Austria

Thonet at the MAK

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When I visited the MAK design museum in Vienna a few weeks back, I was struck by the exhibition design choice for their Thonet furniture.  Since writing a post about Thonet cafe chairs, I knew I would have to see some in person before I left the city.  

The chairs are lined up behind white screens so their shadows create a graphic hallway.  Displaying them in this way accentuates their simplicity and lines.  

Fact: It's actually pronounced TAWN-at: Pronunciation guide

Frankfurt Kitchen

A few weeks ago I visited the MAK design museum in Vienna, and tucked away in a back corner was a Frankfurt Kitchen.  I had never heard of a Frankfurt Kitchen before, but it quickly became clear that it was a massively influential piece of design. 

The Frankfurt Kitchen was designed in 1926 by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky to be used in a new housing development in Frankfurt, Germany.  Housing was in short supply after WWI, so the kitchen was designed to be highly efficient and space saving.  The design was so successful that 10,000 of these kitchens were built in the late 1920s.  

The kitchen incorporated modern technology so the user would find everything they need within arms reach.  For example, the over head light is on a track so it can be repositioned depending on need.     

Frankfurt Kitchen Cuboard - $1250 on Etsy

Frankfurt Kitchen Cuboard - $1250 on Etsy

A 1989-90 replica of the Frankfurt Kitchen at the  MAK

A 1989-90 replica of the Frankfurt Kitchen at the MAK

The Fallout: 

The kitchen went from being a multi-use room where people cooked, congregated, and even slept to a focused work space.  

It was optimal for one person, and cramped for two, so chores because the sole responsibility of the housewife.  Even though the kitchen was designed to help the housewife, it ended up isolating her.   

The Demise:  

Most of the kitchens were replaced in the 1960s and 1970s by "modern" kitchens.  There are very few originals that still exist.   

In 2005 a kitchen sold for 22,680 €, and another for 34,200€.  Even the aluminum drawers fetch a pretty penny.  My brief Etsy/Ebay search demonstrated that I can't afford them. 

Fountains, Geysers, Volcanoes, oh my!

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The other day day I visited the Belvedere Palace.  In the back garden there was a fountain that was made to look like a geyser shooting out of volcanic rock.  This was so lovely.  Why don't I see this more?

I have pictures without these people in it, but where is the fun in that?

I have pictures without these people in it, but where is the fun in that?

I kept walking and stumbled on the Hochstrahlbrunnen Fountain.  They were going for a similar effect, but it didn't work.  The center part was clearly a ring of stones, and the small outer jets stuck out of their stone clusters too far.  

So after seeing something I loved, I was immediately shown how it could go wrong.   

 

Buildings & Trees

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Across from the Hilton Vienna (where I live) there is a buildings with a long concrete cantilevered roof and tree growing through it.  There is a good chance the building is part of the design college complex that is in the area.   

Clearly this was a design choice, and I like it.  It feels good to be in a space that tips it's hat to nature--be it a mighty ol' oak or something planted after the construction.  There is something about seeing a tree, that is as an obvious tare-down, be spared.  

KENNETH M. WYNER PHOTOGRAPHY, INC.   

KENNETH M. WYNER PHOTOGRAPHY, INC.

 
Mexico

Mexico

Tokyo,  OnDesign

Tokyo, OnDesign

dental office designed by Hironaka Ogawa in Gunma, Japan

dental office designed by Hironaka Ogawa in Gunma, Japan

But then again, there is nothing like building around something majestic:

Japanese architectural firm Tezuka Architects

Japanese architectural firm Tezuka Architects

Built as an additional space for Fuji Kindergarten in Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan

Built as an additional space for Fuji Kindergarten in Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan

Figueira Rubaiyat ,   Rua Haddock Lobo 1738  ,   Sao Paulo, State of Sao Paulo  ,   Brazil

Figueira RubaiyatRua Haddock Lobo 1738Sao Paulo, State of Sao PauloBrazil

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And then there is this... 

Faux Beaux-Art

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This past weekend I visited the Belvedere Palace Art Museum in Vienna, Austria.  

