Someone has stolen key works of furniture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and R.M. Schindler from a University of Southern California (USC) storage facility. The Los Angeles Times reports that a pair of lamps designed by Wright and a cushioned chair by Schindler disappeared from a South Los Angeles warehouse in 2012. The items, likely worth tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, were brought to the storage facility from the Samuel Freeman House, a textile block–style home designed by Wright in 1923. According to The Times, the theft had gone unreported until recently, when a reader sent an anonymous letter to the newspaper detailing the suspected theft. The Samuel Freeman House is located on a slope in L.A.’s ritzy Hollywood Hills. It is designed to take advantage of the changing grade to make the three-story home appear from the street to be shorter than it actually is, according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation website. Like the Ennis, Storer, and Millard homes, the Freeman Residence is built on a modular grid from thousands of 16-inch precast concrete blocks—12,000 in this case—designed by Wright to unify aesthetic expression and structural assembly. The resulting home cascades down its rugged site, revealing a partially-submerged bedroom level and descending terraces. Throughout its life as a private residence, the Freeman home hosted salons and other gatherings. In 1986, the owners donated the home to the USC School of Architecture. Like several other textile block homes, the structure was heavily damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake; it was structurally stabilized by the university in 2005. The home is currently undergoing additional renovations due to the earthquake damage. The textile block homes were built using only the aforementioned blocks and with little in the way of shear walls, lateral structure, or other seismic safeguards. While Wright designed the initial structure, Schindler renovated and added to the residence in the decades after it was completed. See here for a full set of Historic American Building Survey drawings and other information on the Freeman House. Since USC acquired the home, it has been used extensively as an educational tool and venue. In 2000, as USC geared up to renovate the home, the items in question were moved to the storage facility. A few years later, the items had disappeared. According to The Times, the circumstances surrounding the stolen furniture are somewhat strange. First, the items were located in a locked room that could only be accessed by a limited number of people. There are no suspects as of yet, but it appears that whoever stole the pieces likely had previous access, as investigators have not uncovered signs of forced entry into the storage area. Second, despite word of the missing items reaching the upper levels of the USC School of Architecture administration, the theft went unreported to authorities for years. And then there’s the issue of a recently-auctioned textile block believed to belong to the home. According to The Times, one of the home’s original blocks recently fetched $5,000 in an online sale. It is believed that the slightly-damaged block was removed from the home’s garage, perhaps directly after the Northridge quake or during the renovations. To boot, several other furniture works by Schindler were recently stolen from another storage facility in Los Angeles, this one managed by the Friends of the Schindler House, a nonprofit that maintains Schindler’s former residence in West Hollywood, home to the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. It is unclear if the two thefts are connected. According to the report, the Los Angeles Police Department is conducting a preliminary investigation into the missing pieces.
Posts tagged with "R.M. Schindler":
The historic Rudolph Schindler-designed Fitzpatrick-Leland House in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles has been converted into a preview and fitting location for the “luxury essentials” clothing brand Co. T Magazine reports that the recent change in use for the MAK Center-owned and operated home came about after the owners of the clothing brand initially inquired about using the hillside complex for a photo shoot. Eventually, a deal was worked out by the MAK Center and Co, and the center has been working hand-in-hand with the company to continue restoration efforts for the property started last fall, according to Priscilla Fraser, director of the MAK Center. In an email, Fraser explained that MAK considers Co as its current designers in residence, while adding that the installation is “a temporary arrangement while we go through the city process of altering the house’s use from residential to 'public benefit' so we can officially run it as a small museum.” The home, which was marketed as a potential AirBnB site a few years ago, has also been outfitted for its new use with abstract artworks on loan from L.A.’s Maccarone Gallery by artists Rosy Keyser and Marco Perego. Images accompanying the T article also showcased International Style furniture pieces on loan from L.A. dealer Joel Chen, a custom teak folding screen commissioned for the store, and a new kitchen table designed by Jed Lind, formerly of Commune Design. With the arrangement, Co, a clothing brand known for contemporary riffs on classic luxury designs, will occupy one of L.A.’s most quintessentially modernist homes. The L-shaped building was designed in 1936 and features a complex arrangement of interlocking interior and indoor-outdoor spaces, including terraces that overlook a swimming pool. The stucco house also features Schindler’s characteristic thickened, abstracted floor plates as well as floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a series of walkways that project into the surrounding eucalyptus tree canopy. The Fitzpatrick-Leland House was previously used as a base for the MAK Center’s Urban Future Initiative, a fellowship program supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State with a $410,000 grant benefitting international cultural thinkers, according to the MAK website. Given the multifaceted history of the house and the outside-the-box approach Fraser has taken with MAK’s properties since being appointed in 2016, it will likely not be the last new use envisioned for the historic home. For images from Co’s photoshoot at the home, see The New York Times website.
