Thursday, August 30, 2012

Great architecture part two

My knees always get weak and I'm feeling very humble when I stand in front of a building by Frank Lloyd Wright. They just have that effect on me.

I visited Circle Gallery when I visited San Fransisco this summer. The Building is a little known, little published work of Frank Lloyd Wright from 1940. It is located on a small side street off of Union Square. A small sign at the lower back of the interior of the gallery warns that the building is made of plain, unreinforced concrete. The Gallery has changed use many times over the years, from a jewellery shop, to art gallery and on my most recent visit, selling native American Indian artifacts. It was clearly a precedent for the Guggenheim Museum of New York, with the use of the spiral viewing ramp overlooking the central space.

The facade is beautiful in its simplicity, where subtle patterns in the brickwork make a great impact.

I've seen a few of Frank Lloyd Wrights residential buildings in Chicago as well as the Guggenheim and they always amaze and impress me.


Ready for a dose of great architecture?

I visited Salk Institute this summer. It's a masterpiece of late modernist architecture (1959-1966) by architect Louis Kahn. Progressing from the International Style, he believed buildings should be monumental and spiritually inspiring. Kahn was commissioned to design the Salk Institute in 1959 by Dr. Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine. Salk’s vision included a facility with an inspiring environment for scientific research.

Before designing, Kahn referenced and pstudied monasteries in order to build his concept of an “intellectual retreat.” With a prime location in La Jolla, California and bordering the Pacific Ocean, Kahn took advantage of the site’s tranquil surroundings and abundant natural light. His scheme became a symmetrical plan, two structures mirroring each other separated by an open plaza.

The materials that make up the Salk Institute consist of concrete, teak, lead, glass, and steel. The concrete was poured using a technique studied in Roman architecture. Once the concrete was set, he allowed no further finishing touches in order to attain a warm glow in the concrete.

The open plaza is made of travertine marble, and a single narrow strip of water runs down the center, linking the buildings to the vast Pacific Ocean. Your view is then directed towards nature, reminding you of your scale compared to the scale of the ocean. The strip of water also enhances the symmetry intended in the plan and creates a sense of monumentality in the otherwise bare open plaza that is meant to be in the words of Luis Barragan “a facade to the sky.
 Words: ArchDaily's and mine
Images: mine


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How very original...

All you thrifters and collectors of Figgjo and other mid- century brands out there probably have it, but it still is gorgeous, isn't it? The Market pattern by Turid Gramstad Oliver is one of my favourite Figgjo designs. I love the colors and the pattern, little market stalls selling fish, flowers and vegs. The men and women are beautifully detailed. This covered dish is surprisingly small for a dinner set, but makes a great centerpiece on my dinner table.


Another gorgeous house...

Another modernist beauty. The Opdahl house is amazing, it's located in the Marina del Rey area of LA and was designed by Edward Killingsworth in the late fifties. The guy who bought it contacted the couple it was built for (the Opdahls), and got all the information he needed from them to restore it as close to it's original glory as possible. Isn't it beautiful? Images courtesy of Dwell magazine.


Great tabletop stuff!

I love these candle holders from Figgjo. They made them in three different heights, these are the medium sized ones. The black on white pattern is really crisp, I only wish I knew what it's called. Anyone?

At the same time I bought this nice teak cheeseboard. I always wanted one of these and suddenly there it was!
My mom met our old neighbour the other day, whose kids i used to play with as a child. When she heard I loved sixties teak stuff, she went home to dig out these lovely sideplates for bread and sent them to me! Thank you so so much, Solveig!

Vintage planters

I bought these two planters at FRETEX (the Salvation Army chain of thrift stores). I think they make a nice pair, the brown and green one looks a bit west german pottery- ish, maybe it is? The brown, glazed one has a really nice pattern. How much they were? 5 norwegian kroner, that's less than a dollar each...

Oh my goodness!

How gorgeous is this interior?? It's located in Borrego Springs, San Diego County, and was designed by Maurice McKenzie. Notice the beautiful tiles in the kitchen, they are from a line by Heath Ceramics for Dwell magazine, you can check them out at They look stunning alongside the teakwood and the colored glass and ceramics.
All the images are courtesy of Dwell magazine, I'll let them speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tweet, tweet...

