Time Magazine Names Iconic Stahl House Photograph Amongst its Most Influential


Named one of the most influential photographs in history by Time Magazine, this image of Stahl House was created by Julius Shulman in 1960.

A ravishing black-and-white photograph of Stahl House—an enduring symbol of modernist architecture—takes its place amongst portraits of Che Guevara and Demi Moore in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Images of All Time. One of only 3 man-made objects featured in Time’s 100 selections (the Hindenberg airship and Montana’s Fort Peck Damn are the other two), Stahl House is also one of the few aspirational shots featured in a roundup of painfully potent landmark moments extracted from America’s story—replete with wars, political unrest, famine, AIDS, and 9/11. In such weighty company, this iconic image of Stahl House—the most famous and widely disseminated photo from Julius Shulman’s architectural portfolio —is a welcome respite of breathtaking beauty, one that, according to Time,  ‘… perfected the art of aspirational staging, turning a house into the embodiment of the Good Life…’

It is, of course, hard to imagine anything but a good life being lived in Stahl House, aka Case Study House 22, architect Pierre Koenig’s Mid Century masterwork designed for Clarence ‘Buck’ Stahl in 1959 as part of Southern California’s Case Study Program. Nestled into the Hollywood Hills, it remains the apotheosis of modernism’s love affair with glass and concrete, geometry and elegance, killer views and steely glamour. While it may be impossible to take a bad photo of a house this camera-ready, in 1960, Julius Shulman found a way to make the penultimate Stahl House statement. Says Time, “To show the essence of this air-breaking cantilevered building, Shulman set two glamorous women in cocktail dresses inside the house, where they appear to be floating above a mythic, twinkling city. The photo…is the most successful real estate image ever taken.”


Another 1960 image of Stahl House by Julius Shulman

via Time Magazine


GUBI Shines a Light on Greta M. Grossman


The Gräshoppa Floor Lamp by Greta Grossman is one of the many design reprisals undertaken by GUBI.

If you find yourself suddenly in-the-know about Greta M. Grossman, you can thank GUBI. The Danish design brand, which is equally focused on the past and present, has been instrumental in introducing a whole new generation of design enthusiasts to Grossman, a Swedish-born architect and designer who became a key contributor to the modernist movement, but whose name never gained the luster of her male contemporaries, Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. Chief amongst the iconic Mid Century products that GUBI has reprised is a collection of modern lamps designed by Grossman in the 1940s and 1950s, each piece instantly recognizable for its restrained beauty, brass detailing, and anthropomorphic form.

Shop the GUBI Greta Grossman Collection here >


The GUBI Gräshoppa Table Lamp by Greta Grossman, a 1948 design, is available in 5 colors.

Without a doubt, the most famous of Greta Grossman’s designs is the Gräshoppa collection, a suite of lamps—floor lamp, table lamp, and pendant light—that features tubular steel stem, conical steel canopy, and burnished brass detailing. The Gräshoppa Floor Lamp, in particular, has become a modern interiors staple, owing its cult status to an elegantly angled body and conical head—an immaculate composition that uncannily mimics the human form. First produced in 1947, the lamp’s free moving head and painted steel shade make for an ideal directional light source with a minimal amount of glare.

Shop the GUBI Gräshoppa Collection here >


The Cobra Table Lamp, designed in 1950, gets its name from its hooded shade.

Like many of her fellow European designers, Greta Magnussen Grossman left the continent for America, immigrating to Southern California in 1940. There, she designed more than a dozen modernists houses that bore the rectilinear, glass-glad profiles, open floor plans, and expansive views that came to define California modernism. A key (female) figure of the esthetic that would eventually be known as Mid-Century Modernism, Grossman also created a slew of innovative furniture and modern lighting designs—like her whimsical and dynamic Cobra Lamps, so named for their flexible arms and oval shades, reminiscent of a cobra’s hooded head. Grossman’s Cobra Table Lamp was a celebrated design, shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1951 as part of its Good Design exhibition series. The GUBI Cobra series includes Cobra Floor Lamp, table lamp, and wall lamp.

