Monday, June 13, 2011

Dan Duckham, Florida Architect

In the 1950s, Dan Duckham began developing an architectural style influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic architecture and geared to the Florida climate. Here are some of his projects. For the full story on Dan Duckham, order the Summer 2011 issue of Modernism.

Fabulous British Fabrics

Shirley Craven and other designers at the Hull Traders textile company produced some of the most original and popular fabrics in Great Britain at mid-century. With their big, bold patterns and bright colors, with long vertical repeats, the fabrics — silk-screened by hand — were most commonly used as drapes for the new modernist buildings of the time, a perfect foil for enormous windows and stark interiors. Here are a few fabrics produced by Hull Traders. For the full story of Shirley Craven and Hull Traders, see the Summer 2011 issue of Modernism.

Tools at School

What famous design school won the ICFF Editor’s Award in the School category this year? Tools at Schools, a collaboration among the eighth-graders at The School at Columbia University, a K – 8 school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the creative consultancy Aruliden and Bernhardt Design. A pilot project for integrating design into education, Tools at School was driven by the conviction that the design process can teach children “how to create, how to question the obvious, how to communicate their ideas, and how things are actually made” as they engage with math, writing, science, art and technology and learn practical skills they will need in the real world. Here are some photos of the process and the results. For more information about Tools at Schools, visit

A Mexican Revolution in Graphic Arts: Art Deco Illustration

Zachary Lindsey's article in our Fall issue looks at the development of a Mexican Art Deco style in the early 20th century following the Mexican revolution. Borrowing from European Deco, Mexican artists seeking a homegrown identity crafted new and vibrant graphic styles that came to dominate the look of the dozens of politics, culture and style magazines that sprang up in those heady, optimistic and chaotic years. Their drawings range from sardonic caricature to elegant beauty. Here is Lindsey's guide to collecting these illustrations.

Back issues of Revista de Revistas for sale in El Laberinto, a used-book store in Mexico City.
 Photo by Zachary Lindsey.

Collecting Mexican Deco Illustrations
Merchants in Mexico City tend to arrange themselves in “tianguis,” areas of the city where store owners all sell similar wares. On Donceles Street near Mexico City’s famous Zocalo, a plaza in the city center, are dozens of used bookstores, many of which sell back issues of El Universal, Revista de Revistas, Proceso, and other magazines from the 1900s. In some stores, such as El Laberinto, a collector can find copies of Revista de Revistas in good condition from the late 1930s onward, featuring more common covers, for as little as 50 pesos (a little less than $5), but to get some of the rarer or older issues, such as ones featuring covers by García Cabral or Andres Audiffred, a collector must go to a store such as Libreria Porrúa, and can expect to pay 400 to 500 pesos (about $40 to $50) for a good or near-mint magazine. Most vendors are friendly and willing to haggle, and if they don’t have a particular magazine, they will direct a collector to a store that may have it.


Ernesto García Cabral, Woman of the Future
cover design for Revista de Revistas, 1925.
Collection of Ernesto García Cabral Sans.

El Laberinto

74-A Donceles Street 
+52 55 5510-9822

Librería Porrúa 
104 Donceles Street 
+52 55 5702-4934, Ext. 718

El Gran Remate
81-1 Donceles Street
+52 55 5510-9012

Librería La Torre de Viejo
97 Miguel Ángel de Quevedo Street
+52 55 5661-1266

Librería Ático
174 Álvaro Obregón Avenue 
+52 55 5264-8230

Librería Teorema
79 Cuauhtémoc Avenue 
+52 55 5525-2037

Librería Hermanos de la Hoja 
78-1 Donceles Street 
+52 55 5512-3790

Librería Inframundo
48 Donceles Street
+52 55 5512-2681

The Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL), housed in the former telegraph building at 8 Tacuba Street in downtown Mexico City, holds an enormous amount of Mexican art, including a room devoted to García Cabral, Audiffred and others. +52 55 5130 3400,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Last Views of a Collection

The Château de Gourdon collection of early 20th-century decorative arts and design, assembled over fifteen years by Laurent Negro, and open to the public for several years at the château, was sold at Christie’s in Paris last March. The sale was the last opportunity to view the collection intact, and more than 17,000 people visited the pre-sale display. Here are some of the exceptional pieces from the collection. For the full story of the collection and the sale, see Modernism’s Summer issue.

