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. ”

Tie me up, Tie me down

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been hibernating and it took a GIANT guilty pleasure to pull me out of early retirement. Justin Timberlake’s latest video Suit & Tie has some kind of endorphin high that I needed.

Let’s begin with the director, David Fincher. Mr Fincher is, without a doubt, one of my FAVORITE directors of ALLLLLL TIME. Visually never disappointing. He always blends the right amount of vivid detail into his imagery that makes me crave more. I highly recommend looking into his body of work if you don’t already know whom I’m talking about… I could discuss this man’s work for hours if I had the right person to nerd out with.

Jay-Z is sitting in what I would normally consider a “phoned in” identified MCM piece, but The Time Life Executive Chair by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller is by far one of my favorite desk chairs.  Designed for the executive floor for the Time Life Building in the late 1960′s is still in production and starts at $3099.  The Time Life Chair can be found on Ebay for about a grand, but make sure to ask a ton of questions before purchasing, as restoration will run about as much as a new one. Orange in California does an amazing job on Restoring and reupholstering them.

If you look REALLY close to the one in the video, Jay-Z is sitting in a white hair on hide version which I’ve never seen before.  This is a perfect example of how Mr. Fincher uses subtle amazing details that stimulate my brain in the best kind of way.

A girlfriend told me the other day Justin should have called it quits with Sexy Back, which honestly, that song never did it for me… but Helloooo, Black and White cinematography, horns mixed in with jazzy swingy smooth pop music, homage to the rat pack era, slow motion choreography with half dressed good looking women, the Eames, Jay-Z & DAVID FINCHER….  $#!T ….. that just feeds all my addictions in the best ways….



Loungin 101

If you love James Bond (Yeah, I’m talking about Sean Connery), Arrested Development, and Adult Swim, I’m going to assume you already know about Archer. If not (HURRY!) look for it on FX, Netflix or buy it on Amazon… It’s GREAT!

If I didn’t love Archer so much I wouldn’t cut them any slack for their total disregard of reality and using a Herman Miller Eames 670 lounge as a desk chair… yes, I know I used the word REALITY in describing a cartoon.

I figured this would be a great opportunity to discuss Charles and Ray Eames 670 Lounge chair since it’s probably the MOST used mid century modern chair in movies, television, and commercials… In constant production since 1956, the Eames 670 Lounge and 671 Ottoman are probably one of the most iconic and popular pieces of mid century design next to the Saarinen Womb Chair and Mies Van Der Rohe’s Barcelona Chair. I don’t know many people who would pass up owning one since it’s comfort and beauty appeals to a wide range of people’s tastes and body types.

Originally produced in black and brown leather with a Brazilian Rosewood veneer.  This version is highly coveted for it’s rareness since this version was discontinued due to the embargo restricting the use of the endangered wood. The most rare are limited custom versions from the 1960′s that were done blue and green leather.  Now produced in walnut, cherry, ash and a sustainable palisander and a variety of colors of leather from Herman Miller.

Originally these were filled with down and duck feathers. Then sometime in the 1960′s-1970′s foam and down was used. Fiberfill and foam has been used since then.  The cushion and leather wears quite differently with the different interior.  The differences in comfort is subjective and a personal preference.

A vintage one from the 1950′s-early 1970′s (depending on their age, condition, type of wood and interior filling) can fetch anywhere from $1000-$7000.  Later 1970′s – 1990′s ones will go for $1000-$5000.  Purchasing a new one will run about $4500-$6000.  Buying a older vintage model makes a pretty good investment considering there aren’t that many things in life where the value stays relatively close to the purchase price.

One way to help discern the differences of the age (and authenticity) of the chair and ottoman is by the Herman Miller tag on the underside of the seat and ottoman. The oldest are the round version that were used from 1956-1970.  After that the rectangular black label was used until the 1990′s which was then replaced with the rectangular silver tag.

To the untrained eye all Eames lounges look alike.  There are even some people who can’t tell the difference between an Eames and Plycraft lounge (or a knockoff for that matter…) WHICH IS CRAZY!  Vintage models are not all the same and going vintage is not for everyone.  There are pluses and minuses of going vintage. My advice would be at the end of the day is, do your research, be informed, be honest about what it is you want and what you are getting, because if you want something perfect and unblemished vintage may not be the route for you, but keep in mind the “value” may not be as much as an older one, unless you hold on to it for 50 more years. Just do yourself a favor and enjoy this chair.  There’s nothing worse than having furniture and not using it, being in fear of wearing it out…  ugh that’s the worst! use it, enjoy it, love it! I mean, c’mon there has got to be something said about a design that has not stopped being produced in 56 years.  This is THE CHAIR that was designed to sit (LIVE) in.