When I visit museums, I keep myself entertained by writing down all my favorite piece.  Then I go home and scour the internet for for JEPGs.  

When I was searching for a JPEG of  Freidrich von Amerling's Rudolf von Arthaber with his Children, I uncovered an image of the below living room.  This image took me to FineArt-China, a site where you can buy faux paintings (and even get yourself painted into them).

My gut instinct is to resist all things faux, but then I started looking at that living room and thinking about how I will never-ever-no-way-in-hell own an authentic old master panting, and my resolve started slipping.  Maybe it's okay to go faux if it is over the top.   

 

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I started poking around the site, and stumbled upon Louis XIV, and then I was SOLD!!!!!

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This is a the "place holder" poster I have had in my home for eight years.  It's time for an upgrade!

This is a the "place holder" poster I have had in my home for eight years.  It's time for an upgrade!

I kept messing about in the Old Masters section, and found many other works I would consider owner.  Here are just a few: 

Turner - Burning the House of Parliaments  

Turner - Burning the House of Parliaments  

Cabanel - The Birth of Venus

Cabanel - The Birth of Venus

John Singer Sargent - Madame X

John Singer Sargent - Madame X

Renoir - La Loge

Renoir - La Loge

Caravaggio - Bacchus

Caravaggio - Bacchus

Jacques-Louis David - Napoleon Crossing Saint Bernard

Jacques-Louis David - Napoleon Crossing Saint Bernard

Ingres

Ingres

Dega

Dega

Globes globes globes

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Yes, I am living and working in Vienna, Austria right now.  I know you expected my first post about design in Vienna to be about epic moldings, or something like that, but it is actually going to be about globes!  

After spending a day walking around the city, I wasn't up to doing a big art museum, so I decided to pop into the Globe Museum (I know, super random).   But it was fabulous!  Rooms and rooms of globes! 

I didn't know much about globes going in, but now I know....a little bit.  I know that globes used to be made in pairs: terrestrial and celestial.   I know that moon globes have a blank side because we don't know what the back of the moon looks like.  I know that topography globes aren't to scale (they use a height multiplier) because you would barely be able to see Mt. Everest. And I know that I want one.

 

Old celestial globe.  The illustrations of the constellations are perfection.

Old celestial globe.  The illustrations of the constellations are perfection.

New-ish celestial globe.

New-ish celestial globe.

Celestial and terrestrial globe pair.  They look awesomely mid-century

Celestial and terrestrial globe pair.  They look awesomely mid-century

Celestial and terrestrial book ends

Celestial and terrestrial book ends

Topography globe

Topography globe

Moon globe

Moon globe

Have you been noticing globes popping up everywhere lately?  I feel like every well decorated room has a globe in the corner.  And I'm not complaining.  

Jade-Snow Carroll and Ian Rasch own and decorated this home, designed my Adam Rolston (my cousin!) via  NYTimes

Jade-Snow Carroll and Ian Rasch own and decorated this home, designed my Adam Rolston (my cousin!) via NYTimes

Globes aren't just popping up on side tables.  There has been an obvious trend in globes being turned into lights.  Typically they are halved and hung as a pendant, or a light is inserted into one so that it glows.  

via  Apartment Therapy .  Follow the link to learn how to make one.

via Apartment Therapy.  Follow the link to learn how to make one.

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The Castle

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As you might already know, I am currently working on a TV show which films at a castle outside of Vienna, Austria.  What is interesting about this castle is that it was built in the 19th century on the ruins of a demolished medieval castle.  The current structure is sort of frankensteined from authentic looking castle bits, purchased all over Europe.  

This makes it amazing as a filming location.  It look great, but it isn't a protected historical site.  Film crews are like a stampede that leave a trail of destruction and water bottles.  Hopeful our crew will be a little kinder to the environment than most (fingers crossed).

 

Auf Wiedersehen folks!

Tomorrow is the day!  I am heading to Austria for three months to work on a reality television show.  Don't worry, y'all.  Hillary is available to fulfill all your design dreams.

I have never been to Austria, so I'm going to assume that my google image search is accurate, and the whole country looks like this:

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