08 June 2009

All modern from All Modern



It's my job to echo and interpret the design sensibilities of my clients. Because of that, I spend a lot of time putting together rooms that aren't really my style. Don't get me wrong, I put together some great rooms but I generally don't work on spaces that would make me happy personally. That's fine and as it should be, people don't pay me to recreate my dream home.

With that said, every once in a while I get to work on a project that does appeal to me personally and I'm working on one right now. The clients in question have a good-humored approach to life and to their home and they appreciate modern design. These people a find and it's an honor to work on their home.

Pretty early into the process, I specified four Bertoia counter stools that were supposed to go with a rather large bar I had in mind for the back of a particularly large island. Here are the Bertoia counter stools I was lobbying for.


These Bertoias are part of a collection of similar seating designed by Italian sculptor Harry Bertoia in 1952. This collection was designed for Knoll originally and Knoll still makes the same collection. The Knoll Company was founded in 1938 by Hans and Florence Knoll and it's still making 20th century originals.

Mies van der Rohe, Florence Knoll, Eero Saarinen, Isamu Noguchi, Frank Gehry, Maya Lin, Marcel Breuer and of course Harry Bertoia had and have collections produced by the modern masters at Knoll. Looking though their catalogs is like a stroll through the 20th century. World War II was a lot more destructive socially than most people think and in the years during and immediately after it, everything was up for grabs. In a lot of ways, Modernism was a reaction to the social upheavals of that terrible conflict.

Modernism came about alongside the rise of the middle class in the West and the two forces fed and sustained one another. Modernist designers were committed to getting designed furnishings into the hands of the masses and the masses could suddenly afford it. Companies like Knoll bridged that gap then and continue to do so now.

So let's get back to my clients. When the time came to order the Bertoia counter stools I had my heart set on, my clients balked. They have kids, young pre-teens, and they didn't want to spend the money on furniture that was going to get kicked around by a room full of 10-year-old boys. They're going for a cheap knock off instead. Ugh. My first impulse is to tell them to get the good stuff and just tell the kids they're not allowed to sit on them until they're older. Can you tell I don't have any kids? Hah! But I let it go. They did however, sign off on this amazing light fixture by Sonneman.


I love this light fixture enough to make up for the missing Bertoias in this finished room. Almost.

So had we gone ahead with the Bertoias, they would have come from Boston-based All Modern. All Modern has the full Knoll Collection and they offer free, same day shipping on select Knoll items. All Modern carries all of the greats who make up the entire Modernist movement. Herman Miller, Steelcase, Luce Plan, Louis Poulsen, Hansgrohe, George Kovacs, Droog, Artemide, Artecnica, Kartell and my beloved Alessi swell that website to the point of near bursting. Got an ache for some modernism? Scratch it at All Modern.

8 comments:

  1. I was JUST looking at counter stools yesterday and it was torturous because I could not narrow down the assortment. I really need to figure out what to do with mine--at some point i bought a few Eric Buck stools but they are different heights and I am struggling: do I sacrifice a few inches of legs to make them match, or do I buy four new stools (ouch)? I just checked out All Modern--what a great resource. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  2. Chopping up a couple of Erik Buck stools? Sacrilege! When in doubt, use a Harry Bertoia I always say.

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  3. yikes and probably a sacrilege to spell his name incorrectly too! I'll send you a photo of the area for kicks...I also need a backsplash...wonder where I could find one of those ;)

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  4. Hmmm. I saw some really great stuff at Ann Sacks...

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  5. Back to your clients comment about the kids, I like what one of my clients told his roudy kids: FLOAT!

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  6. Float... Now there's a great suggestion. I'll remember that the next time I run into this.

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  7. It sucks to have to decorate around kids and pets. This is why we have a table lying on its side in the hallway blocking access to the living room and chewed Adirondack chairs on the patio!! (Chewed by dogs, not kids!!)

    Those are great stools. Tell your clients to send their kids to boarding school so you can go ahead with your original stool vision :-D

    Kelly

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  8. Get out of my head Kelly, that's my solution for kid proofing any home. Boarding school! Why not? It worked for Joan Crawford. I mean, her kids turned out just fine.

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