Friday, May 6, 2011

The Building: Maison de Verre "House of Glass"

Photograph by Todd Eberle
Source: The WSJ
"It relates to my interest in originality. Things that are original have personality and a sense of accrued time that you can see for yourself"  -Robert Rubin, to The WSJ
Photograph by Todd Eberle
Source: The WSJ

The design was to emphasize three components of architecture during that time:  honesty of materials, transparency of forms and the use of "industrial" materials and fixtures throughout the house while using traditional style of decor.

Built between 1928 - 1932, Paris' Glass House is a design of early modern architecture.  The main materials used? Duh, glass!  Glass panels, glass blocks, and steel were the main culprits.

It was built in collaboration with Pierre Chareau, Bernard Bijvoet and Louis Dalbet for the then renowned physician: Dr. Jean Dalsace (Brigitte Bardot was one of his patient).

Photograph by Todd Eberle.
The main living area.
Source The WSJ
Mr. Robert Rubin, owner of the Glass House since 2005, is a Wall Street commodities trader turned collector.  Growing up, his father was a serviceman who had a workshop in the basement.  Rubin used to fix up broken appliances and resold them.  His handy roots help give rise to his manic obsession with machine oriented objects, ranging from old race cars (which he collects and restore) to art and modern architectures.

Currently, the house is being restored to its original form.  He has documented everything and is currently searching for the house's original theatrical light that once lit the outside.
Photo: Todd Eberle
Electrical conduits and structural columns.
Source The WSJ
"It relates to my interest to originality.  Things that are original have personality and a sense of 
accrued time that you can see for yourself."
 - Robert Rubin (owner) to The WSJ, referring to the artful layers of the house.

Photo: Mark Lyon
The grand salon.
Source: The New York Times

Photo: Mark Lyon
Bathroom with removeable panels.
Source The New York Times

Photo: Mark Lyon
Passage over looking garden.
Source The New York Times

Photo: Mark Lyon
Staircase wrapped by series of screens.
Source Thew New York Times

Source: The WSJ & The New York Times

The Looks: "Besides the ledge"


Another happy customer just left  I love the world's largest closet.  

A couple of weeks ago, this shirred waisted printed top was purchased.  I like the look but wasn't sure when it gets to me if I would love it... and so it was pending for a return.  But for just a little over $30, this romantic little number is actually pretty cool.  Very Anthropologie like but without the high price.  

For work, I wore this with a high waisted knit pencil skirt.  When I got home, decided to play around and made up this combo.  Definitely a keeper, quite a versatile and timeless piece.

A-Wear from ASOS printed shirred waisted top
BDG from Urban Outfitters high waisted leggings
Michael by Michael Kors heels
Orange shawl was a gift 

The WSJ: "The Greatest Buildings Never Built"

Rem Koolhaas: Torre Bicentenario, Mexico City.  
Consumed by controversy and misunderstanding, the Torre Bicentenario was suppose to mark the 200th anniversary of Mexico's War of Independence.  When announced in 2007 of its plan, huge protests by locals for illegal use of land and a campaign to save a building stopped the project.  Can you see the shapes of two inverted pyramids?  They are connected together with what the designer calls "the sky lobby."

"Architectural history is told by the victors, city skylines their monuments, even when absent, unbuilt projects can exert a curiously powerful hold on the cultural imagination..." The WSJ, "The Greatest Buildings Never Built" By Tom Vanderbilt

Jean Nouvel: Green Blade, Los Angeles
The Green Blade could have been dubbed one of the world's thinnest buildings.  In 2008, Novel and his firm proposed this 45 story, 50 feet deep tower that would be wrapped in hanging hydroponic gardens in Santa Monica; the estimated cost was approximately $400 million.  Why didn't it break ground? The project was funded by Lehman Brothers.  With the financial collapse, the money that would have been used to fund Green Blade went to Alvarez and Marsal, the law firm representing Lehman.

Frank Gehry: Museum of Tolerance, Jerusalem.
Planned in a famously divided city, the Museum of Tolerance was announced in 2004.  Why is the building of tolerance became such a divided debate? The proposed site is set over a Muslim burial ground (of course, this accusation too is in dispute).  Other critics site the project as "an unnecessary and irreversible eyesore." With these roadblocks, Gehry and his firm left this project for other pursuits.

Norman Foster: Russia Tower, Moscow.
The Russia Tower was on its way to be Europe's tallest tower and the world's tallest naturally ventilated tower when it ran into a little small problem: It's financier (Russian billionaire, Shalva Chigrinsky) had to flee Russian under accusation of tax evasion and then he headed straight into the credit crunch debacle.

Daniel Libeskind: Extension for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
This extension was suppose to give the Victoria & Albert Museum the touch of over-the-top'ness and Bilboa'esque modernity to an "flagging institution."  But after 15 years after since its announced extension, the idea is just an idea.  Why? As critic Jonathan Glancey said, "a victim of cultural politics and general faffing about."
Zaha Hadid: Performing Arts Center, Dubai
In 2009, Sama Dubai (the developer) announced, "due to economic conditions the opera house is pending."  To an architect, when they hear "pending" it is like hearing "terminal".  Hadid's design has everything that is Dubai, at least the Dubai prior to the 50% drop in property value.  From a monorail, to its very own island.  It also housed a six-star hotel in a design that represents the rolling sandy dunes of Dubai.  Perhaps this won't be "pending" for very long.

