Monday, July 21, 2014

Charlottenhof Palace, Sanssouci, by Schinkel

After my last post on Sanssouci many of you expressed your distaste for the Rococo. I thought I would share with you some photos sent to me by my Australian penpal of the neighboring neoclassical Charlottenhof Palace.
King Frederick William IV of Prussia shared this distaste and had the fantastic neoclassical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel renovate an existing farmhouse on the Sanssouci grounds into a staid palace for his family.
You may recognize this secretary and chairs designed by Schinkel from my earlier POST on the book on Potsdam.
The palace only recently reopened after a long restoration. Notice the chairs above -one with older caning and the other with brand new replacement (which will age and darken over time).
 I think designer Miles Redd would appreciate these red leather studded doors.
Notice the fixed transom panel above the open lower doors seen above so that the height visually matches the adjacent taller doors.
Let us not forget that things are rarely new....gallery walls might be trendy now but have been around for centuries!
 I love the gilt bands framing each separate wall plane - a technique designer David Hicks was fond of using amongst others.
To my eye having such a luxurious gilt bedframe with staid religious iconography is odd but fitting.
Notice the jib door hidden in the green fabric lining the walls to the left of the photo above; Service door or perhaps a bathroom of sorts?
The silver leafed door is stunning. Designers were matching silver and gold 2 centuries ago!
 The reading chair above would have been a comfortable place to sit each evening.
 This beautiful collection of green glass would be one I would love to bring home with me!
A tented bedroom with simple striped fabric makes a big statement.
While the rest of the structure is simple as shown the entryway was still designed to impress. This was the palace of a king afterall!
I hope you enjoyed this rare look into Charlottenhof Palace in the Sanssouci gardens!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sanssouci details

While summertime 'downtime' (obviously) continues on this blog I thought I'd share some images my Australian penpal was nice enough to share with me of Sanssouci.
 I've blogged about the rococo palace in the past (here and here) and it never gets old.
 While this style may not interest you the attention to detail cannot fail to impress.
 This collection of porcelain on gilded brackets above reminded me of Howard Slatkin's NYC apartment.
 Notice the very successful jib door (closed) to the left of the chairs in the guest room above.
The chairs have a very modern looking ikat type fabric. Many of the fabrics and wallpapers were recently replaced by a company in Lyon.
 I especially love the blue version. Notice the matching curtains.
 Here you see the same fabric in green to match a green guestroom.
 The marquetry work in this small cabinet is amazing. These side chairs sport a more expected silk damask.
My favorite room at Sanssoci, as I've said in previous posts, is surely the Voltaire guest room which he inhabited for a time.
 The polychromed boiserie are so fun and cheerful.
 Birds and fruits sit next to monkeys and parrots - could it be more whimsical?
 Notice the very modern looking grotto-esque icicles at the top of the mirror.
 The parrots almost look entirely free standing on their brackets.
 The wallpapers are also a riot of pattern and color.
Notice the intriguing electrical switch below which blends right into the paper. Of course in the 18th century they wouldn't have had any switches so it's nice to hide them.
 Again with the modern fabrics, doesn't this fabric below remind you of something from the 1950s?
I hope you enjoy these delicious detail shots of Sanssoci Palace!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Charles M Schulz Museum

While many readers of ArchitectDesign probably think I'm a boring, dry architect, I do have my whimsical side which comes out now and again on the blog. While in California last month I made sure to visit the Charles M Shulz Museum in Santa Rosa.
Designed by C. David Robinson architects, the post-modern building expresses this whimsy through its design. Charles Schulz himself was involved with the design before his death.
In the nearby separate gift shop building are a number of exhibits, one of which was an exact Lego replica of the museum. Compare the 2 photos above, the likeness is amazing!
The gift shop itself is worth a visit.
Located between the museum and the gift shop is a whimsical hockey rink and Warm Puppy Cafe which Charles Schulz would visit everyday and still in operation.
 The black and white facade of the museum echoes the cartoons made famous by Schulz.
Life-size statues of snoopy and the gang are littered around the grounds.
Charles Schulz's office where he drew decades worth of his cartoons was installed piece by piece into the 2nd floor of the museum; a period piece if you ever saw one!
 The colors throughout the museum echo the cartoon strips.
Artworks based on the Peanuts series are to be found throughout the museum as well as many of the original cartoons and stories behind them.
 I loved this 'Snoopy' version of the famous Knoll Bertoia chair.
The 'backyard' is a playful place to rest and enjoy the weather. One of my favorite pieces in the museum wasn't connected with the comic strip at all but rather was a wall mural Schulz created for his daughter early in his career which the current homeowners donated to the museum.
Any visit to northern California isn't complete without a stop to the Charles M Schulz museum in Santa Rosa; it will be sure to put a smile on your face!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

One of my favorite architectural monuments anywhere is the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. I find myself visiting this location every time I'm in the city.
Built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition the structure was intended to only be temporary.
However it proved to be so popular it was left standing long after the exposition thanks to Phoebe Hearst.
By 1965 the 'temporary' nature of the materials was evident and the palace was in ruins. It was torn down and rebuilt of steel and lightweight concrete. Later still it was reinforced for earthquakes.
Originally designed by local architect Bernard Maybeck the structure is a fantasy of Greek and Roman architecture.
 I've always wondered what these women statues were looking at!
 The detail work is still crisp and beautiful.
Notice the scale: it's so immense that people look like ants and barely show up in photographs! As always you can click on the photos to view them larger.
I wish these stepped planters were in use -it would look phenomenal with creeping vines, boxwood, rosebushes, etc.
You probably recognize the Palace of Fine Arts from numerous fashion shoots and advertisements.  I remember a lot of car advertisements from the 70s and 80s.
 The interior of the dome is no less grand.
Again notice the scale of the urns -the door to the lower right hand corner above is probably 7'-0" tall and has a transom over it.
The Palace of Fine Arts sits in the Marina district -a residential neighborhood. Those are some lucky houses with quite the view!
We were lucky to have a gorgeous day to wander around the marina and the Palace of Fine Arts.  It's rather remote away from other touristy areas so never seems to be too crowded in my limited experience.
If you find yourself in San Francisco make sure to visit the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District, you won't regret it!