Lair: Radical Homes and Hideouts of Movie Villains By Chad Oppenheim / Andrea Gollin Tra Publishing $75.00 Bad people don't always have good taste, but when they do, their homes are the stuff of architecture history. Curzio Malaparte was attending fascist rallies in between stays at his cliffside retreat, the various owners of Lloyd Wright's Sowden House committed unspeakable crimes behind its stony facade, and Philip Johnson's sordid past all but eclipses his career as one of the most accomplished architects of the 20th century. While most of us may not be able to tour the homes of these baddies or live in anything remotely like them ourselves, the homes of movie villains are at our disposal however many times we wish to visit them. Chad Oppenheim of Miami-based Oppenheim Architecture and writer Andrea Gollin have come together to shine a spotlight on the homes of the silver screen that lurk in the shadows to draw an undeniable connection between low morale and high design. Their book, Lair: Radical Homes and Hideouts of Movie Villains, pries open 15 of the most diabolical abodes and renders them in silk-silver linework over depthless black paper, all of which were exquisitely illustrated by Carlos Fueyo, a VFX and CG supervisor behind some of the most visually sumptuous blockbusters of the last decade. Lair makes evident that the average movie's art production team is at its most creative when given the opportunity to imagine homes as sinister and calculated as the villains that would commission them with dark money. An eye-opening interview between Oppenheim and Star Wars set decorator Roger Christian uncovers the inspiration behind the Death Star, arguably the most famous evil lair in cinema, albeit one that doubles as a weapon capable of obliterating planets many times its size. "When it came to the Death Star," Christian explained, "that was inspired by the Reich architecture of Albert Speer, obviously. When you look at Nazi architecture, it's very black with red on it. Very simple and very daunting—and strangely beautiful." Fueyo's illustrations render the highly articulate surface of the Death Star with all the wonderfully arbitrary detailing of the original and managed to produce a perspective cutaway that offers a glimpse into the orderly, clock-like work of its scaleless interior. The divergent paths of the light and dark sides of the force are as apparent in the contrasting austerity between the Empire's home base and the humble desert residences of the Jedi as they are in any of the other cinematic choices made in the production of the blockbuster film series. About a third of the 15 lairs are owned by various Bond villains, from Ernst Stavro Blofeld's sub-volcanic hideaway in You Only Live Twice (1967) to Karl Stromberg's spider-like marine research laboratory in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). While Bond trots around the world as a stylish nomad, his enemies stay put in increasingly eccentric abodes that speak to their character just as effectively as their words or actions. The sensuous architecture of Los Angeles-architect John Lautner makes more than a few cameos and is otherwise the unsubtle inspiration for a number of the evil lairs throughout the movie series. A rarely-seen interview between Lautner and Marlene Laskey on the Elrod House, a home the architect designed in 1968 that was extensively featured in Diamonds are Forever (1971), reveals that the home was built with surprisingly few restraints, thus imbuing the structure with a number of eccentricities suited to the fictional supervillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Good design often comes at a price, either through its exchange with one's soul or a sum of money that no one person should reasonably have. While real-life crooks reveal little of themselves to the public by trade, the homes featured in Lair grants its readers a more-than-generous look into the lives lived by a fictional class of villains.
Posts tagged with "Oppenheim Achitecture + Design":
The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has announced the winners of the 2018 National Design Awards, recognizing ten individuals and firms who have used design to shape the world for the better. This year’s winners include: Lifetime Achievement: Writer, educator, and designer Gail Anderson has taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York for the last 25 years, and is an active partner at the multidisciplinary Anderson Newton Design. Anderson has written or co-authored a total of 14 books on popular culture and design, and formerly served as the senior art director at Rolling Stone. Design Mind: Landscape architect, award-winning author, and Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at MIT Anne Whiston Spirn. Spirn was recognized for her longtime advocacy for balancing urbanism with nature, as well as her continued direction of the West Philadelphia Landscape Project. Corporate & Institutional Achievement: Design studio Design for America, which empowers communities to solve local problems through design. Architecture Design: WEISS/MANFREDI was recognized for the way their projects consistently bridge the gap between architecture, art, and the surrounding landscape. The firm’s been on a roll lately, having picked up several cultural commissions and an invite to exhibit at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. Communication Design: Digital identity and experience firm Civilization was recognized for its ability to create empathetic connections and commitment to working with companies who are advocating for the greater good. Fashion Design: The Los Angeles-based fashion designer Christina Kim was recognized for her use of traditional hand working techniques and sustainable business practices. Interaction Design: Architect and designer Neri Oxman was recognized for her experimental material usage and continual boundary-pushing forms. Oxman leads the Mediated Matter Group at the MIT Media Lab, a group whose work frequently bridges the gap between art and technology; their most recent project, Vespers, is a contemporary reinterpretation of the death mask typology that uses living microorganisms. Interior Design: The Miami-based Oppenheim Architecture + Design was recognized for its sense-invoking interiors that are often inspired by local vernacular. The firm has realized projects all over the world from towers in Dubai to the Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn, but like many of the other winners, Oppenheim balances their projects within the surrounding natural environment. Landscape Architecture: Boston-based landscape architecture firm Mikyoung Kim Design was honored for its vast body of public work, much of it focused on improving urban resiliency. The firm has tackled projects large and small around the world, from the Chicago Botanic Garden Learning Campus to the Songdo International Plaza in Incheon, South Korea. Product Design: Minneapolis-based Furniture designer and manufacturer Blu Dot was recognized for its playful and modern stylings (including some less-than-functional objects). The National Design Awards have been recognizing exemplary names in the design world since 2000. Nominees must have seven years of professional experience under their belt, while the lifetime achievement nominees must have at least 20 years of experience. Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt, will announce the winner of the Director’s Award at a later date, to be given to an outstanding patron of the design world. This year’s awards ceremony will be accompanied by National Design Week, which will run from October 13 through the 21st.
