The Modernist Marvels of LA

When first thinking about our new Autumn collection, some of Oli's nascent inspirations kept coming back to his experiences in the Midwest of America, where huge endless landscapes co-exist with some of the most interesting architecture ever built. The Midwest is the design Mecca for modernist architecture and was home to some of the greatest proponents of it, but Los Angeles and California was where a good deal of the work was realised due to the wealthy, left-thinking liberal client base. Their work in the early part of the 20th century would forever shape not only the landscape but also how we approach the 'art' of living (eight Lloyd Wright residences were recently added to UNESCO's World Heritage List).

Mid-century design grew from a desire for simplification of structure and form in an attempt to move towards a purity of design. In many ways, we are still on that journey, especially in the fashion industry, where we are now more focused than ever on streamlining production, reducing waste and improving sustainability, all the while producing the highest quality products. 

It's this interaction between design and the natural world that inspired our Autumn collection, and it's this same interaction that many of the mid-century modernists were so driven to explore. For some that meant building shapes that mimicked those in nature, while for others it meant using glass to smudge the boundary between the natural world and the human one. Either way, they're some of the most incredible architectural designs you'll ever see, and certainly gave inspiration to elements of our Autumn collection.


Neutra VDL Studio and Residences

Neutra VDL Studio and Residences

 COWBOY JACKET LAWLEY CHARCOAL

COWBOY JACKET
LAWLEY CHARCOAL

DRAWSTRING TROUSERS
LAWLEY CHARCOAL

Nearly 90 years ago in Los Angeles, Viennese-American architect Richard Neutra built what was then, as it is now, a radical glass house on Silverlake Boulevard. On a small 60 x 70ft lot, it was conceived to house two families and Neutra's own office. It was a nimble experiment in urban living, to the small tune of $10,000. But in 1963 disaster struck, destroying almost all of the building bar a garden house and the basement of the original wing. Distraught but determined, Neutra and his son Dion set about redesigning the iconic house, with two floors and a penthouse solarium soon built upon the original prefabricated basement structure. The original clarity of the first structure had been replaced by a more complex but nonetheless modernist design, where internal structures create rooms that feel separate and encased. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2016.

neutra-vdl.org

 


Sheats-Goldstein Residence

 BLENHEIM JUMPER FAIRWAY BEIGE

BLENHEIM JUMPER
FAIRWAY BEIGE

BLENHEIM JUMPER FAIRWAY OCHRE

BLENHEIM JUMPER
FAIRWAY OCHRE


Fans of The Big Lebowski will immediately recognize the image above, that of the Sheats-Goldstein residence in Westwood, Los Angeles. Originally designed by John Lautner for Helen and Paul Sheats and their three children, it was bought by eccentric businessman and basketball nut James Goldstein in 1972. In a somewhat dilapidated condition, Goldstein commissioned Lautner to once again work on the building, something he did for the next two decades until his death in 1994. Lautner's constant remodellings were masterful. In fact, the architect not only designed the house but also the interiors, windows, lighting, rugs and furniture. Goldstein has pledged the residence to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as a gift (along with with a 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud!)
so as to preserve the legacy of this magnificent home and John Lautner's greatest work.

jamesfgoldstein.com
 

 

Schindler House and Studio



 TALBOT ROLL NECK JUMPER BASING ECRU

TALBOT ROLL NECK JUMPER
BASING ECRU

TALBOT ROLL NECK JUMPER BASING NAVY

TALBOT ROLL NECK JUMPER
BASING NAVY


Austrian-born architect Rudolph Schindler (who also worked with Richard Neutra) designed this West Hollywood icon of design over the course of two months in late 1921 while in LA overseeing construction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. A year later, the radical house was complete although not after many failed attempts to get planning permission. From above, the house looks like two interlocking 'L' shapes made from tilted concrete slabs and a guest apartment extending from one end, and was designed to be used by multiple families in a very Californian communal setup in which the living spaces and kitchen would be shared. There were no bedrooms either - sleeping arrangements were by way of four-poster rooftop porches!

In the 1920s and early 1930s the house became - at the behest of Rudolph's wife Pauline - the focus of constant social gatherings. Maurice Browne, a founder of the Chicago Little Theatre, recalled in his autobiography that Pauline, “…brilliant, warmhearted, bitter-tongued…was trying to create a salon amid Hollywood’s cultural slagheap….” Today it is run by the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, who preserve and promote Schindler’s architecture and continue his and Pauline’s legacy of artistic and cultural experimentation.

makcenter.org/sites/schindler-house


 

Stahl House

Stahl House

 BLENHEIM JUMPER SIERRA CHARCOAL MULTI

BLENHEIM JUMPER SIERRA
CHARCOAL MULTI

BLENHEIM JUMPER ALVES DARK GREY

BLENHEIM JUMPER
ALVES DARK GREY


High in the Hollywood Hills perches the incredible Stahl House, built in 1959 by architect Pierre Koenig. The original idea for the building was hatched by the Stahl family themselves, when in 1954, Buck and Carlotta Stahl purchased the relatively small lot high above Sunset Blvd and went about building a concrete perimeter wall. In the summer of '56, Buck presented architect Pierre Koenig with an architectural model of his vision and work began soon thereafter, being completed in May, 1960. With floor to ceiling glass walls offering panoramic views of LA, and some physics-defying cantilevering, Stahl House gracefully extends out from the rock it sits on, jutting into the thick LA air.

Stahl House became the most famous home in what later became known as the Case Study House program: From 1945 to 1966, John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture magazine enlisted some of the most famous designers of the day to build single-family residences that would promote the tenets of modernist architecture - the clean lines, horizontality, interaction with nature and light - in order to educate the American middle class on the benefits of surprisingly inexpensive prefabricated structures. As such, Stahl House became one of the most photographed buildings ever built.

stahlhouse.com

 

Eames House

 BLENHEIM JUMPER INGRAM MULTI

BLENHEIM JUMPER
INGRAM MULTI

BLENHEIM JUMPER SIERRA NAVY MULTI

BLENHEIM JUMPER
SIERRA NAVY MULTI

Never has there been a greater power couple in the world of design than Ray and Charles Eames, who designed and lived in this magnificent modernist property in the Pacific Palisades. Completed in 1949, the Eames House was also part of the aforementioned Case Study House program, designed to whet the appetite of Middle America for prefab builds. Early sketches of the building were done with the aid of legendary architect Eero Saarinen, and incorporated a large glass and steel structure with an adjacent studio. If you're familiar with Eames' furniture, then you'll recognise the design of the house instantly - the black frame grid and coloured panels. As Charles Eames once said, "Everything eventually connects", and it was their intention that this building would allow nature to be as much a part of the experience of day-to-day living as the structure itself.

eamesfoundation.org/house/eames-house

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published