Saturday, October 20, 2012

Preserving Our Historyin Our Buildings

I'm from Norfolk Va. and remember my grandparents complaining that there had been old homes that had been torn down to make way for more business in the down town area of the city.  This was back in the 1950's and they were talking about some of the older homes of the city.  At the time they said that Richmond had managed to keep more of their old homes.  Va. Beach Va, had nice old hotels intermingled with the new larger hotels until most of the really old hotels with their vintage charm have all but disappeared.  If they were not torn down they were up dated to the point that they no longer had the charm that was so appealing.

When I was growing up Va. Beach had as it's civic center the Dome....Quote from Wikipedia...Shows the lack of fore thought by the City of Va. Beach.

"The Alan B. Shepard Civic Center ("The Dome"), a significant building in the city's history, was constructed in 1958,[15] was dedicated to the career of former Virginia Beach resident and astronaut Alan Shepard.[16] Eventually, the Dome was frequently used as a smokey bingo hall. The building was razed in 1994[15] to make room for a municipal parking lot and potential future development."

Once an iconic building is gone there is no bringing it back. The dome did not have to be a Bingo Hall...What a wonderful information center it would have made.  Some it is the cost of up keep that decides the fate of an old building.  But when it is so iconic, the cost should be weighed against the value of an iconic building. 

There have been so many valuable architectural buildings lost torn down to make way for progress.  Wonderful Deco and Early Modern buildings azed to the ground to make way for things like parking lots.  Norfolk lost their one grand hotel the Monticello Hotel again making way for the new.

Richmond has so far respected their past far better than Norfolk or Va. Beach. 

An easy Modern Building to find in Richmond is the Markel Building, designed by Haigh Jamgochian, a Richmond Architect in 1962.  He was inspired by a foil wrapped Baked Potato.  In 2012 it was designated one of the ten Ugliest building in the country, we think it is gorgeous.  It can not help but draw your attention.  Hopefully Richmonders will respect it and keep it for future generations. 

It is interesting to note that some building that are not appreciated it their time can never the less be iconic parts of our history and deserve to be respected and saved for future generations.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Grosfeld House

A PAIR OF PLEXIGLASS AND WATERED SILK CHAUFFEUSESManufactured by Grosfeld House, circa 1940

Grosfeld House Furniture Company manufactured some iconic designs of the twentieth century.  Some of the great designers that work for the company were Vladimir Kagan and Lorin Jackson.  They produced some of the earliest chairs using the new product Lucite.

USA 1940s
Grosfeld House produced pieces that were edgy often unique and would add an accent to any room.  They were both classic and modern and the quality of the construction of their pieces was always impeccable

Shell Console by Grosfeld House

They were both moder and classical but always iconic.

2-Piece, Tufted Ottoman by Grosfeld House

Monday, October 1, 2012

Harvey Prober's Furniture had ''the quality of aging gracefully"

Travertine top side table as seen on 1stdibs

Harvey Prober, 1922-2003, was a mostly self educated furniture designer.  His earliest piece was designed at age seventeen while he was still in High School.  He sold it for ten dollars which was a good amount for a young man at the time.   After he graduated from High School he made regular trips from Brooklyn to Manhattan to sell his designs.  He did take some evening classes at Pratt in design, but learned production of furniture on the job with Trade Upholstery, a New York company.

Harvey Probber 1922-2003

During World War II he served in the Coast Guard, after his sevice he established his own furniture manufacturing company, Harvey Prober Inc. 1945-1986.  His designs were of elegant modern lines
with touches of bright color.  He believed that good design would stand the test of time, "Having the quality of aging gracefully."  This he believed to be the fourth dimension of furniture.   Augmenting this he used beautiful materials.
Probber Sectional Sofa Todd Merrill Antiques
He believed in flexibility of function. He introduced in the forties independent geometric shapes of furniture, which became sectional modular furniture. He expanded on this in the seventies with even more innovations of his sectional seating.

Rosewood Decagon Lamp Table by Harvey Probber



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