Too Modern?

May 20, 2011

Is there such a thing as too modern?  It’s debatable I guess, it’s personal… depending on the what the person/client is comfortable with, and the desired “look”.  I am currently working on a new construction project that I would consider transitional architecture and the discussion between myself and the clients has been “how modern” do we go from day one.  Because of the coastal location and the idea that this will be a weekend/summer-house for the family until they are ready to retire, I want a level of informality and looseness that a true modern might not give.  I keep coming back to rustic modern, yeah you have heard me use that term a 1000 times before, but I really think the “rustic” part of the equation helps soften the hard edge of modern and relaxes what can be a rather uptight look.  The natural river stone fireplace gives this room the rustic in rustic modern.  It doesn’t take much to wear down the sharp edge of modern and make a space a bit more friendly.  For these clients I’m planning for rough-hewn wood coffee tables mixed with clean modern lined sofas, and a thick chunky parsons dining table with chairs like the Bertoia side chair in the top image.  For me there seems to be a lack of creativity mixing these chairs with the Platner dining table ( see above)… anyone can amass the iconic mid-century pieces… it’s an interesting mix and the tension between juxtaposed styles that creates interest.

By the way…did you know that with his iconic seating collection, Harry Bertoia transformed industrial wire rods into a new furniture form. The events that made this work possible began a decade earlier at Cranbrook Academy of Art when Bertoia met Florence Knoll Bassett (then Florence Schust). Years later, the Italian-born designer was invited to work for Florence and her husband Hans Knoll. Bertoia was given the freedom to work on whatever suited him, without being held to a strict design agenda, and the result of this arrangement was the Bertoia Seating Collection (1952). Featuring a delicate filigreed appearance that’s supremely strong, these airy seats are sculpted out of steel rods. In his art, Bertoia experimented with open forms and metal work, and these chairs were an extension of that work. “If you look at the chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture,” said Bertoia. ”Space passes through them.” After designing his seating collection, Bertoia returned to focusing mostly on sculpture. His work was often used in projects by Eero Saarinen (another Cranbrook friend), notably at MIT and the Dulles International Airport. Interesting.


Don’t get me wrong, this is a beautiful home, the interiors are pretty flawless, but for what I’m trying to achieve the rustic element is missing in the space above.  Wouldn’t you agree that an organic element or two would warm the space tremendously? and add a relaxed vibe that welcomes you and puts you at ease?   When I have more time I’ll post images of the furniture I have spec’d for this project, check back later!

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One Response to “Too Modern?”

  1. Taunnie Says:

    Yes, I totally agree with you. Maybe it’s because I was raised during the 70’s (my Mother had macrame and terariums everywhere)that I believe every room should have an organic element.


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