R.M Schindler


The early modernist Lechner House by R. M. Schindler was featured on the cover of last Sunday’s New York Times Style Magazine.  Restored by architect Pamela Shamshiri, who lives in it with her two children, it’s a modernist’s dream. I poured over the article, noting every wonderful detail and marveled at the extent to which Shamshiri had gone to restore and renew this Schindler masterpiece. In my research I found a video made to market the house prior to its restoration.  It shows that much of Schindler’s original design had been renovated out of existence. Hat’s off to Ms Shamshiri for having restored and thus saved a noteworthy work by an important early modernist.  Continue reading

Announcing Gio Ponti Fabrics at Good Design

Gio Ponti Fabrics by Tre80.

Gio Ponti Fabrics by Tre80.

It’s my pleasure to announce that the Gio Ponti printed textiles will be available at Good Design. We are introducing these fabrics during What’s New What’s Next. Currently being produced by Tre80 whose founder is Fede Grampa,their production is exclusively authorized by the Gio Ponti archives.  These printed textiles are the result of a collaboration between her father, Luigi Grampa and Gio Ponti in the 1950’s. Mr. Grampa’s company, Manufattura JSA, located in Busto Arsizio was one of the chief printed textile concerns in Italy. Ms. Grampa is honoring us with a presentation on Ponti and his relationship with JSA. It should prove to be a very personal glimpse into Mid-Century Italian design. Her talk will begin at 5:45 P.M. on September 22nd. Please register for What’s New What’s Next Here.




I Sniffed That Console

When I became a dealer, older dealers showed us newbies the art of hands-on inspection. This investigative work uses 4 of the 5 senses.

Recently, while examining a unique cabinet by a well known Italian maker at an auction preview, I became uncomfortable. An interior bank of drawers looked fishy. I seemed to smell.. solvent or stain? What really made me uncomfortable was the underside of the top. On all fours, head inside the case, looking up, I saw…particle board, and not old particle board..but brand spanking new particle board, totally inconsistent with what should have been there. That lot sold for $20,000.00 and upon inspection was obviously doctored.

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The Cradle of Italian Design

Unique Desk by Ico Parisi by Fratelli Rizzi, Capiago Intimiano, Italy 1958

Design books and magazine articles on the development of Italian Modernism and post war construction continuously champion the vital role played by Italy’s architects and larger manufacturers. As a result, the names of Ponti, Mollino, Albini, Ulrich, Mangiarotti, Frattini, Parisi, Sottsass, Scarpa, Cassina, Gavina are all very well known. Missing from the discourse however, are the many small producers, with whom architects collaborated to create the body of work which is now called Italian Moderism.

Commenting on what he saw at the 1951 Triennale, american architect, Dorwin Teague saw Italy’s craftsmanship as its greatest resource. These fine artisans were not the mere executors of the architects’ visions. Their knowledge of traditional craft and forms played an influential and important role in shaping the very look of Italian design. Continue reading