A team of architects will transform a 1.25-mile stretch of Asbury Park in New Jersey as part of a massive mixed-use redevelopment plan recently unveiled by iStar. The multibillion-dollar scheme includes 20 individual projects (primarily a mix of residential buildings and hotels) as well as infrastructure upgrades, and “beach-themed landscaping.” The developer says that its significant investment in the area, which was pummeled by Hurricane Sandy, will “nurture the maverick spirit and indie attitude that make Asbury Park one of the unsung capitals of cool in the United States.” Anda Andre, the former Director of Design for the Ian Schrager Company, is overseeing the project and hand-picking its designers and architects. The team includes Chad Oppenheim, Handel Architects, Madison Cox, Stonehill & Taylor, and Melillo + Bauer Associates. Three new developments are expected to to open next summer: “The Monroe,” Oppenheim’s 34-unit condominium building; 1101 Ocean, a glassy hotel, condominium, and retail project by Handel Architects; and the Asbury, a 110-key hotel in a former Salvation Army building that was repurposed by Stonehill & Taylor. The full build out of the development includes 2,100 residences and 300 hotel rooms.
Asked about the pros and cons of practicing architecture in South Florida, Miami-based Oppenheim Architecture + Design principal and lead designer Chad Oppenheim said, "It's always wonderful to design buildings in a beautiful environment such as Miami." He mentioned specifically the city's connection to nature, and the extent to which the surrounding water, sky, and vegetation provide inspiration. "I think that people come to Miami to enhance their lives, and as a firm it's always been our mission to design buildings and homes to help people achieve just that." But while the landscape and the spirit of the people inhabiting it act as positive stimuli, other regional characteristics are cause for concern. "Typically, I find that Miami is a place where it is expensive to build for what you get," observed Oppenheim, who will deliver the afternoon keynote at September's Facades+ Miami conference. "There is a quality issue that is hard to work around in Miami." The challenge is especially apparent when he compares his South Florida experience to his firm's Switzerland office. "While the building and construction costs may be the same price [in Europe], the quality is a lot better. There's a tremendous passion for craft and quality there that somehow is not necessarily a mission for people here in Miami." At the same time, Oppenheim is heartened by the recent arrival of international design talent on the local architecture scene. "In terms of improvement, as the city becomes more sophisticated and more mature, there's a greater desire for incredible architecture, amazing buildings, and quality projects," he said. As for Oppenheim Architecture + Design's approach to facades, explained Oppenheim, "It's not just about decoration, but how the building's skin can accomplish a goal." In particular, he noted the way in which an overdependence on air conditioning manifests in a one-size-fits-all relationship to the surrounding elements. "We believe that there might be a way to get more connected to the environment, and also do it in a way that's interesting architecturally." Oppenheim cited his firm's recently-completed Net Metropolis in Manila. "The facade includes a combination of sun shading and a high performance insulated glass window wall that minimizes incident solar heat gain and optimizes natural light, while giving occupants a panoramic view of the surrounding city," he said. The green envelope cuts down on the cost and energy consumption associated with air conditioning. "It's a way of dealing with design for the elements, doing it in a more low-tech way," concluded Oppenheim. Connecting the Philippines example back to his home city, he said, "We see a lot of buildings in Miami from before air conditioning was so prevalent featuring screens that become part of the architecture. It's really nice to see those kinds of things and how beautiful and appropriate they are to the climate." To meet Oppenheim and hear more about his take on high performance building envelopes, register for Facades+ Miami today. See a list of symposium speakers and exclusive field trip options on the conference website.
