Tag Archives: BRUCE BIERMAN

Home Study: Our Favorite American Landmarked Residences and Historic House Museums, Part II

Last week, Scott BromleyJerry Caldari, and Tim Button shared their favorite American historic house museums and landmarked residences. Here are Laura Bohn, Barry Goralnick, and Bruce Bierman‘s picks.

LAURA BOHN: I fell in love with The Mount, novelist Edith Wharton’s summer residence in Lenox, Massachusetts, right at the front door. It’s simple and unassuming, as is the grotto-like entry hall, which lacks a grand staircase—an indispensable prop for most great lady hostesses of the time, who’d sweep down it in Gilded Age magnificence to greet arriving guests. Instead, visitors were taken to a side hall and led up a graceful but unpretentious staircase to the second floor—the piano nobile, as in an Italian palazzo—where Wharton would receive them in a long, light-filled gallery. But it was only when they were ushered into the adjoining drawing room with its gobsmacking views of the Mount’s fabulous gardens that the full glory of the house revealed itself.

The Mount, Lennox, MA Edith Wharton's summer home

The Mount, Lenox, Massachusetts, Edith Wharton’s summer residence, which she co-designed and built in 1902 and occupied until she moved to Europe in 1911. Photograph: Kevin Sprague

Wharton designed the 1902 house in collaboration with architect Ogden Codman, Jr., her co-author on The Decoration of Housesa pioneering 1897 book aimed at showing the taste-deficient American nouveau riche how to create classically restrained, timelessly elegant homes. (It’s still in print and could be consulted with profit by some of today’s 1 percent.) Wharton and Codman followed their own principles at the Mount, producing a house of such self-possessed distinction—grand but not grandiose—that it was landmarked in 1971.

Wharton designed most of the grounds herself: ”I am amazed by the success of my efforts,” she wrote with justifiable pride. “Decidedly, I’m a better landscape gardener than a novelist, and this place, every line of which is my own work, far surpasses The House of Mirth.” Looking at the beautifully maintained estate today, it’s doesn’t seem such an off-base claim.

The Mount, Lenox, MA, second floor gallery

The light-filled second floor reception gallery at the Mount. Photograph: Janet Knott

The Mount, Edith Wharton's summer house, Lenox, MA, the drawing room

The drawing room’s French doors open onto an expansive raised stone terrace overlooking the landscaped grounds, which Wharton designed expertly herself. Photograph: Kevin Sprague

Edith Wharton's boudoir at the Mount, her summer house in Lenox, MA , photograph by John Seakwood

Edith Wharton’s boudoir on the third floor. Photograph: John Seakwood

The staircase from the main terrace to the garden at the Mount, Edith Wharton's summer house in Lenox, MA, photographed by Annie Leibowitz for Vogue

In a Vogue fashion spread, model Natalia Vodianova plays Edith Wharton descending the double staircase from the main terrace to the garden. Photograph: Annie Leibowitz

BARRY GORALNICK: Fallingwater, the weekend retreat at Mill Run, Pennsylvania, that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for the Kaufmann family in 1937, became super-famous almost immediately. In 1938 it made the cover of Time magazine, was featured in Life, got star billing in an issue of Architectural Forum devoted entirely to Wright, and appeared in countless newspapers and periodicals worldwide. It has never since lost its position as a preeminent icon of 20th-century architecture. 

Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater, Kaufmann Residence, 1937

Probably the most famous 20th-century house in the world, Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1937 weekend retreat for the Kaufmann family, cantilevers out over Bear Run creek in rural Pennsylvania. 

Given to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966, Fallingwater is now the only Wright house open to the public with all its original elements in place. Although its location is somewhat remote, Fallingwater is an essential destination for anyone interested in architecture. Smithsonian magazine included it in a list of “28 places to see before you die,” right up there with the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Great Wall.

The way Wright perfectly integrated his dynamic composition of concrete horizontals and stone verticals into the wild romantic landscape has to be seen to be believed. In the end, no photography, video, or description can do more than dimly evoke the extraordinary imaginative achievement the house embodies—you just have to experience it for yourself. It’s a wonder of the modern world that absolutely lives up to its billing.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater, Kaufmann Residence, 1937,

To help integrate the house into the natural landscape, Wright limited its paint palette to ochre for the concrete and his signature Cherokee red for the steel elements.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater, 1937, Mr. Kaufmann's terrace, as viewed from the driveway above the house.

The massive vertical core of the house, around which the horizontal concrete elements are arranged, is made of native Pottsville sandstone, quarried on site and stacked like layers of sedimentary rock.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater, Kaufmann Residence, 1937, interior

The seating in the living area, upholstered in Jack Lenor Larsen fabrics, is among the 169 pieces of preserved custom furniture Wright designed for the house—a trove far bigger than that at any other of his residences.

BRUCE BIERMAN: Ever since it opened in 2001, the exquisite Neue Galerie New York has been my favorite house museum. Devoted to early 20th-century German and Austrian art and design, it’s located at Fifth Avenue and 86th Street in the former William Starr Miller mansion, a superb six-story Louis XIII-style townhouse completed in 1914 by Beaux-Arts architects Carrère & Hastings. In 1994 it was purchased by art dealer and exhibition organizer Serge Sabarsky (1912–1996) and his friend cosmetics billionaire Ronald S. Lauder—both connoisseurs of German and Austrian Expressionism—who commissioned Seldorf Architects to renovate the building and convert it into a museum.

