LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter




                                     

Michael Webb
writes on modern architecture, design, and travel. He is the author of 26 books, most recently Modernist Paradise: Niemeyer House, Boyd Collection (Rizzoli) and Venice CA: Art +Architecture in a Maverick Community (Abrams). He travels widely in search of new and classic modern architecture and contributes to magazines around the world. Michael lives in the Neutra apartment that Charles and Ray Eames once called home.

FORM Event Images

Industry Partners

  

  




















 

Hidden

Michael Webb

Friday
Jul012011

Piero Lissoni Times Two

Italy’s master of elegant minimalism has brought his distinctive touch to two new showrooms in the West L.A. design district. For Graye (316 S. Robertson Blvd.) Piero Lissoni stripped a warehouse to create a white void in which to display a few carefully selected pieces that he and others designed for Living Divani and Porro. They are all covetable, but my favorite was Balancing Boxes, a side table cum storage unit of tilted white-lacquered steel boxes. It was designed by Front, a trio of Danish women.

Graye

Around the corner is the new Boffi showroom, which occupies the former Modern Living store (8775 Beverly Blvd.). Lissoni installed the model kitchens and bathrooms complementing their sleekness with vintage wood boards and assorted bric-a-brac. In a competitive market, innovation is essential and Boffi have fused the best of Italian craft (exquisitely detailed acacia cabinetry) and German engineering (integrated ovens and appliances by Gaggenau). It’s a winning combination; too bad L.A.’s super rich homeowners rarely put these kitchens to practical use.

Boffi/photo by Benny Chan

Graye, 316 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, (310) 385-7872

Boffi, 8775 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, (310) 652-5500

Friday
Jun242011

BOOK REVIEW: Architecture in Uniform: Designing and Building for the Second World War

Publication Architecture in Uniform: Designing and Building for the Second World War (2011). © CCA / Hazan

 

Architecture in Uniform: Designing and Building for the Second World War
by Jean-Louis Cohen
Canadian Centre for Architecture/Hazan ($50)  

As a scholar of modernism Jean-Louis Cohen has few rivals and Architecture in Uniform may be his most important book to date for it provides a broad-ranging account of a blank space in architectural history. It serves as a companion to an exhibition of the same name that was based on Cohen’s research and is on show at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal through September 18. Book and exhibition chronicle the preparations for war, the devastation of aerial bombardment, and the ways in which architects and designers helped devise new forms and techniques of construction, ranging from bomb shelters to prefabrication.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun032011

BOOK REVIEW: Landscapes in Landscapes

uuThe High Line

When the Royal Horticultural Society of Britain commissions an addition to its flagship garden from a Dutch landscape designer you know he must be an extraordinary talent.  The title of this delectable portfolio hints at Piet Oudolf’s gift for creating environmentally responsible gardens that relate to urban and natural landscapes, as well as the cycle of the seasons. At first view, his plantings atop the High Line in Lower Manhattan and in Chicago’s Millennium Park look as though nature had run wild without the intervention of a designer’s hand. Therein lies the artistry, for the challenge in New York was to evoke the wilderness that had taken over an abandoned freight line, and in Chicago to play off the wall of skyscrapers that frame the park. Less familiar is Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, where the juxtaposition of towers and lush grasses is even more surreal. Photographs of great beauty capture the subtle balance of form and colors, and elaborate diagrams explain how the magic was accomplished.

 

Landscapes in Landscapes 
by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury
The Monacelli Press ($65)

Thursday
May262011

BOOK REVIEW: Allied Works Architecture/Brad Cloepfil: Occupation

Allied Works Architecture/Brad Cloepfil: Occupation
Text by Sandy Isenstadt, Kenneth Frampton
Photography by Victoria Sambunaris
Gregory Miller & Co. ($85)

Art and nature fuse in the work of Brad Cloepfil and his associates, and this lavish monograph explores the highlights of his practice in depth. As the title implies, his buildings are deeply rooted in their sites, which range from empty Western landscapes to the dense fabric of major cities. His museums enhance the art they display and are quiet works of art in themselves. The geometries are simple, the materials traditional, and you have to look very closely to catch the subtleties that give each space its special quality. Cloepfil is particularly skilled in adapting older structures, especially in his transformation of Edward Durrell Stone’s faux Venetian folly on Columbus Circle in mid Manhattan. Kenneth Frampton contributes an insightful essay, and each project is followed by a dialogue with an artist or critic. Lorraine Wild designed this book for a publisher who has as much respect for his craft as Allied Works have for theirs. Stock of a weight that is rarely encountered today, spacious layouts, and fine printing make this monograph a sensual and intellectual delight.

Tuesday
May172011

BOOK REVIEW: Tomorrow’s Houses: New England Modernism 

Tomorrow’s Houses: New England Modernism
by Alexander Gorlin
Rizzoli New York ($65)

The finest collection of midcentury modern houses outside of southern California is located at the opposite corner of the U.S. “Why did modern architecture take root in this region of colonial homes and entrenched tradition?” asks Gorlin. He traces its roots to the Puritan cult of honesty and simplicity that was echoed in the writings of Emerson and Thoreau. Harvard was the crucible of revolution. Walter Gropius radicalized the GSD; Marcel Breuer and Philip Johnson moved to New Canaan and built model houses there. Sadly, Gorlin falls into the same trap as Elizabeth Gordon and Tom Wolfe in explaining the decline of modernism. He trots out the familiar cliches about dictatorial architects trying to brainwash the public, with no mention of the vulgarity and crass materialism of the new rich. It’s the striving for status and the retreat into the cozy womb of the past that blocks rational construction and it has been that way for a century or more. Twenty-five houses, ranging in date from 1930-1967 (plus a Prairie Style forerunner of 1912) are illustrated, and they include the usual suspects along with many unfamiliar examples.