincy Jones’s work in this arena. The speaker, Cory Bucker, is a practicing architect and author of A. Quincy Jones, published by Phaidon Press in 2002. Four additional lectures on modern living will take place in the coming weeks. See them all on the Hammer Museum website.
The exhibit itself, which will remain in place through September 8, 2013, is a retrospective of A. Quincy Jones’s work and pays special attention to the unique collaborative nature of his practice. Go to hammer.ucla.edu to learn more. Below are a few photos of some works that are highlighted in the exhibit.
Über talented Greta Grossman (1906-1999) pioneered her way through decades and across continents as an international designer of lighting, furniture, and architecture. Starting off as a young go-getter in the late 1920s, Grossman completed a year-long apprenticeship in Sweden and was awarded a scholarship to Konstfack, the renowned Stockholm arts institution. At Konstfack she became a master of drawing and concentrated her original design work on furniture, textiles, and ceramics.
In 1933, having successfully completed her fellowship at Konstfack, Grossman received second place for furniture design from the Stockholm Craft Association, becoming the first woman to receive an award in that category. She then opened Studio, a combined store and workshop with one of her former classmates and achieved another major feat – she was the first woman to open a furniture store in Stockholm.
Rare three panel folding screen in walnut and metal. Produced by Glenn of California, 1952. Source: www.design-milk.com
Grossman remained prolific during the 1930s on the Swedish and European design and architectural scene. However, with the arrival of World War II, she and her husband, jazz bandleader Billy Grossman, relocated to the United States where she quickly established a new store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, CA. The new store sold her own designs and positioned itself as “Swedish modern furniture, rugs, lamps, and other home furnishings.” She became part of the American elite and counted Greta Garbo, Gracie Allen, Joan Fontaine, Ingrid Bergman, and many other notables among her clients.
Grossman Home in Beverly Hills ( Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times )
Over the next twenty years she produced work for companies like Glenn of California, Sherman Bertram, Martin/Brattrud, and Modern Line. The work for Glenn of California is her best known and exemplifies her design sophistication. She was very particular in the choice of the materials she used, such as rich, colorful textiles and woods like California walnut paired with black plastic laminate and wrought iron. The distinct intricate proportions and asymmetrical lines of her furniture also made her work stand out.
Grossman pieces for Glenn of California. Photo: R 20th Century archives. Source: www.midcenturia.com
In the late 1940s Grossman designed her groundbreaking Cobra lamps. These were among the first lamps to employ bullet shaped, directional shades and flexible arms. These lamps were included in the “Good Design” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, as was a chair she designed for Glenn of California.
“Cobra” desk lamp, Ralph O. Smith, c. 1948-49. via R 20th Century Gallery. Source: www.midcenturia.com
“Cobra” floor lamp. Produced by Ralph O. Smith, 1948-49. Double-shaded floor lamp. Produced by Ralph O. Smith, 1948-49.“Grasshopper” floor lamp. Produced by Ralph O. Smith, 1947-48.
Grossman’s next challenge came in the form of architecture commissions. Between 1949 and 1959 Grossman designed at least fourteen homes in Los Angeles, one in San Francisco and one back in Sweden. Tens of these homes are still standing today. The homes were often perched on stilts at the top of a hill, overlooking a canyon, with magnificent views through curtain walls of glass. The homes featured extensive built-in shelving and the uniquely open and free flowing floor plan popular at the time. She worked several times with celebrated landscape architect Garrett Eckbo on the outdoor spaces. Grossman’s houses are designed to the diminutive scale of the Los Angeles based Case Study House program – most of them have a footprint of less than 1,500 square feet . Her architectural work, as well as her design work, was featured extensively in Arts & Architecture, the magazine edited by Case Study program founder John Entenza.
Grossman House, Claircrest Drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, 1956-57.Photo: John Hartley. Source: http://thekidcollective.com
In the 1950s Grossman taught industrial design courses at the University of California, Los Angeles and at the Art Center School in Los Angeles. She retired from design and architecture in the late 1960s. Her designs are still popular today because, quite frankly, they embody timeless, excellent design. Her combinations of wood with metal and plastic remain unique and cherished by modern design enthusiasts.
As you may know, supporting homeless and underprivileged animals in the Los Angeles community is a cause that is very close to our hearts here at Modernica. Our general manager Lori Weise runs the Downtown Dog Rescue in downtown LA, and recently worked with the South LA Animal Shelter to enact a Shelter Intervention Program to help desperate owners hold on to their pets. The program has been wildly successful, receiving press from local news like KTLA 5 below:
Watch The Video
In short, the Downtown Dog Rescue has organized a pool of volunteers to help support pet owners in need. Dog training programs, spay/neuter clinics, and expensive vet care are a few of the sponsored services that allow owners to hang onto their pets in difficult times. In some cases, volunteers have even arranged for fencing to be built or repaired for families in need. The result? In one month, 151 pets were intercepted on their way to the local animal shelter and given a second chance at a happy life with their owners.
We’re proud of the work that the Downtown Dog Rescue is doing and will continue to support their efforts in our local community. In fact, the upcoming Downtown Modernism event at our Los Angeles Factory on June 30th will be donating proceeds to the Downtown Dog Rescue, so come out and show your support! You can read more about the Shelter Intervention Program on the Downtown Dog Rescue website, or in the LA Times. If you’d like to support the Downtown Dog Rescue, click here, or go to AdoptaPet.com to find out how to help your own local animal rescue.
By now you’ve probably heard of the Downtown Modernism Show that will take place at the Modernica Factory on June 30th. If you’re not quite sure what it is, or why you should bother going, here’s a few things to consider:
1. A Huge and Totally Unique Selection of Vintage Mid-Century Artifacts
Modernica works with a large and distinctive network of dealers, collectors, and vintage resellers from California and across the country. We’ve invited many of them to come out and display their exclusive back-room collections for one day only. The result is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and successful mid-century modern dealers in one place, for the first time ever! You won’t find a selection like this at any flea market or E-Bay auction.
2. One-of-a-Kind Entertainment by Actor, Comic, and Modernist Collector Andy Dick!
As he recently showed us on this season’s Dancing with the Stars, Andy Dick’s hilarious antics and quick wit never get old. The long-time actor and comedian will host the Downtown Modernism show and ensure that show-goers and dealers are having fun while they shop, eat, and socialize.
3. Great Food and Great Coffee
Need we say more?
4. A Chance to Network with Prominent Mid-Century Modern Enthusiasts
Since this Show is wholly focused on mid-century modern artifacts – their dealers, their collectors, and their buyers – this is the perfect chance to connect with other enthusiasts in your area. Network with prominent dealers, compare collections with some of the most avid collectors around, and swap notes with fellow buyers. If nothing else, you’re certain to make a few new friends along the way!
5. Grabbing a Piece of Modernica’s Own Back-Room Collection
Here’s a sneak peek at a few original pieces that Modernica will be offering from our own back room:
Do vintage diners and mid-century artifacts make you swoon? Today’s inspiration will be right up your alley. A new exhibit at the Huntington Library features thousands of vintage photos taken of mid-century Los Angeles. We’ve chosen a few of these lovely black and whites to repost here, or you can read all about it in Los Angeles Magazine.