A Pictorial Blog of Things I Make,
Items I Collect, Architecture I Love,
and Other Stuff

Friday, October 29, 2010

Turn-Ons for Typophiles

Archetypal art deco typeface on Fourth Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Designed in 1927 by Morris Fuller Benton, the font was christened Broadway in honor of Manhattan's Theater District.

 A sewing business at 48 West 25th Street, Manhattan.

  L&T's lissome logo was hand-written in the 1940s by Andrew Geller of Raymond Loewy's storied design office. Here the logo bedecks the flagship Fifth Avenue store of 1914, designed by Starrett & van Vleck.

 Devastating deco in the lobby of the General Electric Building (1931) by Cross and Cross
 on Lexington Avenue, Manhattan.

 West 88th Street, Manhattan.

 A 1949 confectionery at 8518 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn.

Murray's Sturgeon Shop, 2429 Broadway, Manhattan.
To look at more examples, visit: Turn-Ons for Typophiles: Upper West Side Addresses

Thursday, October 28, 2010

For Trick-or-Treating Philatelists

A full sheet of 15 stamps that make up the squares of a chocolate bar. They're Swiss, they came out in 2001, and they're scratch-and-sniff. (The stamps only smell like chocolate; they taste like plain old stamp glue.) I mounted the stamps on cardstock with photo corners that look like pieces of chocolate.

By the way, in 2007, the Year of the Pig, China put out this scratch-and-sniff stamp bearing the aroma of sweet-and-sour pork.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Selections From My Collection of 1960s Mall Post Cards: "Waiting for Godot" Series

 In these post cards of malls, an anonymous photographer caught folks waiting, waiting, waiting in climate-controlled comfort, including this fella at the Tacoma Mall, constructed in 1965. Dig those groovy clocks.

Scottsdale's Los Arcos Mall, constructed in 1969, demolished in 2000. Is that Vladimir and Estragon on the right?

 Florida's Winter Park Mall, constructed circa 1960, almost entirely demolished in 1997 (including the inverted mushroom-cap fountain).

Jacksonville's Regency Square Mall, constructed in 1967, "rejuvenated" in 1992. A poignant image if you click and look closely.

Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana, Ill., constructed in 1962.

Lloyd Center Mall in Portland, Oregon. This mall--in an open-air configuration--opened in 1960. What, one wonders (maybe a bit), is the story of the fella waiting on the bench.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Modernism in the Bronx

The gravity-defying trapedzoidal box that is Marcel Breuer's Begrisch Hall (1961) on the campus of the Bronx Community College.  

 Begrisch Hall pre-dates Breuer's design for the Whitney Museum by five years.

 St. Brendan's Church (1966) by Belfatto & Pavarini in the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx. The resemblance to the prow of a ship is a nod Brendan's claim to fame--patron saint of navigators.

This is a close-up of the heavily textured brick facing on the church, liberally studded with clinker brick, the kind of brick that is fired too close to the furnace. Clinkers had no value until the Arts and Crafts movement commenced, and then their irregular, wabi-sabi attributes came to be prized.
To look at other examples of mod ecclesiastical edifices in New York City, visit: Mid-Century Manhattan Churches

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Selections from My Collection of Business Cards in an Autumnal Palette

 For years I have been a dedicated deltiologist--Greek for "nut who collects business cards."

 Once I have harvested a big batch, I sort them out and mount them in books.

 Probably four-fifths of the cards, if not more, are from New York City.

 But I also pick them up from places I visit. The round card above is from a buttonarium in Berlin. (Knopf is German for button.)

 I especially relish the photographic business cards--like the left one on the second row above, from the Stage Deli.
To look at more cards, visit: From My Collection of Business Cards: Green and Greenish Ones & A Salute to Stendhal Via Business Cards & Selections From My Collection of Business Cards: Red Ones for V-Day & From My Collection of Business Cards: Pink and Purply Ones

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Modernism Out West

Denver Art Museum (2006) by Studio Daniel Libeskind with Davis Partnership Architects.

