It Has It’s Costs

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There’s a bit of irony (not in an Alanis Morissette kind of way) between the premise of the tv show Elementary and what I initially thought was a Serge Mouille 3 Arm Floor Lamp.  Elementary is a modern take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson characters. The go-to pieces for movies and shows are typically the Mies Barcelona Chair, Eames 670 Lounge or a Saarinen Womb or Tulip chair.  Those are all instant visual cues of HEY! WE ARE MODERN AND DESIGNY! So I was annoyingly distracted and all too excited when Lucy Lui’s Character Dr. Watson walked past what I thought was my all time favorite floor lamp. Almost a little too excited in the thought of FINALLY! Something a LITTLE more unusual, but like in Malcom Gladwell’s Blink, something immediately was wrong.

The original Serge Mouille 3 Arm floor lamp was designed in 1953, and then built by his own hands until 1964, when he stopped production completely to focus on work as an educator at the School of Applied Arts. His works were never made by machined parts and have fetched astronomical prices in various auctions. The lamp is now in production in France and can be found at DWR for $7380.

It took a bit of patience to catch glimpses and better angles of the lamp on the show and after a bit of time it was obvious that in fact this was a copy of my beloved lamp. The shades were more rounded and the tripod base/legs were completely off. all of which eventually led me to the actual lamp used on the show. The Organic Modernism shop carries the Praying Mantis lamp for $575, which is probably pretty close to just the shipping cost of the Mouille lamp.

I usually struggle with posting about copies of my favorite designs, but have an odd attachment to this show and didn’t just want to write about the Saarinen Executive Chair (metal legs) or the Womb Chair that are also used.  I think there’s also a Modernica Eames fiberglass side chair on there as well. So it was the lamp that I decided to focus on.

I never usually quote directly from a film or show, as I feel it’s lazy, but for what it’s worth, Johnny Lee Miller has a line that has stuck with me since I first heard it last year and I believe it applies to this appropriately.

“Learning to see the puzzle in everything? They’re everywhere once you start looking, it’s impossible to stop. It just so happens, people and all their deceits and illusions that inform everything that they do tends to be the most fascinating puzzles of all. Of course, they don’t always appreciate being seen as such. ”

Papa was a rolling stone

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t phoning this one in… I want to think that Hans Wegner’s Papa Bear Chair for AP Stolen is so recognizable that you reading this should be thinking…. C’MON! Stop being Lazy! Get it together! But, I remember the first time I saw Running With Scissors (Augusten Burroughs memoir) all I could think was, not only is there a Papa Bear chair in that AMAZING living room, but TWO!

A real vintage one (depending on the condition) can be found in the ballpark of $15,000. Thomas Hayes Gallery and Metro Retro Furniture have great examples. I’m not judging you but replica’s can be found at Modernica starting at $2900.

The Papa Bear chair is the embodiment of the (somewhat, overly and misused term) DANISH MODERN

 

 

Backpack, Eagle, Princeton and Flamingo

In anticipation of Aaron Sorkin’s latest series, Newsroom, starting June 24 on HBO, We’ve recently attempted to watch The West Wing starting from the beginning.This is partially my reason for not posting as often… Too much watching, not enough typing.

To my great delight I spotted a set of Bob Josten’s cast back chairs in Season 2 Episode 13 (Bartlet’s Third State Of The Union). After a bit more research I found more of his pieces in a few other movies like Wayne’s World and Total Recall.  Josten’s work is a bit more obscure and pop up randomly on sites like Apartment Therapy and 1stDibs.com. His work has a modern industrial feel and definitely leans to the 1980′s sci-fi idea of what the future would look like.

These Cast Back Chairs are no longer in production, I believe that some pieces were produced for the International Commercial Furniture Inc and the rest were done by Robert Josten and associates, which from what I can find was Josten and two other craftsman producing the pieces themselves in Southern California. These would have been made sometime between the 1980′s- part of the 1990′s. These cast back chairs are wonderfully juxtaposed with the sand cast aluminum and carved maple seats. Rumor has it, that an independent company has access to the original designs and possibly the patent and are in discussion for reissuing part of the line.  My main hope there is that since Mr Josten is still alive I hope he’s going to get a HUGE cut from that profit. I am always torn when designs are reissued so we’ll see what happens.

Ventura currently has a set of 4 with a cast console table for $3800 and Downtown has a pair and the cast table for $5500.

So far we’re at season 3 and if there’s anyone out there who would like to participate in a nerdy round of West Wing Trivia we’re looking for players!