Shop the GUBI Cobra Collection here >


Greta Grossman’s G10 Floor Lamp, a 1950 design, has a distinctive angled stem and brass detailing.

GUBI’s reprisal of Greta Grossman’s G10 lamp collection—originally produced for the Swedish manufacturer Bergboms—is amongst the brand’s releases of long forgotten designs. A lesser known Grossman creation, the GUBI G10 Floor Lamp (a pendant lamp is also included in the G10 series), features the designer’s trademark combination of angled stem and distinctive lampshade. Simultaneously refined and industrial, the G10 Floor Lamp, first introduced in 1950, manages the Grossman feat of being both classic and innovative, vintage and of-the-moment.

Shop GUBI Modern Design here >




Digital Art: MOMA Acquires Original Emoji Set


Created in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita, the original set of 176 emoji illustrations is now in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Don’t accuse the Museum of Modern Art of being too big for its…brushes. The famous gatekeepers of masterworks by Van Gogh, Picasso, and Warhol, announced last week that it had acquired for its permanent collection the original set of emoji, the 176 digital pictograms developed in 1999 by Japanese phone company NTT DoCoMo. This latest digital acquisition comes 6 years after the @ symbol was welcomed into the collection of MOMA’s Department of Architecture & Design—and where these original emoji will also reside.

While emoji are abundant and ubiquitous today, it’s useful to remember that in 1999, a decade before Apple’s App Store opened, they were revolutionary. The ‘Father of Emoji’ is Shigetaka Kurita, whose work for NTT DoCoMo included creating heiroglyphics for the first major mobile Internet system, and who found inspiration in China’s pictographic written lanugage and Japan’s manga tradition, among other sources. Kurita’s resulting suite of 176 charmingly rudimentary symbols would lay the groundwork for the evolution of emoji from 1999’s primitive pixel arrangements to today’s sophisticated animations.

In announcing the acquistion, Paul Galloway, the department’s Collection Specialist, waxed poetic. “These humble masterpieces of design planted the seeds for the explosive growth of a new visual language,” he wrote, adding, “Emoji tap into a long tradition of expressive visual language…augmenting both the expressive content of the text and the overall aesthetic quality of the printed page .” And you thought those smiley faces were a waste of space.


Two of the 176 pictograms that make up the original emoji collection, created for Japanese phone company NTT DoCoMo.

Via MOMA, the Wall Street Journal


Lamp Dance: Hector Serrano’s Ballet Pendant Lamps for Arturo Alvarez

Lamp Dance: Hector Serrano’s Ballet Pendant Lamps for Arturo Alvarez

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Aside from their ethereal beauty, Spanish lighting designs by Arturo Alvarez have one thing in common: SIMETECH®, the proprietary patented material composed of stainless steel mesh and silicone, on display in the majority of the brand’s modern lighting designs. A highly malleable and moldable material, SIMETECH® is a key component to the sculptural, asymmetric forms that define Arturo Alvarez lighting designs—and never more so than in the brand’s recent collaboration with Valencia-based designer Hector Serrano, whose Ballet series elevates SIMETECH® to its most graceful heights yet.

Save 20% on Arturo Alvarez Modern Lighting >


The designer explains, “At the beginning, I didn’t know how to contribute with something new and I felt a mix of sensations: on one hand, insecure about my ability to accomplish the assignment, on the other hand, respect for the work done by Arturo. I decided to keep going, but taking it from the beginning as an experiment. I would try and make something attractive, but if I wasn’t able, I would simply quit.”


While Serrano’s misgivings about working with the material ultimately proved unfounded, working with SIMETECH® had its challenges—namely, its idiosyncratic tendency to do what it pleased. “…we made several prototypes, and it was a disaster: we were forcing the material to behave in an unnatural way. So I realized I had chosen a wrong way to face the project and I should start all over again.”

