New Fiberglass Shell Chair color Tiffany Blue
A garden goldmine rests in a tranquil residential area of Santa Barbara called Lotusland, a 37-acre botanical dreamscape containing 18 different gardens with over 3,000 plant species imported from all over the world. The dramatic, otherworldly gardens are the work of legendary socialite Madame Ganna Walska who took over the grounds in 1941 and maintained them until her passing in 1984. Currently, the gardens are taken care of by the Ganna Walska Lotusland Foundation and can be toured by the public.
Photo by Bill Dewey
Photo by Bill Dewey
Madame Walska’s story is nothing short of extraordinary. Born in Poland, she studied singing and went on to work in Paris and New York as a successful opera singer. She was an internationally-known star and socialite, but it could be said she was more famous for high-profile marriages to an array of interesting men, ranging from the likes of a Russian Count, a self-made tycoon, an inventor, and even a yoga guru.
However, her glamorous lifestyle became less fulfilling in her older years and prompted her to search for a new creative outlet – preferably something in the free-thinking, progressive state of California – that would provide her with a source of personal and spiritual enrichment. To her delight, she discovered, and was encouraged by her sixth husband, to purchase a property in Santa Barbara of 37 acres, then called “Cuesta Linda”, to commence her new artistic journey.
Originally, Madame Walska named the grounds “Tibetland” as she planned to transform it into a retreat for Tibetan monks. However, the monk retreat did not come to fruition and she ended up divorcing the sixth and final husband, so a new direction and a new name were in order! Madame Walska renamed her sanctuary , “Lotusland”, in honor of a sacred, magical lotus growing in one of the ponds.
Photo by Bill Dewey
She dedicated all of her time and energy to designing this botanical nirvana, importing and sourcing exotic plants, and in the process, reinvented herself as a master gardener. Madame Walska had the natural talent to create a fantasy world using Mother Nature as her guide and horticulture as her medium.
Photo by Bill Dewey
Her magnificent creations include a topiary garden, numerous lawns full of succulents, cacti, orchards, and bromeliads, and a Japanese garden just to name a few. Today, Walska’s foundation employs a team of renown experts who not only preserve the health and beauty of her gardens, but work to stay at the forefront of of organic and ecological advancements in horticulture.
Tours are very easy to arrange at Lotusland and well worth the trip. Simply call 805-969-9990 and speak with a visitor services representative. Although the garden is technically a public garden, its location in a residential neighborhood requires visitors to make a reservation.
“Time and circumstances permitting, I dream that if given the opportunity, having considerable finances at my disposal, I might fulfill my work to develop Lotusland to its maximum capacity as the most outstanding center of horticultural significance and educational use.” – Madame Ganna Walska
If you happen to be a modern lover in the state of Washington, there’s one place you can’t afford to miss – Digs in Seattle. This lovely showroom houses everything from quality modern furniture to gift items and decor. Owner Ben Knudsen strives to keep the shelves stocked with unique and interesting items, so you’ll never see the same product line twice.
“We strive to provide our customers with unique, well-made items that bring beauty to all aspects of life.”
-Ben Knudsen, Owner
As eclectic as it is tasteful, Digs never disappoints. Customers can expect to see distinctive furniture, as well as quality reproductions, kitchen and office furnishings, home decor, children’s products, and, of course, mid-century modern pieces from Modernica. Next time you’re looking for something interesting to see or buy in Seattle, drop by Digs. The showroom is located at 2002 NW Market Street, Seattle, WA. Call 206-457-5709 for more information.
What do elephants, parchment, and lemons have in common? Fiberglass Shell Chairs of course! Each of these is a name that was given to a specific color originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames for their molded Shell Chairs. The original 11 colors produced by Herman Miller in the early 1950s included:
- Sea-foam Green
- Olive Green
- Ochre Light
- Raw Umbre
- Seal Brown
- Red Orange
- Navy Blue
- Lemon Yellow
- Elephant Hide Gray
Elephant Hide Gray, in particular, is one of the most sought-after colors for vintage chairs, since it is one of the most rare. Thankfully, for those who aren’t able to find one of the 1950s originals, Modernica recently began producing Elephant Hide Gray as it was originally manufactured.
Ray Eames and her Role in Chair Design
Charles was ever the more public figure of the Eames duo, and often receives credit for designing the original line of Fiberglass Chairs. According to those who worked with the couple – and even to Charles himself – however, Ray Eames was equally involved in the design of chairs – perhaps even more so when it came down to details and colors.
