Newsletter 08.2010

Dear Readers,

Car parks. With their giant, shapeless concrete forms, they were, for a long time, blots on the urban landscape. Architonic, however, would like to show you a series of exemplary projects that cast parking garages in a whole new light.

Since the 1930s, Los Angeles has been one of the most important cities for practising architects and designers from all over the world. We take you on a short journey through time, from the modernist pioneers to the contemporary representatives of Californian Design.

Autumn means fair time again. In this issue of our newsletter, you'll find details of the most important furniture and materials exhibitions for the rest of 2010.

Let yourself be inspired.

Your Architonic Team
Zurich | Milan | Berlin | Barcelona | Copenhagen | London | Miami
Right on So Many Levels: innovative car-park design
Architonic invites you to pull up to the bumper and take a look at a number of recent parking-garage projects that attempt to put a bit of love back into it all.
    Right on So Many Levels: innovative car-park design  
The 1929 Michigan Theater in Detroit now serves as a parking lot, photo Sean Hemmerle

The news that preservationists have finally lost their protracted battle to save Gateshead's Trinity Square car park from demolition will, no doubt, sadden the hearts of the architecturally inclined. The brutalist, multi-storey garage, designed by the Owen Luder Partnership and completed in 1967, has enjoyed an iconic status ever since it featured in the British cult film classic 'Get Carter' of 1971. Trinity Square was guaranteed a place in the popular-cultural imagination the moment Jack Carter (played by Michael Caine) was first seen throwing developer Cliff Brumby to his death from one of the structure's stair towers, Simon Henley reminds us in his book 'The Architecture of Parking'.

Herzog & de Meuron's multi-storey parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; photo Christian Richters

The seamy underworld of English gangsters aside, it's fair to say that, as far as building types go, car parks rank fairly low on the list of structures loved by the public at large - particularly when expressed in an above-ground, monolithic, concrete form. Maybe it's something to do with their bald, singular function, their necessary evilness. You park your car there, because you need to park it somewhere. But do we really need to look at them? Comments on design blogs like Dezeen that describe architectural projects as looking like garages come, then, as no surprise. (A certain blogger called James recently likened internationally renowned Basel-based practice Herzog & de Meuron's proposed design for a new apartment block in Beirut as looking like a 'multi story carpark with a few windows'.)

Inside 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage, designed by Basel-based Herzog & de Meuron; photo Christian Richters
California Calls You!
Californian Design
    California Calls You!  
Kings Road Sling Chair, design: Rudolph Schindler, 1942, reedition by Marmol Radziner Furniture

California, and in particular Los Angeles, has been home to numerous Hollywood stars and other glamorous figures of the burgeoning jet-set since the 1930s. The City of Angels was the ideal place for many architects to develop their ideas. The spectacular landscape, the sophisticated clientele, the climate, the wealth of the film industry, and, above all, the free-thinking that transcended all convention offered architects then, as well as now, the opportunity to realise their visionary projects.

Boomerang Chair, design: Richard Neutra, 1942, reedition by House Industries

Tellingly, some of the most creative minds to help shape the modern Californian style crossed the country to work there. Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler knew each other already from their Vienna days, where they had studied under Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos. Both stayed with Frank Lloyd Wright in Taliesin, albeit not at the same time, and, by chance, met again in Los Angeles in 1925.
Neutra was attracted to the city by an advertising poster which bore the slogan 'California Calls You!' and Schindler already had his own office in Los Angeles, in which Neutra worked for a short period of time. Neutra, as well as Schindler, regarded the house in exactly the same way as their teacher, that is, as a Raumplan - or, as Schindler put it: 'The furniture, which is stationary, becomes part of its weave until it's impossible to say where the house ends and the furniture begins. The few places (sic) which are necessarily movable (chairs, etc.) become so in an accentuated degree.' The design of the interior and its furnishing were regarded by Neutra and Schindler as part of the architectural project as a whole. Neutra's 'Marx Lamp' and his 'Boomerang Chair' are still in production today, his designs reflecting the language of the Bauhaus more emphatically than Schindler's furniture, which possessed a more hand-worked character.