Save 20% on Arturo Alvarez Ballet Pendant Lamps >


Back tot he drawing board—literally—meant delving into the materials’ specific properties and allowing it to dictate the resulting shapes, rather than the other way around. “I needed to give it freedom to seek its own way. I realized the less manipulation, the better the results.” Hours of cutting and folding later, and with a slew of prototypes to show for it, Serrano arrived at the suite of 3 deceptively delicate, elegantly organic volumes that make up the Ballet series. The collection’s name, Ballet, was “a wink to the beauty of its forms and the constant dance of lights and shadows.”

See the Arturo Alvarez Ballet collection here >

Via Arturo Alvarez




Modern Lighting Sale | Save up to 25% on Top Brands

Innermost Stupa Collection

The Innermost Stupa Collection of modern pendant lights is composed of resin.

We’re in the midst of a major Modern Lighting Sale, featuring a range of celebrated and innovative lighting brands from around the globe. Lasting through the end of October, this sale offers of up to 25% off on pendant lights, chandeliers, table lamps and modern floor lamps by well-known contemporary design names, like Tom Dixon and Louis Poulsen, and bright new stars, like Britain’s Innermost and Denmark’s Lightyears.

London-based Innermost combines ‘very British’ design sensibilities with the irreverence intrinsic to the punk music scene to arrive at a collection of contemporary lighting designs that carry unexpected wit and surprising elegance all at once. The Innermost Exclusive Modern Lighting Sale features a 20% savings on the entire collection, through October 17th only.

Shop the Exclusive Innermost 20% Off Sale >

Lightyears Caravaggio Modern Pendant Lamp

A trio of Caravaggio Matte Pendant Lights by Lightyears

Denmark’s Lightyears is a Danish design studio known for sleek contemporary lamps that merge traditional Scandinavian design sensibilities with state-of-the-art technology. Clean forms, tactile materials, and industrial elegance are Lightyears hallmarks—characteristics evident in the best selling Caravaggio and Juicy pendant lamps.

Save 15% on Lighting by Lightyears >


Pablo’s new Giraffa Table Lamp is a whimsical new design, available in 3 finishes.

The latest from San Francisco’s Pablo includes Giraffa, a whimsical table lamp that bears the stylized form of a giraffe’s neck. Available in 3 different finishes, Giraffa, along with all Pablo modern lighting designs, remains on sale at 15% off through October 31st.

Shop the Pablo Lighting Sale here >

Cirque by Louis Poulsen

Cirque pendant lights by Louis Poulsen, are equally suited to residential and commercial settings.

Other featured brands on sale during this month-long Modern Lighting Sale include Denmark’s venerable Louis Poulsen (above) and California’s Cerno (below). Floor lamps, ceiling and wall lights, table lamps, and modern pendant lights are all featured in this sale, which lasts through October 31st.

Shop the Modern Lighting Sale here >

Cerno Calx Pendant Light

The faceted Calx is a stunning new LED pendant light from Cerno

Save 15% on Lighting by Cerno >


Annual Blu Dot Sale : Save 20% on Modern Furniture, Lighting & Decor

Annual Blu Dot Sale : Save 20% on Modern Furniture, Lighting & Decor

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The Annual Blu Dot Sale presents an opportunity to save on a whole range of modern furniture, lighting and home accessories by a popular contemporary brand—and includes best selling designs and new arrivals alike. The sale, which lasts through October 30th, features 20% off on all Blu Dot modern furnishings. Save on the famous Real Good Chair (above, and below), an origami-like creation that ships flat, and can be folded along perforated lines to create a comfortable dining or side chair.  Available in a range of colors, the Blue Dot Real Good Chair is a great option for dining room, home office, or guest room.

Save 20% on Blu Dot through October 30 >


Save 20% on the Blu Dot Real Good Chair >


The Blue Dot Punk Lamp cuts a compact, immensely simple profile, featuring a monochromatic powder coated steel base and shade, topped off with a solid walnut wood switch. Three finishes—charcoal, white and metallic copper—and an exceedingly reductive profile give the Punk Lamp its irresistible visual appeal, while its diffused lighting ups the ante on ambience.

