Tag Archives: Modernism

a neapolitan modernist.

If our summer vacation involved a trip to the south of Italy, then this is where I would want to stay.

Built by Italian architect Michele Capobianco in 1964, the aptly named Villa Bianca is all geometric lines and elegance. Perfectly suited to the heat of its southern location, slim, double height columns elevate it high above its already lofty perch on the hills above Naples; the roof over-sailing the floors below, forming shady, travertine-lined terraces to sit and while. The garden too, is a sculptural, lush oasis of palms and grasses.

Inside, the entrance hall is a double volume, airy space, with artworks placed nonchalantly here and there. A stair to one side is flanked by a low wall which rises up to form a gallery at first floor level. All is white and cool. Dark wood adds warmth; tiled floors change pattern and tone depending on which room they inhabit. A secondary, circular stair spirals up, changing floor pattern as it arrives on each level. A beautiful fireplace niche, patterned with hand made brick, offers a place to sit and contemplate.

Simple, rectilinear furniture compliment the simple layout, the palette of dark wood and black leather bringing a sophistication to the mix.

Villa Bianca, Gulf of Naples, Italy, here.

I’ve also been seduced by this beautiful, contemporary farmhouse in Puglia. And I’m still looking forward to visiting this glamorous modernist in Portugal.

 

the wonderful world of peter d. cole.

Peter D. Cole is known for his wonderfully exuberant and playful works. I discovered him on Instagram, his works colour-bright set against their pure, white background.

His abstract, watercolour paintings and bold, minimal sculptures are firmly rooted in the landscape of his native Australia; a simple vocabulary of singular elements floating on a sea of colour. Forms are broken down to represent the most fundamental elements of sky, earth, sun and moon, picked out in primary reds, vivid yellows, intense blues and other clear, saturated hues.

Displaying the modernist language of his art school training in the mid 1960s, he cites Miro, Calder and González as influences, along with the Constructivists Moholy Nagy and El Lissitzky. Specific works too – Giacometti’s The Palace at 4am and Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp – have informed his sculptural pieces, styled out of powder-coated steel, aluminium, marble and brass.

Peter works from a purpose built studio adjoining his home in country Victoria, having designed both studio and house himself. Influenced by Japanese houses and the natural desire to capture the afternoon breeze, the main house sits on an elevated platform with a simple set of stairs leading to the entrance. The high ceilinged, white walled, light filled rooms offer perfect, gallery-style spaces in which to display his work.

The palette of materials is thus restrained, starting with floors of richly polished timber and walls of glass, creating an almost invisible boundary with the outdoors. Extraneous elements have been removed –  doors are recessed into wall thicknesses or simply framed in wood; junctions abut each other crisply. Elements of singular colour counterbalance the bold hues of Peter’s sculptures. Door handles and drawer pulls were designed and made by the artist, along with many of the light fittings. Furniture is a mix of antique and modern. Marc Newson’s idiosyncratic pieces are stand-outs, from the fabulous Wicker and Embryo chairs to the Super Guppy floor lamp, all of which sit comfortably amongst Peter’s bold, architectural forms.

More about the artist here, and his website, here

Photographs: Sean Fennessy via Peter D. Cole, with thanks.

 

henrietta dubrey.

I first discovered the work of Henrietta Dubrey at the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead last year, where one painting – an angular face with jet black hair and black-clad torso, set against a pale blue background – caught my attention. This year, I recognised her work immediately and determined to find out more.

Henrietta trained at the Wimbledon School of Art and then the Royal Academy Schools. Inspiration came from the Middle Generation St Ives painters who followed Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson: Terry Frost, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, Bryan Wynter and Patrick Heron, amongst others. Family holidays in St Ives as a child were a strong influence in this; as was the sea and surf and sandy beaches. She now lives in Cornwall.

Her body of work is both abstract and figurative, with a palette of subdued colour – earthy tones and sky blues. Her abstract paintings are at once calm and energetic, with the occasional jolt of bold colour. Figures are naive and deceptively simple, drawn wth a bold, confident hand and economy of line. I see so many influences, not only the St Ives painters, but international modernists too – Picasso, Miro and the Cubists. I love the simplicity, composition and strong forms.

Henrietta’s extensive body of work can be found on her website, here. She is represented by Edgar Modern, Bath and has an upcoming exhibition at Strover gallery, Cambridge. The Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead, finishes today.

Feature Image: Vocabulary 2017 58 x 156 cms

Early Afternoon 2017 130 x 105 cms
Go For It 2017 38 x 49 cms
Late Afternoon 2017 130 x 105 cms
Messenger 2017 45 x 33 cms
Abstract Woman 2017 79 x 65 cms
Chalky Down 2017 71 x 44 cms
Catalan Dream 2017 55 x 41 cms
Blow Me a Kiss 2017 25 x 13 cms

All images courtesy of the artist.

forest house.

Reminiscent of house of 150 trees, this beautiful forest house is situated in a rural region of Gent. Contemporary yet traditional, the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, which celebrates the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, is clearly evident here. Other influences include Frank Lloyd Wright, Carlo Scarpo and Andrea Branzi, who was a friend of the architect owners, Eddy Francois and Caroline de Wolf.

