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Category Archives: Art

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Gropius Created a Global Vision with the Bauhaus School

The Bauhaus school was originally established in 1919 in Weimar in Thuringia, Germany. The school was the brainchild of architect Walter Gropius. Although the school only lasted 14 years, it literally changed the art world by establishing the principles of modern design.

Very much like a human child, the Bauhaus school upheld and carried the values of its father, which in this case is Walter Gropius’ distinct vision of modern life.

Gropius apprenticed for Peter Behrens, who was thought of as the founding father of industrial design and corporate identity. Behrens fancied himself as not just designing buildings, but also the rooms and what was to go into those rooms. Gropius seemed to have a knack for combining materials such as poured concrete and frosted glass along with tiles and desert cacti, and creating a visual brand. This eventually was the element that created the path for what we know as modern architecture design.

Inside the Bauhaus was their manifesto, which read, “The ultimate aim of all creative activity is the building!” The Bauhaus was “the servant of the workshop.” The school had masters, journeymen and apprentices, not teachers or pupils.

Not wanting for the Bauhaus to become a conventional academy, Gropius wrote that his method was to “ leave everything in flux.”

Everything produced in the school was a collaboration; one workshop would contribute and collaborate with the other. For example, to make a chair the school’s textile workshop would make the woven seats. The Model B3 Chair was created with the inspiration from one of the youngest students, Marcel Breuer. He got the inspiration from handlebars of a milkman’s bicycle; from a certain angle the chair looked like it was suspended or levitated into space. But to get these creative collaborative pieces of furniture art to market failed.

Once the Bauhaus school ceased, it became a global style all its own. In 1936, Harvard Graduate School of Design hired Gropius. Both Gropius and his wife settled in Massachusetts where they built their home in Lincoln. Not only was the house made out of redwood boards, but the roof is flat and based on Bauhaus principles.

Today, when you tour the iconic house, you will see design elements that were way ahead of its time. Among these elements that took years to catch on were cork floors, acoustic plaster, a dishwasher, and garbage disposal. Upon his death in 1969, part of his legacy that he leaves behind are his progressive ideas and vision for our present.

Presently, Germany will be celebrating 100 years of the Bauhaus, now back and rebuilt on its original location and part of Bauhaus University complete with a reconstructed Walter Gropius Room. More can be read on this iconic trailblazer in a new biography, by Fiona MacCarthy, “Gropius: The Man Who Built the Bauhaus.”

From the Factory Floor

Resin poured barstools…

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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Madrid and the Gift of Inspiration

In Madrid, as you approach the Museo Nacional del Prado, you will notice that preparations are underway for this year’s 200th anniversary celebration. The Museo Nacional del Prado originally opened its doors in November of 1819. The museum houses many of the most cherished works by Goya, El Greco, Velazquez and Rubens and is a sight to behold.

The inspiration starts as you saunter down the street on your way to the Museo Nacional del Prado; note that a quick brisk walk is impossible due to all the architectural beauty surrounding Mardrid’s streets. Please note that even though the museum is currently renovating, they are still holding exhibitions and events in other locations in the city to mark their 200th anniversary.

One could say that the beautifully designed buildings that surround Madrid, the capital of  Spain, are akin to the masterpiece paintings viewed at an exquisite art museum. Speaking of museums, Madrid is the home of many important museums that house some of the greatest works of Western art in the world.

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is another museum that houses 20th-century art and is part of the Golden Triangle of Art, containing three of the most important art museums in the world. Once you read about the various exhibits and collections currently showing, you will make a beeline to the Reina Sofia just to see how a 20th-century master interrupts the world you grew up in. This is just fascinating!

The last and third in the Golden Triangle is the Thyssen-Bornemisza, which houses the most influential collections of private art ever assembled. The museum opened its doors in 1992; an agreement had to be set in place between the Spanish government and Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. The building itself of the Thyssen-Bornemisza is the Palace of Villahermosa, and it’s considered one of the most important buildings in Madrid’s palatial architecture, dating back to the early 17th century.

You’ll come back from Madrid inspired, and that’s priceless.

From the ADG Design Studio

 Yes, we make furniture too!

Architecture Design Lighting

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

FRANCE FIRE NOTRE DAME

Notre Dame Cathedral Fire Inspires Unity and Hope

The French people and the world watched in horror as the flames engulfed the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral and the spire fell in flames. Our imaginations ran wild as we imagined the potential loss of not only a sacred place of worship, but rare artifacts that were housed within the gothic walls. As the flames were subdued by a gallant fire brigade, news travelled quickly that the initial damage appeared to be minimal, along with a heroic fire brigade chaplain saving numerous artifacts. But the true damage to the Notre Dame Cathedral has yet to be assessed or determined. The question that now presents itself is what is the true structural damage to the building and what will it take to restore the architectural splendor of this grand building.

Construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral began in 1160 A.D., and is surely one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in the world. The project brought together many of the style’s characteristic features of large windows, vertical stresses and slender, pointed arches. The Notre Dame Cathedral inspired the building of a series of great gothic cathedrals across northern cities such as Chartres, Rouen, Amiens and Reims. The structure brought new levels of refinement and artistic expression into style through the magnificent height of the spaces, the unique ornamentation, and the whimsical effects of the stained glass on the light. The Notre Dame Cathedral and similar structures sent a powerful message to the people about Christ, saints and other important figures such as kings and lords of the area.