Products for the Great Outdoors

The portable Garden (Egg) chair, designed in 1968 for indoor and outdoor use by Hungarian-German, designer Peter Ghyczy, who lives in the Netherlands, opens and closes like a clam shell, rendering it completely waterproof. Both the upholstered seat and the plastic shell are available in a wide variety of mix-and-match colors. Price about $3,000, shipping not included. For more information, visit; to purchase, contact Rizz at or +31 33 247 77 00.

Sina Pearson’s new Global Village line of indoor/outdoor fabrics, made of 100% solution-dyed Bella-Dura® olefin fibers, won’t fade in the sun or mildew in the rain. The fibers are a byproduct of the petroleum refining process, using material that would otherwise be incinerated. Available for $78 to $112 per yard in four patterns of stripes and florals in 20 complementary colorways — from earth colors to muted  bright reds and yellows — through design professionals and selected showrooms. For more information, visit

The Obus light is an amazingly simple and versatile source of illumination for both indoors and out. Designed by Peter Stathis of Virtual Studio, San Francisco, for the lighting company Joby, the translucent acrylic glass oval, fitted with an LED bulb rated to last 40,000 hours, can be turned on or off while charging on a small stand. Grabbing it by its comfortably indented sides, its bright light beaming from the bottom, you can use it as a flashlight to find your way to your outdoor dining table. You can then place it on the table to provide soft illumination for up to 25 hours on a single charge of its lithium ion battery. Available for $250 starting in August from

Innit, a Mexican company founded by a Canadian ex-pat, makes minimalist hot-weather chairs out of vinyl cord strung on powder-coated steel frames. Offered in several bowl-like shapes, the chairs draws on a 1940s-era design, conceived, legend has it, by a French tourist who, tired of melting in the Mexican heat on solid chairs, noticed the airiness of the traditional rope hammocks. The chairs’ vinyl is strung using an ancient Mayan hammock weaving technique. The Acapulco (right), Innit (left) and Concha are available in a wide range of colors for $495; a child’s version of the Acapulco is $350.
Order from

The press-molded steel Emu Pattern outdoor collection, designed by Arik Levy for Coalesse, includes durable chairs, benches and tables, with a cut-out hexagonal pattern ideal for hot weather. Available in five textured matte colors. Chairs and benches are $744; round table, $599; square table, $849. For retailers, visit

If your summer barbecue spot is a rooftop terrace or an apartment balcony, Black+Blum’s new terra-cotta Hot-Pot BBQ, with a 37-inch diameter, will be perfect. Its lid does double duty as a planter, so you can grow the herbs for your grilled dishes, too. Available at for $124.

Brothers Doug and Gene Meyer have traveled the world and distilled the colors, patterns, flora and atmospheres they encountered into a decidedly retro look for their new collection of outdoor fabrics and cushions. The solution-dyed acrylic Link Outdoor Fabric collection includes nine patterns, with coordinating solids and fringe trims. Square throw pillows range in price from $120 to $170; custom chair cushions are also available. For moreinformation, visit

Tip Ton is a colorful polypropylene chair for indoor or outdoor use. Designed for comfort by the British firm of Barber Ogersby for Vitra, it features angled skids that rock forward and stay in place, so you can lean forward to straighten your spine and keep your back comfortable. The stackable Tip Ton comes in eight bright colors and is cast from a single mold, without hardware, so it is 100% recyclable. Available starting in August for $315 at Vitra stores in New York and Los Angeles, as well as select retailers. For information, visit

Crate and Barrel introduced the Finnish company Marimekko’s silk-screened fabrics to their Chicago housewares store in 1966, helping to popularize the bright, bold patterns that came to epitomize an era. Building on a resurgence of interest in the company’s designs, Crate and Barrel has introduced a Marimekko Shop both online and at its brick-and-mortar stores: the first two are in New York with more to follow. Marimekko’s gay designs enliven a wide range of products, from pillows and bed linens to raincoats, kitchenware and shade umbrellas. The Madison umbrella in a yellow-and-white floral design from 1977, by groundbreaking designer Maija Isola, retails for $179 in a 6-foot-round version and $289 for 9-foot-round. For retail locations or to purchase online, visit

Richard Schultz, designer of the eponymous classic 1966 outdoor furniture collection, has released the new Mateo collection. The chairs, framed in extruded aluminum in clear, anodized dark bronze or 16 powder coat colors, have a stretchy elastomeric mesh seat available in five colors in a striped weave, made by alternating between transparent and opaque mesh. The collection includes coffee and dining tables, dining and lounge chairs and chaises lounges. For information on dealers, visit