The house, as an extension of its environment, utilises natural, earthy materials. The vertical mullions of solid timber separating the floor to ceiling windows rise like tree trunks; the earth-toned, raw brick floor has the outdoor quality of a forest floor. Concrete soffits line some ceilings, others are wood with exposed beams continuing the line of the mullions. White plasterboard walls float beneath. Skinny brick walls with deeply recessed mortar joints to add texture, become the structure both inside and out.

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Forest House, Gent, by Eddy Francois and Caroline de Wolf.

Photographs 2,3, 6,7,8: Jean-Luc Laloux; image 1,5: Sarah Blee; all others, unknown.

intimate spaces, defined.

Bold, modernist spaces in and around European cities dominate the site of French photographer Romain Laprade. He seeks out the intimate places often forgotten or deemed unimportant – foyers and entry halls – transition spaces that are too often seen as a luxury. It is these spaces that in reality allow a building to breathe, provide a place for occupants to pause, a space to contemplate or to stop and chat before passing through.

Romain started working as a graphic designer, working at French Vogue for 4 years. Now 28, his obsession is photography. The places he has found and photographed – the ones I like the most – are the foyers of modernist buildings from the ‘60s and ‘70s, most often in Paris. These wonderful interiors are rich in colour and texture – black granite cladding inlaid with bronze, or rows of mosaic tiles in bold hues of orange or red; bold concrete forms standing like voluptuous, oversized chess pieces, and floors of verde green marble. All surfaces have been considered – fine, dark bricks laid obliquely adjoin a ceiling of glossy black and red tiles; a vertical screen of rich brown wood opposes perfectly proportioned piers of tiny, matt black mosaic.

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Images 1, 2 , 3,  Paris 15; image 4 and feature image, Av. Paul Doumer, 1960, Paris.
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Image 5, Carrer de Brusi, Barcelona; image 6, Le persicope, 1972, Paris; images 7, 8, Le Meridien, 1964, Paris.rl_crimee_ohl02rl_creteil_ohl01rl_beaugrenelle_ohl06
 Image 9, Crimée, 1968, Paris; image 10, Créteil; image 11, Beaugrenelle.

See more Romain Laprade imagery, including beautiful fashion photographs for John Galliano and Tomasini Paris, here.

All images, courtesy Romain Laprade.

revisiting a modernist in berlin.

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Revisiting this beautiful modernist – the use of texture, simple but sophisticated colour palette and clean lines is a look I revert to time and again.

Part of the 1957 building exhibition in Berlin’s Tiergarten park, this Modernist glass atrium house was designed by Eduard Ludwig, an architect who studied briefly at the Bauhaus, and whose passion lay in the design of bungalow-style houses. He studied under Mies van der Rohe and the influence of modernist masterpiece the Barcelona Pavillion is evident here.

The simple lineality of the building is echoed internally with the floating linear kitchen cabinets, built-in, low-level storage lining the living area, and bathroom vanity in palest stone suspended against a full wall of mirror. Textured surfaces abound and are enhanced with splashes of intense colour in the palette of dark orange, black and off-white. Simple, classic furniture pieces like the shaker style chair (Hay do a simlar one, here) and brass domed kitchen pendant hold their own and yet perfectly compliment the space.

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Atrium-House-in-Berlin-by-bfs-design-1Beautifully restored by architectural firm bfs-design: Atrium House by Eduard Ludwig via Daily Icon.

Photos: Annette Kisling

a journey of delight : calder at tate modern.

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‘There’s something totally joyous and unpretentious about the work which communicates to people,’ she added. ‘He’s one of the few artists who can sit in both camps: the public and the elite world.’ Farah Nayeri, NY Times

For those who have not lost their childish fascination with colours and shapes, movement and balance, Calder’s work remains a delight and inspiration. There is little darkness in his work, only a restless, fascinated mind, immersed in a journey of delight.

Calder plays it straight. Calder’s work is exactly what it appears to be. The strength of his work is this directness, without subtext; a refreshing lack of hidden meaning. We see Calder’s delicate mercury sculpture sitting with the vast canvas of Guernica in the background; Picasso’s dark genius and Calder’s lightness working brilliantly together. Picasso’s primary themes are those of humanity; Calder’s are of nature; he plays with lines, mass, force and momentum.

Calder emerged in an era when art was still catching up with the discoveries of 19th Century science and the technology of the 20th – not least the moving image. Calder’s work brings movement centre stage into art in a way that surpasses other artists often unsatisfactory attempts of that era to incorporate time (I’m thinking of cubism). Apart, of course, from the most successful new art form of the 20th Century, the movie itself.

Human visual aesthetics is derived from a highly developed appreciation of the body in both movement and poise. Calder’s unflinching preoccupation with mechanics; his exploration of the fine line between balance and movement, his testing of how far a rod or sinew can be stretched and still hold, resonates with what we naturally find beautiful and satisfying.

Calder does all this, and brings it into delicate and playful fusion with the rawness of his materials, the formal language of late Matisse and a touch of the surreality of Miro. I’m going back for more.

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You can read Farah Nayeri’s article, here:

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture, Tate Modern, until 3 April, 2016

Guest post by Jeremy Walker, architect and cardboard sculptor (HeathWalker Studio). Photos: owl’s house london using iPhone 6.