Only time will tell what the true impact of this devastating fire on this iconic landmark, but the tragedy has moved the people of France and the world into unity. Last reports indicate that donations have been made for restoration which exceed $1 billion. The government of France has energetically committed to absolute perfection in the restoration, no matter how long it takes or what the cost will be. It reflects the inspirational power of the Notre Dame Cathedral on the global community to come together as one.    

From the ADG Job Site 

In Palos Verdes, our project manager Nikki is ensuring the ADG Advantage is taking place with our new kinetic chandelier.

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Robert Winter Architecture

Robert Winter, The Godfather of LA Architecture Passes

“Robert Winter was in the last of a group who lived and breathed the built world of Los Angeles, the people who experienced the development of midcentury modern architecture before there was a term for it.”

Paddy Calistro, Publisher Angel City Press

Robert Winter, the most renowned Los Angeles architectural historian and the Arthur G. Coons Professor of the History of Ideas, Emeritus, at Occidental College, Los Angeles passed at the age of 94. His writings have shined a light on the region’s architectural treasures and helped define the city’s built environment. Lovingly known throughout the architectural industry as “Bungalow Bob,” he was particularly known for his contributions to the history of the California branch of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Winter was present at the creation of the Craftsman Revival in the early 1970s — a revival that, as he has famously noted, has gone on far longer than the relatively short-lived Craftsman period itself.

He was born in Indianapolis in 1924 and attended Dartmouth University and Johns Hopkins before accepting positions at UCLA and Occidental College, where he taught for more than three decades. Robert Winter was eagerly known for his architectural writing, authoring or co-authoring numerous publications over the years. His most recognized work was his collaboration with David Gebhard, titled An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles, which became a ‘must-own’ reference guide for architects and architectural enthusiasts since the first editions in 1965.

Robert Winter lived in The Batchelder House, which is a historic home built in 1910 and located in Pasadena. It is known as an important center of Pasadena cultural life and was designed and built by Ernest A. Batchelder, a prominent leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement.  The house is a large bungalow style home, with the woodsy design elements of a Swiss chalet.

From the ADG Jobsite

Install in progress at an auto museum in Ohio…

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG

 

radical architecture, American architecture

Radical Architecture Inspired by a Radical Culture

“Seeing architecture differently from the way you see the rest of life is a bit weird. I believe one should be consistent in all that one does, from the books you read to the way you bring up your children. Everything you do is connected. “

~David Chipperfield

 The Apollo 11 lands on the moon. The LGBT community celebrates the first Gay Liberation Day. Hippies celebrate the culture of peace and love across the country and demonstrate against an unpopular war.  The civil rights movement reaches a crescendo. A great president and a powerful civil rights leader are senselessly slain.

These are just some of the monumental events of the 1960s and 1970s that will forever shape the way we look at the radical culture of the time.  Those cultural events influenced every part of American life and we have felt their impact up through current times. One of the most significant areas of culture impacted by the 1960s and 1970s was in radical architecture.

One of the most celebrated minds of the radical architecture period was architect and scientist Buckminster Fuller. He was an American engineer, architect, and futurist who developed the geodesic dome—the only large dome that can be set directly on the ground as a complete structure and the only practical kind of building that has no limiting dimensions. Given the complicated geometry of the geodesic dome, dome builders rely on tables of strut lengths, or chord factors. Tables of chord factors, the essential design information for spherical systems, were for many years guarded like military secrets.

Fuller Geodome 

Other notable inventions and developments by Fuller included a system of cartography that presents all the land areas of the world without significant distortion; die-stamped prefabricated bathrooms; tetrahedronal floating cities; underwater geodesic-domed farms; and expendable paper domes. Fuller did not regard himself as an inventor or an creature of radical architecture. All of his developments, in his view, were accidental or interim incidents in a strategy that aimed at a radical solution of world problems by finding the means to do more with less.

From The ADG Jobsite

Another great collaboration with Shain Development featuring our #297 Barstock Iron Light Modern Lantern. 
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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting
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Featured Artist: Abby Jacobs

During the course of our work, we get the unique opportunity to explore the visions of various artists and tradesmen injecting their own vision into spaces. As craftsmen in the world of lighting, we work with the intention of making a space come to light (both literally and metaphorically), and that work is often enhanced by fellow artists and craftsmen. So the question arises: does art (of any form) enhance lights? Is art an intention? How does art work collaboratively with other fixtures or objects in a room and create its own vignette?

As we explore this thought, we wanted to profile an artist that ADG has worked with in the past on a residential project. In collaboration with architecture firm Surround Architecture and interior designer Rand Kruse, we crossed paths with Abby Jacobs, an artist based out of Boulder, Colorado. ADG designed the thin-nickeled sconces, pendants in the dining room, and many of the exterior lights in the home.

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Working as an artist since a young child, Abby trained in art therapy and received her master’s degree in counseling psychology and art therapy from the Buddhist based Naropa University in Boulder.

“Art’s job is to be soothing. The eye should rest in the place you like,” Abby says. A lot of her work can be heavy and solid, or light and airy, just depending on the space.

Image5Abby has previously worked with adults with mental struggles, and believes art is a good way to get people to open up, and reflects what is going on with them. “It’s such a good way to get people to open up because there’s no intimidation of direct eye contact. They’re focused on their work, but they’re accessing emotions, and a lot of times the artwork reflects what’s going on inside.”

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Abby sells a lot of her work locally, and has used social media platforms like Instagram to sell her prints and build a community. Her work will be featured at Wonder Press, a 100% organic, cold-pressed juice and nut milk shop located in Boulder, Colorado. Learn more about Abby’s work at abbyjacobsart.com.

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