It may be unwise to meddle with perfection, but the Italian furniture company Cassina is taking its chances, releasing a clever outdoor version of the LC1 sling chair, the iconic 1928 design by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand. The tubular frame, originally produced in steel and later replaced with chrome, has been returned to stainless steel with silver welds for all-weather performance. The leather seat and armrests have been swapped out for waterproof, fade-resistant Sunbrella fabric, proving how “innovation in materials can lift a classic to new heights while still maintaining its original design concept,” said Kari Woldum, vice president at Design Within Reach, which is selling the outdoor LC1. The designer looks still come with a designer price: $2,345.
Design, Architecture, Gardens,
Southern California Living
Conceived 70 years ago, Park La Brea has managed to remain relevant in a city that seems to grow ever-young. Perhaps that is because the apartment complex still inspires extreme reactions. One is either in or out of Park La Brea's gates, a resident or a ranter, and sometimes both.
Troll the Internet and your nets will sag with a tonnage of opinions, not unexpected for a place with 4,255 units, still the largest housing development west of the Mississippi. Ardent emotions swirl about its 31 two-story garden apartment buildings and 18 towers, each 13 stories high (one of which is pictured at right, photographed in 1998).
“Never in a million years would I move here.” That had been the proclamation of Rome Viharo, until he did move into an 11th floor apartment one year ago with his 6-year-old son, Rome.
“I always hated Park La Brea — a place for old people, the monotony, a middle-class housing project, the antithesis of L.A.,” Viharo said, sipping coffee outside a Park La Brea espresso bar. He said he had a typical “L.A. hipster” sensibility until a separation from his wife and the need for a child-friendly residence brought him to his knees.
“Kids can ride their bikes to school, they can make lifelong friends here,” he said, likening the complex to a golf resort — though one with “a lot of sameness.”
Wright, the Chicago auction house that focuses on 20th century furniture and art, has uncovered some rarities for its March 31 Modern design sale. The firm has acquired not only bronze Gazelle chairs by Dan Johnson and a desk by Roy McMakin, but also more than a dozen pieces -- many of them custom design and presumed designers' prototypes -- from the home of Henry Glass.
"Glass is somewhat obscure but was a beloved Chicago industrial designer who taught at the Art Institute," auction house owner Richard Wright said of Glass, who died in 2003 at age 92. "He designed thousands of things, the most famous being the Swingline collection of children's furniture for Fleetwood in the 1950s, which is really cool stuff."
Glass' collection included the 1955 table pictured above, a colorful and clever design by the protégé of early modern furniture designers Gilbert Rohde and Russel Wright. Each of the lacquered stools has two legs and calls upon a table support as a third leg. When the seats are not in use, they can be swung under the table. It's a cool design estimated to sell for a cool $2,000 to $3,000.
Other sale highlights include about two dozen pieces by Swiss designer and Le Corbusier collaborator Pierre Jeanneret, including this 1955 sofa, left, created for a building in Chandigarh, India.
Departing from traditional architecture, the city was designed as "a grand urban planning experiment" by midcentury modernists, Wright said.
"There has been some controversy," he added, "because some buildings have been altered and destroyed and parts of this architectural legacy are being sold off by the government and sent out into the world."
Bidding for such historical pieces is not for the squeamish. On the low end, estimates for simple stools and writing chairs start at $3,000. This 4.5-foot-long upholstered teak sofa is expected to fetch $25,000 to $30,000.
This sale is the first of Wright's twice-yearly events and follows some interesting bidding on Wright's auction last June.
-- David A. Keeps
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Eric Joyner's "Hello Topiary," above, is not (excuse the pun) a garden-variety landscape. The oil-on-wood painting, which depicts a robot gardener shaping hedges into Hello Kitty and other designs from the Japanese character factory Sanrio, goes on display at "Small Gift Los Angeles" from Nov. 12 to 21 at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sanrio, the event will include food trucks, miniature golf and a pop-up shop. The main draw is an art exhibition with nearly a dozen installation rooms and about 100 pieces by the likes of Paul Frank and Gary Baseman. For crafty types, the Japanese artist Naoshi will be teaching a workshop in how to render Hello Kitty with colored sand.
All of the works feature Sanrio characters and were created for this show.The results are sweet and, in the case of Nouar's acrylic-on-maple-panel "Hello Chicken Dinner," right, surreal.
Nouar's work is $1,200. Joyner's topiary painting is $9,800. Others works start at $200.
The show raises a question as simple as its subject matter: Why?
Most of the participating California-based artists feel a kinship with what show curator Jamie Rivandeneira called the "cute culture community." It is fueled by childhood nostalgia and has a positivity that remains undiminished in an increasingly complicated world.
In Hello Kitty, she added, artists find a muse who is also a blank canvas.
"She doesn't have any emotions," Rivandeneira said. "You can project anything onto her."
Even, it seems, a coating of Shake 'N Bake. Is that original recipe or extra crispy? Keep reading for more Sanrio-themed works ...
In a spell-check-challenged exhibition titled "You ... Go, Girlz!" Ramon Delgado-Maynes, owner of the L.A. vintage design store Material Environment, celebrates contemporary female artists and furniture designers including decorator Kelly Wearstler, fashionista Linda Loudermilk and sculptor Karin Swildens. The show runs through Nov. 21 at 7466 Beverly Blvd.
The big discovery: Betty Cobonpue, right, a Philippines-based designer who in the 1980s created a line of furniture called Scultura. The collection included the bedroom ensemble above. The pieces are superbly crafted with prices that reflect their rarity: A dresser with ribbon detailing that twists and curls to form pulls on the six drawers is $2,850. The matching side tables are $2,450 for the pair. The lamps, which sit on flared marble tables, are $1,400 for the pair.
Looking at them? Free.
Delgado-Manes discovered these unusual items at an estate sale of a Filipina homeowner in Agoura Hills who had commissioned a suite of furniture from Cobonpue.
"At face value, the unique fantasy beauty of the pieces was enough," Delgado-Manes said. "Discovering her philosophy surrounding this articulated yet organic design inspired this show."
Cobonpue has described her design sensibility with a simple mantra: "No hard edges." In her work, lines flow smoothly through the entire piece. She often includes decorative embellishments such as leaf patterns and scalloped edges. Unlike contemporary furniture that is woven, Cobonpue's furniture is made from thin pieces of rattan vine, meticulously cut, heated and wet-bent over wooden forms.
"This method makes them very strong, not wobbly like most furniture made of the same materials," Delgado-Manes said. Her ability to maintain a consistent finish is "mesmerizing."
Though she has retired, Cobonpue passed her skills and sensibility to her son, Kenneth Cobonpue, who sells equally innovative contemporary furniture at Twentieth. Keep reading to see more of Betty Cobonpue's designs ...