Save 20% on the Blu Dot Punk Lamp >


With its Mid-Century overtones, the Blu Dot Field Lounge Chair must surely be an icon-in-the-making. A curved, sculptural shell and roomy cushioned interior boldly invokes the Saarinen Womb Chair, while the powder-coated steel base adds a distinctly contemporary touch.  Designed to unlock the secret of lounging without guilt,the Blu Dot Field Lounge Chair looks cuts a handsome profile on its own, or paired with the equally stylish Field Ottoman.

Save 20% on the Blu Dot Field Lounge Chair & Ottoman >

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David Bowie’s Art Collection Includes Vintage Modern Design Objects


David Bowie’s eclectic art collection, which includes vintage deign pieces, will be auctioned by Sotheby’s London in November.

The late, great David Bowie left behind an art collection vast enough (some 400 items) to warrant 3 separate auctions—Sotheby’s Bowie/Collector auction takes place over 2 days this November—the last of which will feature Bowie’s collection of modern design. While the singer’s art acquisitions are, unsurprisingly, an eclectic collection of 20th Century works—paintings, prints, drawings, and sculpture that Sotheby’s defines as “truly breathtaking in its scope and diversity, encompassing all the major art movements of the period.”—his design pieces focus predominantly on the Memphis Group, the Milanese Post Modern design movement founded in 1981 by the Italian architect and product designer Ettore Sottsass.

David Bowie’s Magic Act >


Ettore Sottsass’ Carlton Bookcase, an icon of 1980’s design, will be auctioned off in the Bowie/Collector sale at Sotheby’s London.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by this either. Though a serious and erudite artist, Bowie managed to nevertheless come off as someone who didn’t take himself all that seriously—an attitude one could fairly say was mirrored by Memphis. Bordering on kitsch, the collective’s colorful, cartoonish objects invited as much derision as adoration, shunned by proponents of restraint and elegance who forever lumped Memphis with myriad other dated creative expressions of the 1980’s. Bowie, though, ever marching to the beat of his own drummer, was a great admirer of Sottsass and his fellow Memphis members, and his collection illustrates this, comprising the movement’s most famous pieces—like Sottsass’ now-iconic Carlton Bookcase, above.


Martine Bedin’s Super Lamp, another Memphis Group creation, is part of the David Bowie auction at Sotheby’s


Aside from Memphis-designed pieces, Bowie collected other Italian design—like this Brionvega console, designed by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni.

“Bowie was a voracious collector of the works of eccentric Italian designer Ettore Sottsass and the Milan-based Memphis group,” explains Sotheby’s. “The final session of the sale series will comprise pieces such as the iconic Post-Modernist ‘Casablanca’ Sideboard, from the first Memphis collection of 1981, and the unconventional record player, the RR 126 Radiophonograph, designed in 1965 by the brothers Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni for Brionvega, both of which are definitive pieces of cutting edge Italian design fitting for the most innovative and daring musician of his generation.”


‘Treetops’ floor lamp and ‘Casablanca’ sideboard, by Ettore Sottsass, both dating to 1981.


‘Big Sur’ sofa, designed by Peter Shire in 1986


‘Ivory’ table by Ettore Sottsass, 1985 and ‘Alzata’ vase by Sottsass, 1958.


‘Ashoka’ lamp, by Martine Bedin, 1981; and ‘Tigris’, ‘Nilo’ and ‘Euphrates’ vases, by Ettore Sottsass, 1985.


Enorme telephone, designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1986

Via Wallpaper, Fast Company, Sotheby’s




Knoll Annual Sale: Save 15% | Get Free White Glove Delivery September 16 -27

 Knoll Womb Chair and Ottoman by Eero Saarinen

The Knoll Womb Chair & Ottoman by Eero Saarinen was designed in 1948.

Our Knoll Annual Sale has just begun, presenting a rare chance to own authentic, groundbreaking modern furniture by some of design world’s storied figures and rising stars. Now, through September 27th, save 15% on all Knoll chairs, tables, and storage pieces from Mid Century giants, like Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, and Eero Saarinen, and more recent creations by contemporary designers, like David Adjaye and Barber Osgerby. Along with a 15% reduction, this event features complimentary white glove delivery, as well. Shop the Knoll Annual Sale here >

5 Knoll Designers Everyone Should Know >

Saarinen Oval Dining Table and Tulip Chairs

The Knoll Saarinen Oval Dining Table and chairs from the Tulip collection.