North of Colorado Springs:  Interior of United States Air Force Academy Chapel (1962) by Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill.

 Morrison, Colo.: Red Rocks Amphitheater (1941) by Burnham Hoyt.

Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver (2007) by David Adjaye.

Ogden, Utah: Morman Temple (1972) by Emil B. Fetzer. This structure has now been entirely encapsulated into a new one of a very different, sort of Deco design.

Salt Lake City: The standard design for a Der Wienerschnitzel franchise--dating from 1961--features a tall, steeply pitched A-frame roof. Note the similarity to. . .

. . . Netsch's 1962 design for the Air Force Academy Chapel.

Provo, Utah: Mormon Temple by Emil B. Fetzer. It opened in August 1972, seven months after the similar temple opened in Ogden. Fetzer was for decades the lead architect for the Mormon Church and is the designer behind the Mormon Temple in Manhattan at West 65th Street.

Arnold Hall, U.S. Air Force Academy.

Denver Art Museum (1971) by James Sudler and Gio Ponti.

A bit of Moderne in Cheyenne, Wyo.

On a lonely summit twenty miles east of Laramie, Wyo., is the Ames Monument, commemorating the highest point along the transcontinental railway and dedicated in 1882. Is it Modern? Its stark and frank design--by the great H.H. Richardson--sure seems to affirm that it indeed is. Augustus Saint-Gaudens did the bas-relief.

The rooftop garden by Karla Dakin at Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art.

Striking facade of a downtown Denver garage.

Boulder, Colo.: National Center for Atmospheric Research (1966) by I.M. Pei.
To look at further examples, visit: More Modernism Out West

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Modernism in Westchester County, New York

Marcel Breuer's "House in the Garden." Originally exhibited in the garden of the Museum of Modern Art in 1949, this model home was sliced into four sections at the close of the exhibition and relocated to the Rockefeller country estate Kykuit where it was reassembled and now serves as a guest house. These stairs lead to a bedroom.

This 1957 house in Armonk, N.Y., was designed by Arthur Witthoefft, who worked for Minoru Yamasaki and SOM. Nowadays the owner of a private practice in Florida, Witthoefft moved from the house in 1989 and it became, if you can imagine, a storage unit for construction paraphernalia. Mid-century devotees Todd Goddard and Andrew Manolene have in recent years performed a platinum-plated restoration on this unsung masterpiece.

 A side shot of the staggeringly gorgeous Witthoefft House.

The kitchen window of Reisley House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1952 and located in Usonia, Wright's only fully realized planned community. On a 100-acre tract of land (officially in Pleasantville, N.Y.), Wright masterminded a plan of 55 circular one-acre lots surrounded by 40 acres of wooded, shared space. Of the 50 or so houses there, three were designed by Wright himself and the rest follow design guidelines he helped establish.

 Another house in Usonia.

 Freidman House (1950) by Frank Lloyd Wright. All the lots in Usonia are circular but Wright was the only architect to mirror this form for a house plan.

 The carport at Freidman House.

 Another home in Usonia.

 Entry breezeway for Resnick House (1949) by Aaron Resnick, Usonia.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My New York City Subway Button Card

The buttons are mounted on a subway map introduced in 1979 and designed by Michael Hertz Associates. That map replaced the visually striking but much maligned 1972 design by Massimo Vignelli, who co-founded Unimark International. In the '60s Unimark created modern signage for the subway using Helvetica, to this day the official typeface of the MTA. Unfortunately, the MTA store no longer sells these buttons but they do have cufflinks that are similar. The ribbon on this card is from Hyman Hendler.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Selections From My Collection of "Do Not Disturb" Signs

 From a motel out west.

 Picked this up in a run-down Hollywood inn, the name long forgotten.

 From a German hostelry; note the use of the exclamation point.