Their roles will never be precisely defined, but Charles says quite simply, “Anything I can do, she can do better.” An old friend of theirs, Billy Wilder, says, “She’s imbued with absolutely perfect taste. She is also, I think, a very good organizer; she’s much less of a dreamer than Charles is.”
Around the office they say that Ray has the last word, that no project goes out without her approval. She refines the details, but with a complete understanding of the concept. Their partnership is genuine, mutually reinforcing and all the more remarkable for having endured 35 prodigious years.” -Dan McMasters for the Los Angeles Times, November 21, 1976
It is said that Ray was the one who scrutinized and labored over the color choices, toiling over them until they were perfect. Her painter’s eye was sharp when it came to the details, while Charles focused on the bigger picture. In the end, it was their symbiotic partnership that allowed them to be so creatively prolific.
Today is Earth Day, so let’s take a moment to look around and get inspired by the beautiful, incredible planet we call home. Here are a few things you can do with your family and friends today to celebrate the Planet Earth.
1. Visit a local animal rescue or sanctuary.
Too often we become so involved with our own lives that we forget about the other creatures that call Earth home. There are millions of animals who are neglected, abused, or left homeless due to the actions of humans. Today, why not visit a sanctuary, donate some time or resources, or even adopt a new animal friend at a local rescue?
2. Find or make your own rain barrel.
Help to conserve water by buying or making your own rain barrel to capture rain runoff. Make it into a fun family project by adding in your own design touches. Collected water can be used for cleaning or for watering grass, plants, and garden areas.
3. Go on a mini camping trip.
What better way to enjoy nature than to live in it for a night? Even if you’re not the “outdoorsy” type, an evening spent stargazing and lounging by a campfire is simply good for the soul.
4. Go on a “clean as you go” hike.
Almost every community has a local hiking trail that is popular with the locals. The only problem with such trails is that they often become littered with garbage over time. Go on a nice evening hike, but take a bag or two to collect trash along the way. If you have kids, make a game out of it; whoever fills a bag first wins!
5. Find your green thumb.
Start a garden in your yard or on your balcony, or just plant a new houseplant in your home. Any type of garden activity will make you feel a little closer to nature and help you to embrace your inner green thumb. Just don’t be afraid to get nice and dirty!
6. Get crafty, the environmental way.
If you have a lot of unusable junk lying around the house, don’t toss it into a landfill. There are dozens of ways to up-cycle old items if you take a little extra time. Turn an old record album into a clock or make some wall art out of old maps. While these projects may seem silly or insignificant, they are fun little steps towards a greener tomorrow.
With the increasing popularity of our Case Study Beds, we thought it was time to introduce a series of fine furniture to complement your Case Study Bedrooms. Each of these pieces are built using Modernica’s tried-and-true craftsmanship while retaining the minimal elegance that our customers love.
Case Study Bentwood Leg Dresser
Like the Case Study Bentwood Leg Bed, the Case Study Bentwood Leg Dresser is built with traditional woodworking methods that promise durability and utility. Crafted from one continuous piece of matched-grain Baltic Birch ply, the Bentwood Leg Dresser is as handsome and understated as the bed it complements. Like all of our Case Study Furniture, it is pared down to its essential elements to create an enduring modern aesthetic.
Case Study V-Leg Dresser
Built to complement our popular Case Study V-Leg Bed, the Case Study V-Leg Dresser is another piece that is quiet yet refined in its simplicity. Like the Bentwood Dresser, it is crafted from a continuous piece of matched-grain Baltic Birch ply for strength and longevity. Hidden, easy-to-use, cut-away handles are built into durable drawers that smoothly glide open and softly close with a self-closing vacuum-mechanism.
Case Study V-Leg Bedside Table
The Case Study V-Leg Bedside Table is the final component to our Case Study V-Leg Series, sharing the same simple lines and fine craftsmanship as the rest of the line. Built with the finest Baltic Birch Ply and durable drawer components, it will be the prefect finish to your Case Study Bedroom.
Modernica’s studio is always developing exciting new pieces for the Modernica line; sign up for email notifications so you’ll be the first to hear about new releases and special deals. And, as always, you can view all of Modernica’s new bedroom furniture in our Los Angeles Showroom.