American artist Donald Judd may be known for his stainless steel and Plexiglas sculptures, but it's his furniture designs that shine at a new show titled Donald Judd: Specific Furniture, currently on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) through November 4. His rigorous explorations of form in sculpture have carried over to his furniture designs, which compose a parallel practice that began in the 1960s. The exhibition presents a mix of his work and his acquired pieces that served as major influences. He collected pieces by Alvar Aalto, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Gerrit Rietveld, Rudolph M. Schindler, and Gustav Stickley, who were among the modernist designers that inspired Judd to depart from the ornate and stylistic designs in fashion in the 1930s. His collection of furniture includes tables, desks, chairs, and beds, featuring a minimalist design language present in his ornament-free paintings and sculptures. “The difference between art and architecture is fundamental,” Judd once wrote. “Furniture and architecture can only be approached as such. Art cannot be imposed upon them. If their nature is seriously considered the art will occur, even art close to art itself.” According to a statement from SFMOMA, “his designs exemplify a singular vision of scale and proportion,” allowing for “a focus on details of form and the clear expression of materials.” His Open Side Chair 84 in wood was put alongside his Desk 10 in enameled aluminum in a photo of his architecture studio in Marfa, Texas, where he moved in 1971 and lived and worked until his death in 1994. In another photo of his former studio, now the Judd Foundation in Marfa, the delicate Frame Table 70 by Judd was ingeniously coupled with the iconic MR Side Chair by Mies. Frame Table 70’s unique design is said to resonate with Aalto’s Table 70, which sports a similar second-tier shelf detail. All in all, this exhibition repositions Judd’s design work within the twentieth-century canon. Check out this link for details and tickets.
Like many cities across the country, Los Angeles is suffering from a chronic shortage of housing, period. So, it's quite timely that House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Thirty One Episodes is set to arrive April 9. The exhibition, to be held at the Schindler House's MAK Center, showcases recently published research from the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. The product of a multi-year research project, House Housing is being published as a book and traveling exhibition, both of the same name and designed by New York City-based graphic design studio MTWTF. The research analyzes contemporary American housing typologies through the lens of design, policy, and finance, aiming to elucidate the interdependency between these topics in American housing today. The exhibition comes to Los Angeles after being exhibited at the recent architecture biennales in Venice and Chicago as well as in conjunction with the Wohnungsfrage ("The Housing Question") project at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. The opening event is scheduled for Saturday April 9 from 3-5pm and will be accompanied by a panel discussion moderated by LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne featuring Juliana Maxim, Julie Eizenberg and Andrew Wiese, to be followed by a free public reception. The exhibition runs through May 8th.
All summer the Los Bar—built by MAK Center residents Andreas Bauer, Christoph Meier, Robert Schwarz, and Lukas Stopczynski—gave those without airline travel points a taste of Vienna. Constructed in a garage of R.M. Schindler’s Mackey Apartments, the saloon mimics Adolf Loos’ American Bar, swapping out onyx and marble for painted MDF and cardboard. Police shut down the blind pig due to neighbor complaints, but we’re hoping all is not lost for Los/Loos. AN may volunteer the LA HQ for a Loos weekend.