Turner Residence by John Lautner, 1982, Aspen, Colorado, photo: Judith Lautner

While the famous Case Study Houses of Eames, Neutra, Saarinen, Schindler and many other architects - which were to become icons of Californian modernism - emerged from a drive to reduce housing shortages through the creation of affordable housing, other villas of theirs were designed for a more exclusive clientele, as were those of John Lautner. Lautner's structures were visionary, and so was his interior design, along with the furniture he designed specifically for his builds. Originally from Michigan, he was one of the first young architects to receive a Lloyd Wright scholarship, and so he moved to Taliesin in the early 1930s to build the campus there. In 1939, Lautner set up on his own in Los Angeles, the construction of his own house receiving much attention. Commissions soon followed.
Round two! After an eventful spring, the autumn furniture and materials fairs are about to get underway. A number of small, in part specialist, events will be featuring promising exhibitors. Architonic will have a stand at the following events and would, of course, be delighted to see you there:

Habitat Valencia 28 September to 2 October, Hall 6, Stand J170
Design Biennale INTERIEUR 2010 Kortrijk, Belgium, 15 to 24 October
Orgatec in Cologne, 26 to 30 October, Hall 9, Stand A70-B71
Designers' Saturday Langenthal, 6 and 7 November

The other fairs, among them several very exciting materials exhibitions, are also worth visiting. Here too, we'll be looking out, as ever, for the best products and manufacturers for you.

CODE Copenhagen, 1 to 4 September
Maison & Objet Paris 3 to 7 September
Abitare il Tempo Verona, 16 to 20 September
Design Days Lausanne, 16 to 19 September
100% Design London, London Design Festival 23 to 26 September
Cersaie International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings, Bologna, 28 September to 2 October
Glasstec Largest trade fair for the glass industry, Dusseldorf, 28 September to 1 October
Marmomacc International Exhibition of Stone Design and Technology, Verona, 29 September to 2 October
SUN International Fair for Outdoor Products, Rimini, 14 to 16 Oktober
ISH Dubai Kitchen and Bathroom Exhibition
INDEX Dubai Interior Design Show, 8 to 11 November
Art Basel Miami Beach, Design Miami 1 to 5 December

We hope our paths cross at one or another of the fairs and wish you an inspiring autumn!
New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'
Shinichi Ogawa & Associates
  New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'  
Minimalist House
Boltshauser Architekten
Rammed Earth House, Rauch family home, photo by Beat Bühler
Fiskebaren in Copenhagen
Triptyque Architecture
Harmonia 57, photo by Leonardo Finotti
Niklaus Graber & Christoph Steiger Architekten
Villa M on Lake Lucerne, photo by Dominique Marc Wehrli
European Nature Reserve Observation Tower, photo by Hubertus Hamm
Space International
VillaCasa, photo by Joshua White Photography
23-26 september 2010 at Salle des spectacles + ECAL / Renens and at more than 20 locations throughout Lausanne
The big annual design event in French-speaking Switzerland is now starting his 4th edition. After Design Days in Geneva in 2009, the Swiss magazine "Espaces contemporains" is staging DESIGN ON OFF, an event that brings together designers from Switzerland and abroad and provide a platform for encounters between the general public, professionals and designers. It is also a meeting place that gives designers the opportunity to show their work and meet professionals.

More Articles from 'News &Trends'

A Size Issue
  More Articles from 'News &Trends'

Architonic reviews '1:1 - Architects Build Small Spaces', the latest exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum

Viaducts: new urban encounters

An intelligent approach to repurposing disused viaducts is providing a number of cities with new public spaces that delight users with fresh and intriguing perspectives of familiar urban landscapes. Architonic examines how such projects, in turning us into contemporary flaneurs, make us rethink our relationship with the city.

'It's hard, hard, hard work': One Year On at New Designers 2010

Left brain. Right brain. If we're to believe all that pop-neurology, you're either a creative type or someone who just loves solving maths problems. Design manufacturer and retailer Thorsten van Elten, curator of One Year On, the show for entrepreneurial designers, explains how it's all about firing on both cerebral cylinders...