AN has an exclusive look at a new home in Golden Beach, Florida designed by Chad Oppenheim of Oppenheim Architecture + Design. If we’re being honest here, the 23,000-square-foot home is really more of a resort masquerading as a private residence. Or maybe it's a private residence masquerading as a resort. Either way, the home is massive and packed with amenities. First, 699 Ocean Boulevard has a 5,000-square-foot spa that is twice the size of the average new home built in America. Inside the mansion-sized home spa is a steam room, sauna, arctic room (what?), treatment baths, and a sunken hammam room. There’s also a “spa pool with jets” and a “lap pool with a waterfall.” The very, very large home is comprised of stacked concrete volumes that are visually softened by overgrown vegetation and moveable vertical wood slats that act as a shading system. Massive window panes and openings connect the interior and exterior spaces giving the entire place a very open and airy feel. To complete the natural feel, Oppenheim plants a tall “living wall” of local and exotic flora in the main entryway. If at any point, this home—with its en-suite eight bedrooms—starts to feel a little cramped, there is always the 700-square-foot guest house next door. For the record, that guest is house is 200 square feet smaller than the home's main kitchen. “We worked really hard to make sure this home will enhance every aspect of your life–from pulling into this incredible garage to sitting on a second story terrace or a roof garden and opening the windows that retract automatically into the walls, really helping one connect viscerally to the place,” said Oppenheim in a promotional video for the home. The home is listed at $36 million so booking a few nights at a resort probably makes more sense. Looks like you're going to have to share the hammam room.
Silverstein Properties is developing a 1,100-foot-tall development on Manhattan's West Side, but it won't be Oppenheim Architecture + Design's proposal for a pair of towers linked by a mammoth greenhouse-topped bridge seen here. The scheme was revealed earlier this year as two speculative mixed-use towers comprising some 1.6 million square feet. Then called 514 Eleventh Avenue, the scheme would have stood eye to eye with the Empire State Building. In dramatic fashion, Oppenheim's renderings and video of the project detailed a pair of towers with stunning vistas of the Hudson River, the nearby Hudson Yards development, and the High Line. Then called 514 Eleventh Avenue, the glass-clad towers would be 60-stories tall and houses mostly residences, with offices and retail also in the building. At the top of the tower, a massive lounge area within the bridge created a greenhouse-like setting, complete with a game of croquet. A five-story retail mini-mall with a green wall–covered facade would occupy the base of the building. Oppenheim Architecture declined to comment on the project for this article. But those plans weren't meant to be. In July, Silverstein revealed new renderings of a single-tower proposal for a project now dubbed 520 West 41st Street. The basic specs remain the same, with a 1,100-foot-tall tower containing 1,400 residences (including 280 affordable apartments), 175,000 square feet of office space, and a stepped 140-foot-tall podium containing retail space. The project dropped the second tower and bridge connection in favor of a lighter, rectilinear form. The tower proposal has met some opposition from West Side residents. In letters sent to the New York City Department of City Planning, the Hell’s Kitchen Land Use Committee brought up complaints pertaining to the sheer size of the development. The committee also emphasized that equal amounts of attention and time should be applied to building and furnishing the “affordable housing” that the project promises as has been spent in producing the jaw-dropping renderings. One major hurdle still remains for the project—zoning. The developer met with the Department of City Planning on July 31st to begin arguing that the project should be rezoned from a predominantly office tower to the apartment building currently proposed. In the meantime, cancel your sky-high croquet plans for now.
After a two-year lull since we broke the story about a potential 440-foot-tall boutique hotel adjacent the Williamsburg Bridge, it looks like developer Juan Figueroa is moving forward with his plans to build a 250-room hotel next to his under-renovation Williamsburgh Savings Bank. The Real Deal reported that the boutique hotel could check in guests as soon as 2015. AN previously reported that Miami-based Oppenheim Achitecture + Design had won an international design competition in 2011, but since the initial announcement, little has been revealed about the design plans. Oppenheim’s 440-foot-tall tower, made up of three slabs, originally seemed like a radical departure from the generic high rises that have spread across Williamsburg. But now with SHoP Architects’ proposed designs for the Domino Sugar Site in the mix, it looks like the north Brooklyn skyline might be injected with a little imagination after being populated with its fair share of prosaic development. Plans for the hotel are in the early stages and an updated design has not been released, nor has Figueroa confirmed the Oppenheim design will be used, but the hotel will reportedly top out at 40 stories, which would fit with the previously reported height of Oppenheim's design. Figueroa is also in the process of turning the neo-classical Williamsburgh Saving Bank into an event space and gallery, and anticipates that the renovation will be complete by this fall.