Posts tagged with "Chicago":

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NeoCon Notables

The mood was noticeably subdued at this year’s NeoCon World’s Trade Fair in Chicago, which ends today, but many attractive and innovative new products were introduced. For our special Midwest issue we offered a preview of things to look for at the show. Here are a few additional products that stood out at the Merchandise Mart. LIM lighting, Haworth Designed by Pablo Pardo of Pablo Design and the Haworth Design Studio, LIM is an ultra thin aluminum LED task light. LIM is available in desktop, slot or panel mount, and floor-based versions, and is 85 percent more efficient than comparable incandescent lamps. The minimal design keeps sightlines unobstructed and desktops uncluttered. Setu chair, Herman Miller The profile of the new Setu chair evokes the classic Eames Aluminum Group seating, but the plastic spine—polyester to be exact—bends and tilts with the body, unlike the more rigid Eames design. Designed by Berlin-based Studio 7.5, Setu’s spine also includes a high level of recycled content, and is one of the more affordable multipurpose chairs in its class and weighs less than 20 pounds. It is designed for office and home office settings, and includes versions with and without arms, as well as an ottoman and lounge version. It is available to the trade now and will be sold at retail stores beginning in September. Denizen case goods, Coalesse In keeping the Coalesse’s idea of blurring the boundaries between home and office furnishings, the Denizen case goods system brings a distinctly residential feel to private offices. The series, which includes a secretary, tables, benches, towers, overhead storage and display storage, is available in oak, teak, and ash gray. Designed by WilliamsSorel, Denizen’s strong lines and high quality materials make it appropriate for a office/guest rooms or living areas. Stride office system, Allsteel Many of the office systems at NeoCon had clean, horizon lines (unlike all those curvy systems aimed at tech start-ups in the early 2000s), but one of the best looking was Stride from Allsteel. The surfaces have a thin outer edge, but are actually thick and sturdy, thanks to a stepped back design. The system is a kit of parts that can be adapted to a variety of configurations, from traditional cubicles to shared more, open arrangements. Available in a variety of materials, the painted wood storage units in particular feel more like furniture than parts of an office system.

Eavesdrop: Bueller? Bueller!

Part of Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) renown as a classic truancy film and Chicago landmark travelogue is the über-modernist glass and steel house with the disaster-inviting garage from which Ferris launches the priceless 1961 Ferrari belonging to friend Cameron's father. The house (and garage), of course, is a metaphor for Cameron's sad and lonely home life. As Ferris, the budding architectural critic, explains to his vaguely suicidal foil, "The place is like a museum. It's very beautiful and very cold, and you're not allowed to touch anything."   Attention melancholy home buyers in search of beautiful and cold! This 1953 Miesian knockoff of cinematic fame, located in Chicago's tony Highland Park suburb, is now for sale for $2.3 million. Designed by "Less is More" disciples A. James Speyer (1913-1986) and David Haid (1928-1993), the 5,300-square-foot house is being sold "as is" (two of the most anxiety-producing words in real estate). Selling point: Because the house is sited over a maintenance-free ravine instead of a lawn, the new owner can route those savings right to the perpetually depleted HVAC fund.  
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Towers of Sin

Like all-dutiful journalists, I read Romenesko each day (it's like ArchNewsNow, but with media links), mostly for the navel-gazing and doomsaying that characterize print media reporting on print media. And so it was with great surprise that I actually found some architectural news on the site Friday, namely that Chicago's Marina City, in addition to being one of the city's most famous buildings, is also one of its most notorious, so much so that one of the tenants has launched an online newspaper about the lurid towers, Marina City News. Second only to Mies's 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, at least architecturally speaking, Marina City was designed in 1959 by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg, and is perhaps best known to those unacquainted with the city's skyline from its place on the cover the of equally classic Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by local boys Wilco. I certainly had no idea Marina City was so scandal-ridden, which only adds to the mystique of the lovelorn album--Was Jeff Tweedy in the know? Perhaps a resident? John Denver was. Or so reports the Chicago Tribune in its piece about the Marina City News. But, more to the point:
Towering over the Chicago River, the corn-cob-shaped Marina City towers have stood for 44 years as icons of the architectural daring that make Chicago a world city. But inside the 61-story buildings is enough scandal and intrigue to fill a daily newspaper, or so the producers of marinacityonline.com believe. The Web site says it is the source for news inside the self-described "City within a City"—a 2,000-resident microcosm of Chicago. There's the dentist brought down in a federal prostitution bust, power plays rivaling City Hall, and such quirky denizens as the colorful-suit guy who dances for passing tour boats. "We've got it all: sex, crime, corruption," said Michael Michalak, a real estate broker inside Marina City who is the site's sole advertiser. "But it's also a great place to live."
While Romenesko and other media watchers are no doubt more interested amorphous First Amendment issues surrounding the site--its lone editor has been fined for operating it and barred from recording semi-public board meetings--we are more interested in the detailed intrigues of an architectural icon. After all, there are info sites and fan sites galore about the Empire State Building and Guggenheim Bilbao, but how many of them have their own dedicated gossip rags? We're adding this one to the bookmarks.