Rudolf M. Schindler is honored with the credit of designing the first modern home in 1922 – the Kings Road House in Los Angeles, commonly referred to as the Schindler House. Los Angeles was just starting to attract populations from all over the world and enjoying an economic explosion in the 20s. This combination of population surge and economic expansion coincided with Schindler’s arrival from Chicago where he was working for Frank Lloyd Wright and would serve as a huge catapult in establishing him as one of the most pertinent modern architects.
After supervising the construction of the Hollyhock residence for Wright, Schindler and his wife Pauline decided to stay in Los Angeles to build a house and studio on Kings Road. Schindler lived and practiced there for the rest of his career and played host to many of the avant-garde artists and thinkers of the day, including Richard Neutra, who also lived at Kings Road for a duration.
The house was designed functionally and quite radically as a live-work space for two couples, with a shared kitchen and an apartment for guests. The concrete and redwood structure was focused on the integration of interior and exterior spaces that would become the cornerstone of Schindler’s architecture philosophy. Schindler referred to his architecture as “space architecture” where “space, climate, light, and mood” were pertinent factors, along with modern materials, innovation, and a disdain for ornament. This reasoning solidified while Schindler studied with Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos in Vienna before arriving in the United States.
Of the hundreds of projects that Schindler designed, about 150 were actually built. Most of these projects consisted of low-cost single family houses for forward-thinking families. Throughout his career, Schindler always adapted to the times in terms of materials available, but he never caved on his design principles or the spatial beliefs that defined his style.
The Kings Road house, now almost 100 years old, stands the test of time and is still considered quite progressive to this day. Currently, the home is owned and operated by the MAK center, a satellite establishment of the MAK in Vienna – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art in Vienna – in cooperation with Friends of the Schindler House. The Schindler House is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM. It is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
As contributors to the industry of modern furniture and design, our employees share a love for beautiful places and spaces. Our inspiration stems from everything, from a vintage Eames chair to a beautiful landscape. Our own Cara King recently took a trip to Southern Australia where she was taken with the rugged landscapes, rocky coastlines, and abundant wildlife.
When she was kind enough to share her adventure with us, we couldn’t help but to post some of these amazing photos for all of you.
One memorable part of the trip included exploring the Yorke Peninsula’s stunning coastlines in Australia’s cutest camper:
When we asked what inspired her the most about Australia, Cara described the incredible variety of animals and plants that she had encountered. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy waking up to cockatoos and koalas outside their bedroom window?
Of course, Cara couldn’t miss the eclectic culture of Southern Australia’s communities. She sampled the wares of abundant vineyards and the artistic charm of Adelaide.
“There’s a rich design community in Adelaide- a lot of talented glassblowers, furniture makers, ceramicists, and the like. I would recommend a stop at the Jam Factory. There are gorgeous modern homes, but there are also a lot of Victorian, Edwardian, and Italianate buildings from the late 1800s/early 1900s. The mix gives the city charm.”
How’s that for a little outback inspiration? Feel free to send us your own photos from abroad; we always love to learn about new and interesting places or spaces. And for our Australian readers, or if you ever get the chance to visit yourself, make sure to drop by our dealer Spence & Lyda in Sydney!
Today we’d like take a look behind the scenes in the Modernica Fiberglass Shell Chair factory. While everyone loves to watch shiny new shell chairs being brought to life in our presses, few people know about the hard work and mechanics required to keep the original Eames Chair machinery in top condition. That’s where master tradesmen like Serjik Kesheshian make their mark.
Serjik grew up in Iran where he learned how to weld and work metal by the age of 10 in his father’s shop. Shortly after he came to the United States to seek out new opportunities, Modernica took him on as part of Obama’s HIRE Act. He was working as a technician with the preform machine when his educated eye noticed some inconsistencies in the fiberglass molds that were coming out of the machine.
When Serjik told Modernica management that his metalworking skills might be able to repair and improve the metals screens in the preform machine, they thought, “Why not give him a go?”
Imagine their surprised delight when Serjik took the existing fiberglass preform screens, the metal screens that form the fiberglass molds, and fine-tuned them to create the best molds that had come out of the machine to date!
When Serjik began working at Modernica, the Fiberglass Chair factory was turning out 6 – 10 Shell Chairs per day. His incredible craftsmanship has made it possible for the machines to turn out 30 to 40 chairs per day. That’s a 300% increase!
Thanks to Serjik, the Modernica Fiberglass Shell Chair factory is producing more chairs at a higher quality than ever. It’s amazing the difference one person can make, if you just give them a chance.