Finnish born Eero Saarinen, created dramatic architectural landmarks—the TWA Flight Center at New York’s JFK Airport and the St. Louis Gateway Arch—and transcendent furniture designs. His elegant pedestal-based Tulip collection, and the sculptural Womb Chair are amongst the most recognized symbols of  the Mid-Century era,  and, arguably, more well known than his buildings. “The underside of typical chairs and tables makes a confusing, unrestful world. I wanted to clear up the slum of legs,” Saarinen told Time magazine in 1956, when explaining his iconic pedestal table design. The graceful, sinuous base was said to be inspired  by “a drop of high viscosity liquid.”

Save 15% on the Knoll Saarinen Collection >


The Knoll anniversary edition of the Bertoia Diamond Chair, plated in 18 karat gold.

A sculptor and jewelry maker long before he became a furniture designer, Harry Bertoia nevertheless created a modern furniture collection for the ages. Bertoia’s ‘wire’ collection of chairs and lounge seating—a graceful synthesis of form and material—remains a gleaming symbol of 20th Century industrial design, introduced by Knoll in 1952, and in continuous production since. To mark what would have been the designer’s 100th birthday this year, Knoll has introduced a golden edition of the Bertoia Diamond Chair, its famous undulating shape now plated in 18 carat gold.

Save 15% on  the Knoll Bertoia Collection >


David Adjaye’s Washington Prism Collection for Knoll features the British architect’s first foray into lounge seating.

The Washington Prism Collection for Knoll marks David Adjaye’s first foray into furniture design, and transforms the British architect’s instinct for the built form into handsome objects for the home and office. A suite that consists of lounge chair, ottoman, and side table, the Washington Prism Collection applies geometry and pattern towards defining form. Designed to be viewed from any angle, each piece from the collection is meant to be as much sculptural object as functional furniture.

Save 15% on the Knoll Washington Collection by David Adjaye >


The Barber Osgerby sofa collection for Knoll features sofas, lounge chairs, and ottomans.

The sofa collection that Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have created for Knoll was introduced at the 2013 Milan Furniture Fair, and extends Knoll’s tradition of collaborating with prolific contemporary designers. A suite of streamlined sofas, lounge chairs, and ottomans, the Barber Osgerby sofa collection bears the designers’ signature elements, including geometric forms, soft contours, and subtle detailing—while effortless complementing the classic modernist profiles of Knoll’s Mid Century collection.

Save 15% on the Knoll Barber Osgerby Collection >



Yayoi Kusama Applies Her ‘Dot Obsession’ to Philip Johnson’s Glass House


Philip Johnson’s Glass House, covered in the signature dots of Japanese conceptual artist Yayoi Kusama.

The Japanese Conceptual artist Yayoi Kusama’s preoccupation with dots has been whimsically projected onto a legendary Mid Century icon: Philip Johnson’s Glass House. Marking the occasion of what would have been the architect’s 110th birthday this past July, Kusama has bedecked the entire exterior of the house with an arrangement of her signature red dots. Dots Obsession – Alive, Seeking for Eternal Hope, an installation which opened on September 1, will be on view only through September 26th, completing a trio of site-specific Kusama works on the property, dating back to the spring.

Yayoi Kusama has decorated everything, from department store windows to clothing to George Clooney, with her dot compositions, but few of her canvases (Clooney included) have been as famous—for as long—as Johnson’s iconic Glass House, completed in 1949. And, one can argue, few are more suited to her work. The house’s pure geometry and near-total transparency offers a markedly different kind of immersive experience from the artist’s ethereal “infinity room” gallery installations, allowing visitors to, according to the Glass House committee, “simultaneously see the world through the eyes of both Philip Johnson and Yayoi Kusama,”


‘Dots Obsession’ is the latest site-specific installation at the Glass House by Yayoi Kusama.