Neue Galerie New York, 1048 Fifth Avenue, at 86th Street

The Neue Galerie New York, a museum devoted to early 20th-century German and Austrian art and design, is located at Fifth Avenue and 86th Street in the former William Starr Miller mansion, completed in 1914 by Carrère & Hastings. 

The Neue Galerie is particularly successful for the way in which it juxtaposes paintings and decorative arts to immerse viewers and transport them back in time. The second floor houses fine and decorative Viennese art, including paintings by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele and objects by the artisans of the Wiener Werkstätte. The third floor exhibits various German works from the same era, including Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and the Bauhaus.

The museum also regularly mounts acclaimed exhibitions—such as the current “Vasily Kandinsky: From Blaue Reiter to the Bahaus, 1910–1925—chamber music concerts, film screenings, and even cabaret evenings. Plus there’s the terrific Café Sabarsky, with its reproductions of Josef Hoffmann sconces, Adolf Loos bentwood chairs, Otto Wagner fabrics,not to mention its excellent Viennese specialties like sausages, goulash, strudels, and chocolate tortes. 

Neue Galerie New York, entry and main staircase

The entry and main staircase at the Neue Gallerie New York, whose interiors were renovated and converted by Selldorf Architects.

Neue Galerie New York, a gallery on the second floor

A trio of paintings by Gustav Klimt dominates a second floor gallery where they were installed as part of the 2011 Neue Galerie exhibition “Vienna 1900: Style and Identity.” 

Josef Hoffmann's 1913 dining room for Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler, at the Neue Galerie. Photo- John Gilliland:Courtesy of Neue Galerie

A dining room designed by Josef Hoffmann for Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler, as installed in the 2006 Neue Galerie exhibition “Josef Hoffmann: Interiors, 1902-1913.” Photograph: John Gilliland.

 

Lobster & Steak: Designers Collaborative Celebrates the Holiday Season

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Almost all members of Designers Collaborative (plus significant others) attended a delicious Holiday Dinner at City Lobster & Steak

Although Designers Collaborative has been meeting for 20 years, in all that time we had never had a proper end-of-year Holiday Dinner. This year we finally did, going to our friends at City Lobster & Steak where they customized a menu specially for our group.  Tim Button, Barry Goralnick, Scott Bromley, Bruce Bierman, Ron Bricke, Susan Arann, and new member Amy Lau all attended with our significant others. Here are a few photos from our evening, and we wish you all the very best for the Holiday Season and the New Year.

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Left: Bruce Bierman, Laura Bohn, and Scott Bromley. Right: Tim Button

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Left: Barry Goralnick. Right: Laura Bohn

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Left: Amy Lau. Right: Bruce Bierman

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Left: Ron Bricke. Right: Susan Arann

Bromley Holiday Dinner Party Menu

 

Interior Design Hall of Fame

Interior Design Magazine2013 Interior Design Hall of Fame

The 29th annual Interior Design Hall of Fame was held on December 4 at a black-tie event in the Waldorf Astoria hosted by the magazine’s editor in chief Cindy Allen and president Mark Strauss. This year’s inductees were Paul Masi and Harry Bates of Bates Masi + Architects, Collin Burry of Gensler, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu of Neri&Hu, and Kenneth Wampler of The Alpha Workshops. Among the 1,300 guests were 16 former inductees, including Designers Collaborative members Bruce Bierman, Laura Bohn, and Scott Bromley, who gathered for a group photo.

Past inductees at the 29th Interior Design Hall of Fame, 2013

 Former inductees at the 2013 Interior Design Hall of Fame: 1. Kevin Walz. 2. Robert Kleinschmidt. 3. Juan Montoya. 4. Paul Siskin. 5. George Beylerian. 6. David Kleinberg. 7. Bruce Bierman. 8. Scott Bromley. 9. Arthur Gensler. 10. Laura Bohn. 11. Robert Siegel. 12. Lee Mindel. 13. David Rockwell. 14. Margo Grant Walsh. 15. Ronette King. 16. Ruth Lynford.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame and included among so many design industry icons I’ve always admired was a great honor,” says Bruce Bierman, who received the award in 2000. “It was even better than my bar mitzvah,” he jokes. “My husband, William Secord, said he’d take me to any restaurant I wanted for a celebration dinner. I said any restaurant would do, as long as it was in Paris. So the morning after the awards we flew there for a long weekend, including dinner.”

Laura Bohn and her partner Joseph Lembo were inducted in 1998–two years after they had disbanded their firm. “Everyone who had worked with us came,” Laura says. “It was thrilling and terrifying–my first time public speaking and I was nauseous for six months before. Joseph lost 25 pounds and hired a speech writer, but we didn’t use any of it. To be acknowledged by your peers is the greatest thing, and the event itself is so much fun–a party I never want to miss. All your friends are there, people you know and love are around, and it’s always great to see deserving people like Ken Wampler from the Alpha Workshops get honored.”

Scott Bromley was inducted in 1991. “It was the middle of the AIDS crisis,” he says. “At the end of my acceptance speech I thanked all the people who were there and then went on to thank those who could not be there (some of them previous Hall of Fame inductees) and started naming friends lost to AIDS. I continued as I left the stage and walked all the way back to where I was seated–still naming names. There was a standing ovation.”