From lack of financing to public scrutiny, these monumental victims created by some of the world's most celebrated architects never left the sketches from which it came.  Sadly, these stunning buildings can only be seen on paper as it sits and wait to break ground.  

Source: The WSJ Magazine, May 2011.  "The Greatest Buildings Never Built"."  Tom Vanderbilt.

The Know: Tommy Hilfiger's Prep House

Did someone just brought the East Hampton to the Meatpacking District in NYC? Why, yes, that would be Tommy Hilfiger.

He and his collaborator, Lisa Birnbach (author of True Prep: It’s a Whole New Old World), is on a mission to spread "prep" in a big way: A global domination sort of way.  This 800 square feet pop-up house will be making its way from city to city showcasing Tommy Hilfiger's 60 piece Prep World collection.  Besides his collection, there will be vintage pieces for sale too.

What an interesting marketing strategy!  Can't wait so see the result.  Hope it comes to Portland!

Photo: Getty Images, Source: Style.Com
 “Prepsters aren’t too serious about fashion. They want to be casual about fashion, a bit rumpled, but still fun and put together. It’s more a state of mind, and I think that’s why it has become so widespread.” - Tommy Hilfiger, to

 Photo: Getty Images, Source: Style.Com
Do you like these looks? Visit Tommy Hilfiger to view the collection and look at the ways to wear Prep.  I'm loving the old English school bag.  I think Urban Outfitters may still have them.

The Pick of The Day: Jeffrey Campbell Elegant-St

So you read my Christian Louboutin post about what's hot in shoes for SS/2011.  Looking at my top picks, you saw the Christian Louboutin Rollerball Spikes.  Like me, we just can't swallow for the high price of these Rollerballs, no matter how pretty they are.  Well, no sweat!  At Lori's Shoes they carry these awesome Jeffrey Campbell Elegant-St for $152.00.  Yeah, it is a little spendy but if you think about it these loafers are timeless in design and makes a great addition to your "edgy urban style." 

If you haven't already, be sure to read the post about Jeffrey Campbell.  This is a great example of why he is such a trend setter for us urbanites.

Source: Pick of the day

The WSJ Magazine: "The Old World Artistry Behind the Modern House of Chanel"


In a time when the bygone era of haute ateliers have slowly disappeared from the big fashion houses, Chanel has kept the art of fine craftsmanship alive.  In our fast paced world, the need for "fast fashion" has overtaken our need for fine works of art like hand beading and embroidery.  Chanel, however, has made the most backward progressive move.  Seven specialized ateliers in Paris have been bought up by Chanel over the last nine years.  Some of these ateliers have been around for over 150 years.  Not only did Chanel save their dying art but it uses them to continue on with the house's very own couture techniques and style.

 The Seven Ateliers of Chanel

Lemarié When Chanel introduced her famous molded flower, it was Andre Lemarié who helped create it.  They've made these flowers into everything from tweed to cardboard.  About 20,000 are produced each year for Chanel.  What is their other specialty? Feathers, from ostrich to swans and peacocks, their stockpile of feathers can't be beat. 

Lesage:  Founded in 1924, this house of embroidery was purchased in 2002 by Chanel.  It is the most famous of all ateliers who was often frequented by Poiret and Schiaparelli.  Francois Lesage, second generation embroiderer, and his team produces about 100 new samples for each couture collection after Karl Lagerfield provide them his sketches.

Guillet The silky flowers have been in bloom since 1896.  From silk, velvet to lace, Guillet have created these floral staple of Chanel for years. 

Maison Michel Since 1936, this Parisian milliner has been perfecting its art in head wear.  Their hats are known for its eccentric shapes and form as well as their use of unique materials.  Prior to its lauch within the house of Chanel in 2006, Michel worked with the likes of Givency & Lanvin.

Desrues Known for its crafty skills in the are of costume jewelry, Desrues' relationship with Mademoiselle Chanel started in 1965 when he created her first collection of buttons.  Since then the company has become Chanel's preferred supplier and have worked with Lanvin, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent.
 Goossens:  Coco Chanel asked Goossens to help design her Byzantine-inspired jewelry that until this day remains Chanel's signature.  The door to Goossens was first opened in 1950 by Robert Goossens.  They specializes in metal ornaments and their clients in those days were the most fashionable.  Frequenters are Pablo Picasso's second wife, Jacqueline Soon, and French poet Louise de Vilmorin.  

Massaro Their custom shoes have graced the feet of Parisians since 1894.  It takes about 40 hours to handwork to complete a pair of their shoes.  What did they do for Chanel? Oh, only designed the house famous flats with the black toe (1957).  The house also works with Christian Dior, Azzedine Alai, and many private clients.

Pre-Fall 2011 Collection

For his pre-fall 2011 collection, Karl Lagerfield's was inspired by Coco Chanel's own inspiration for her first line of costume jewelry launched in the 1920's.  The grand splendor of the Byzance Collection is through its embellished use of glass beading and gold threading through the tweed jacket. 

Bold Colors & Antique Golds

The collection is a cross of modernity and ancient emperialism through its artistic use of jeweled head band and over the top beadings througout.  It's definitely Chanel, you can still see their iconic style and eye for high quality from its chosen material to the crafting.  Very unique indeed.  My favorite? The cream dress up top.

Source of article: WSJ Magazine, May 2011.  Photographs by Benoit Peverelli.  Byzance photos from Vogue France.