I just got this cute little bird from Hadeland. I don't know a great deal about it, but I know it was part of a line of glass ornaments. I think my mom had hearts from the same line. Does anyone know the production period? I'm guessing late sixties, maybe early seventies.

Ekornes Combina daybeds

Ingmar Relling designed these great daybeds for norwegian manufacturer Ekornes in the mid- sixties. They were part of a vey successful line of furniture that could be combined in many ways, hence the name Combina. We used to have them at home when I grew up, and one of them became my bed when my parents got new couches. The seat could be lifted to store my pillow and duvet when I had friends over. It's a classic mid- century piece of furniture, quite similar to the George Nelson daybed.
A couple of years ago I tried to get hold of a couple of them, put an ad on FINN (the norwegian equiuvalent to Ebay) and found two just an hours drive from where I live! And they were the exact same green color we had back home.

The woodwork was in quite a bad shape, the legs having been bumped into for decades when vacuuming. The daybeds had spent the last ten years in a basement and were soon to be thrown out.  All the legs as well as the support for the seatbacks needed som TLC real badly. The less visible parts of 60s teak furniture were often made of beech wood and then given a teak stain. This was a way of economizing as exotic woods were very expensive. The exposed wooden parts are made of teak, and, luckily, are in very good shape.
I sanded all the old stain and oil off (hard work to do by hand, do not recommend it...), then gave it a new coat of good quality teakwood stain. I was originally planning to reupholster them, but the color is so great, and you don't get wool fabric of a similar quality anymore. I decided it would be a shame not to keep it, and had it thoroughly cleaned.
I gave away some perfectly good couches for these, and have to admit they are not half as comfortable, but I love them to bits..... I'm totally in love with teak firniture. I have a beautiful credenza that I will show you later. The table in the photographs are my grandparents old coffee table, also in gorgeous teak. Bless the sixties!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Figgjo Folklore

Yay, I just got my grandmothers Figgjo Folklore set handed down to me. My mother wasn't using it and needed to free some space in her cupboards. Isn't it a great pattern?

The plates are called "tv-plates"and has a space for a cup in the corner, making it practical to have a small meal in front of the telly, without having to balance a cup, saucer and a plate.


Traditional Sandnes pottery

I so love the traditional pottery from Sandnes, close to where I grew up. Historically, this area of Norway was almost tree- less and with no timber industry. In fact, the many ship- wrecks along this rough stretch of coastline represented badly needed timber for housebuilding. The timber became a very valuable commodity, and was only used on the front facade of the house, the rest was made of stone. Due to the lack of timber, the materials had to be reused, and this area does not have many really old houses. You can, however, still spot ship timber in barns. This was quite a digression...
BUT, there was clay of great quality, that was used for making roof tiles that you could even find on the walls of really old houses instead of wood panelling. In addition, pottery for food storage was made on a large scale. The pottery tradition started out with brown glazed jars in different sizes and with modest designs for food storage, then evolved into great brands like Gann Graveren, Figgjo, Stavangerflint and Egersunds fayance, brands that we all know and love.
My grandmothers generation were the last ones to use these jars in the traditional sense, for preparation and storage of food. Nowadays you can buy them in antique- or thrift stores, if you're not lucky enough as to have one handed down to you. Nowadays they are mostly used for plants or kitchen utensils. They are very popular locally (I think elsewhere to), and this, of course, is reflected in the prices. My gran (rest her soul) would probably faint if she knew how much I paid for mine....
Some of this pottery are being produced at Sandnes still, by a pottery maker called "Pottemaker Simonsen". The little traditional flute (front, left) and the little bowl are from his shop. My jars however, I have three medium sized ones (two of them shown here with plants) and a big one (34 cm tall), are around a hundred years old and still going strong. I really treasure them, they add a sense of warmth and tradition to my house, and of course, remind me of home...
I'm hunting for the large, original version of this little bowl. It looks the same but is much larger, and was used for the preparation of food as well as baking.

Who needs expensive artwork?

Who needs to get expensive art when you can get precious artpieces like these for free- including a hug??
It's quite some time since my sons made these, but I cherish them so much, they all sit on my shelves, making me happy each time I look at them.
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