Posts Tagged ‘groovy’

Diet Cookbook, 1974, plus nudity

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

little white space
Diet Cookbook by the Bureau of Consumer Research
little white space
This 1974 book cover has everything including mod 3D typeface, superimposed naked women in psychedelic colours, and an author named bureau of consumer research in lower case. The 1970s are a foreign country; they do things differently there. All I can think of is the 1973 lyric “painted ladies and a bottle of wine,” but probably only Canadians will know what I’m talking about. Dear 1970s, your grooviness can be a little creepy.

Whatever happened to the seating platform, the conversation pit?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Modern Seating Platform

Above, the 1970s modern two-level platform in painter Frank Stella’s loft, from the classic book Inside Today’s Home. Below, a recent photo of the renovated 1950s conversation pit in the Number 31 Hotel in Dublin.

conversation pit

Maybe it’s because I grew up around a hip artist aunt whose 60s/70s handmade house had a seating platform in it, but I am mourning the disappearance of the freeform seating arrangement. And apparently I am not alone. The seating platform and conversation pit of the postwar period (sort of the inverse of each other but amounting to the same thing, mood-wise) probably have their origins in the interior design of the Middle East or North Africa. Over time this form spread to regions within that sphere of influence, such as Greece, Turkey and Spain. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, conversation pits and raised seating areas looked variously Eastern, hippie, shagadelic, or modernist, but the effect was the same. Obviously architectural design influences mood and behaviour, and these seating styles do inherently invite a completely different form of socializing. And a different quantity of it. As a kid at my aunt’s I would spend all day on her padded window seat platform, which was large enough for about 6 people (maybe 4 stretched out) and which was covered with a huge, natural pale brown Greek flokati and pillows, far more comfortable than any couch or chair. Now when I visit her we still invariably congregate there. Of the two styles I think I actually prefer the seating platform, because it allows you to be even more free-form and informal than most sunken pits, and because it’s cheaper to build. Below, seating platform/window seat in British Columbia; further below, seating platform in the Standard Hotel in LA, by ChimayBleue on Flickr.

At the lake

The Standard Hotel Downtown LA

Miller House, Columbus, IN, designed by Eero Saarinen, 1957

miller house by saarinen, photo by ezra stoller

Saarinen's Miller House, 1957, via High Steel Heels on Flickr

Above, three photos of perhaps the most famous modern conversation pit of all: it’s in Eero Saarinen’s Miller House in Columbus, Indiana, built in 1957. The top two photos are recent; the last photo is how it originally looked.

Edersheim Apartment by Paul Rudolph, 1970

Above, the Edersheim apartment by architect Paul Rudolph, 1970. Most Paul Rudolph houses featured a conversation pit or equivalent seating arrangement. Below is a related but sort of rustic space age option: suspended sitting and sleeping pods in architect Bruce Goff‘s experimental Bavinger House (1950-55; photo by Lizzy Brooks is from here). Below that is another Bruce Goff building, the Nicol House of 1965, photo by Robert McLaughlin.

Bavinger House by architect Bruce Goff

Bruce Goff's Nicol House, by Robert McLaughlin

teen conversation pit

Teen conversation pit, above; below, the early 70s living/dining room of sculptor Sydney Butche—it appeared in House Beautiful in 1972.

Seating platform, house of sculptor Sydney Butche

Below, some historical precedents:

Estrado, from the Museo Casa Cervantes

The seating area above, an “estrado,” is from Cervantes’ 16th C house, now the Museo Casa Cervantes:

Estrado is the name given to the reception room which is characteristically taken up in part by the a dais ( the estrado itself) covered with rugs where normally the women sat in Moorish fashion on cushions following the Spanish custom of Islamic origin which foreign visitors found very surprising although it in Spain it survived practically until the Bourbon era.

There are numerous testimonies to the use of the estrado, both in literature and in painting in Spain and in the inventories which document household contents. It was normally the most richly decorated room in the house and the one used for receiving visitors .

Topkapi Harem - Twin Kiosk / Apartments of the Crown Prince

Above, the Twin Kiosk / Apartments of the Crown Prince (Çifte Kasırlar / Veliahd Dairesi), via onethirteen. Below, the low seating platform (at right) on Crete is typical of many traditional Greek houses, though some of them are more comfortably padded than this one.

Postcard - House in Rhodes

If building code (or cost) prohibits conversation pits and sunken living rooms, then raised seating platforms are a great cheap substitute – for that matter, make a raise platform with a recessed area within it. If you have an appetite for more images, see here and here, and there are more photos below. And if you’ve ever made one of these, man I’d like to see it.

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Cosmic dust, on tumblr

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

white bedroom from cosmic_dust

If tumblr is a bellwether—and it may not be—then the sixties & seventies are back, in style if not in substance. So many of tumblr’s weird little blogs, each of them a kind of eclectic personal bulletin board, feature this kind of rock and roll Hair: The Musical meets back-to-the-land handmade-house thing. They have a taste for a simpler yet groovier style of living, but it’s never clear if there’s any politics behind the back to the land aesthetics.

They call it tumblr for a reason. Thanks to the way tumblr makes it simple to re-post an image from someone else’s tumblr blog in your own tumblr stream, while providing you with a link back to theirs, each tumblr collection instantly leads you on to many others with a similar world view. I’m not sure how I first came upon cosmic_dust, possibly it was here, but it led to alaskaneyes and self_romance which led to endless numbers of strange little worlds. These images are a tiny sample from the addictive cosmic_dust.

hippie house biomorphic from cosmic_dust

mick jagger, hippie, via cosmic_dust

white tree house via cosmic_dust

yurt, via cosmic_dust

glass house via cosmic_dust

landon by hello_bum on flickr via cosmic_dust

russian church joel-sternfeld

treehouse via cosmic_dust

Taking the indoor/outdoor look to new levels

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Not what you generally think of when you think "Inside/Outside"

This gets points for adventurousness and imagination and magic, if not success. It’s another image from The Practical Encyclopedia of Good Decorating and Home Improvement, Greystone Press, 1970.

Circa 1968

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Fantastic, minus the zebra, even if it's the same zebra they have in the Eames House.

More far out interiors from The Practical Encyclopedia of Good Decorating and Home Improvement, Greystone Press, 1970.

White bas relief wall hanging, skylit dining area

Macrame lamp/hanging thing - if anyone has this exact object, I'll buy it

Panton lamp in swanky interior

Wow.

Yesterday’s House of Tomorrow

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

House of Tomorrow -  pan

House of Tomorrow, car of tomorrow

Obviously the House of Tomorrow wasn’t meant to be part of everyone’s tomorrow. Nice Jag. Nice unbuttoned look, too. That’s the developer, Bob, with his wife Helene in their 1960 Desert Modern-style house in Palm Springs by Palmer & Krisel, architects. From here. The photographs originally appeared in Look Magazine. The third photo is actually from a different Palmer & Krisel house in Palm Springs.

Twin Palms by Palmer:Krisel