The installation of Yayoi Kusama’s Dots Obsession was a long-distance affair, with the elderly artist dispatching a team from Japan to complete the project, armed with vinyl red dots in 3 sizes, and exacting instructions from her for each dot’s placement. Applied piece by piece via scaffolding, the dots adorn the four glass sides of the house, including its doors, turning Philip Johnsons’s Glass House into, appropriately enough, a gaily wrapped modernist gift.


Arranged in a very specific pattern,  three different sizes of vinyl dots cover the exterior of Philip Johnson’s Glass House.

At 87, the once reclusive Yayoi Kusama has never been more prolific, feted with retrospectives at the world’s most famous museums—including London’s Tate Modern and New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art—over the last decade. Of her most famous motif, she has said, ‘A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement … Polka dots are a way to infinity.’


Yayoi Kusama’s Dots Obsession installation on the Glass House lasts only through September 26th.


Photographed at night, Yayoi Kusama’s signature patterning on the Glass House.

Via: Wallpaper




On the New Jersey Shore, Mid Century Treasures Galore

Facade of Mid Century Motel New Jersey Shore

The facade of a Mid Century motel in The Wildwoods, New Jersey, invokes a distinct west coast architectural vernacular.

Who would have thought that the New Jersey shoreline was a bastion of Mid Century Modern architecture? Not us, we confess. But that’s exactly what photographer Tyler Haughey set out to illustrate—impressively, we might add—with his beautifully composed Ebb Tide series, featuring images of modest vintage structures that dot a five-mile-long barrier island along the southern New Jersey coastline. Known collectively as The Wildwoods. the area’s suite of three small shore towns, Haughey claims, holds “the largest concentration of postwar resort architecture in the United States,” a collection embodied by a series of motels, built in the 1950’s and 1960’s, that remain astonishingly intact today.

Jersey Shore Motels Tyler Haughey

Tyler Haughey’s phtograph of a Jersey Shore motel shows a remarkably well preserved Mid Century facade.

What’s most remarkable about Tyler Haughey’s photographs is how thoroughly Californian they look. Spare, color-inflected, and flat-roofed, these little jewels may as easily be mistaken for edifices built in Palm Springs or Venice Beach. And, as the photographer points out, this was less an accident than a means by which post-war east coasters could assuage wanderlust without straying too far from home.  “These structures represent the way America’s middle class traveled and vacationed during the postwar era,” he says, a theory confirmed in the motels’ equally intact vintage signage, where “Malibu” and “Capri” charmingly occupy the same geographic terrain.

Motel Signage Jersey Shore

Motels in The Wildwoods coastal towns of New Jersey display equally well preserved Mid Century signage.

In his Ebb Tide series, Tyler Haughey has wisely chosen to photograph The Wildwoods during the off-season, when the summer bustle and crowds are inevitably replaced with an eerie desolation, an emptiness that only lends gravitas to a bygone era’s architectural legacy. For, as impressively as these Mid Century jewels have aged, the fact remains that encroaching new construction may eventually replace entirely what still remains—more than half of the once 300+ motels have already been demolished. Haughey, not surprisingly, wants as much to record these emblems before they’re gone as make a case for their continued protection. He’s succeeded on the first count; let’s hope he succeeds on the latter one, as well.

Mid Century Motels Jersey Shore

Vintage neon signage along the New Jersey shore’s Mid Century motels.

New Jersey Mid Century Motels

Tropical colors, like minty greens and aquamarines, distinguish the Mid Century motels of The Wildwoods.

Mid Century Modern Motel New Jersey

Photographer Tyler Haughey’s showcases the vintage neon signage along with the vintage architecture of The Wildwoods.

New Jersey Shore Mid Century Motel

Kitschy artificial palm trees help bring a taste of the sunny west coast to the New Jersey shore.

Tyler Haughey Jersey Shore Motels

Clean-lined geometry and tropical colors are a feature of the Mid Century New Jersey motels photographed by Tyler Haughey.

Via Fast Company, Tyler Haughey