Deck Chair

00C36AA5-B7AF-4AA7-8F0C-727355965E31

As the Summer swelter continues, up goes an impassioned plea “Lead me to my deck chair!!”.

The humble deck chair ….Perhaps? Or the well travelled ship’s “deck chair” – if this linen and teak could talk imagine the gossip it holds – from a Golden Era of luxury transatlantic ocean liner travel. Or the End of The Pier, seagull serenaded, fish and chips frying, spearmint rock munching of Brighton, Cromer or Southend – the World’s longest.

Called a Lawn Chair in the US, the Deck Chair has an illustrious history. It was the victim of some on board snobbery. Around the turn of the 20th century, first class passengers would typically enjoy the padded loveliness of a “Steamer” deck chair -Port Out Starboard Home – their legs raised and clad in a woolen rug, invariably sipping broth, if the climate demanded, whilst more lowly passengers would enjoy their trip on a slung hammock canvas and teak deck chair that could be positioned to follow the sun around the deck and be folded for easy stowage.

EE329E8C-86A2-4D3B-9C0F-DFC2C88ED23D

The origins of the folding chair has its history in Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. More recently, patents were obtained in the 1880’s in the US and UK for the classic steamer chair. R Holman & Co of Boston (Mass) were the manufactures of the Steamer Deck Chairs that graced the deck of the SS Titanic. Of the 600 supplied only six survived – below is a shot of one.

9A24975B-8A81-4C10-84D8-4836B1A19F54

There is some debate as to the precise origins of the more rudimentary wooden framed version. Primarily it comprises two rectangualar wooden frames, hinged, with an adjustable back piece and a single length of canvas forming the seat and backrest. Some sources  attribute it to a British inventor, Atkins, in the late 19th Century whereas others credit its design to being similar to “The Yankee Hammock Chair” as advertised in 1882.  The name “Brighton Beach Chair” also seems to predate our currently understood use of “Deck Chair”.

4C9BC976-066D-4BFF-8188-82EC6742BCEE

In my Grandmother’s house in Hertfordshire – I think it was 1976 – she had a row of Edwardian faded green canvas chairs which not only had arms and a footrest but also a large sun canopy that flapped in whatever pathetic excuse for a breeze we had that summer. I recall that the covers perished quite frequently and the local nurseryman supplied rolls of 18” wide canvass to restring your chair. The look was completed by a white parasol, two Lloyd Loom chairs – see our previous post here – Lloyd Loom Chairs – and a bentwood table covered in a circular linen tablecloth with a jug of iced lemonade and tall glasses covered in weighted net – to avoid the flies.

Similar products are still made today by people such as Southsea Deckchairs Southsea Deckchairs

58A05AE3-C46B-4702-9A56-2F493F5FA404

Images used with grateful thanks – Southsea Dechairs and The V&A Museum

If you like this post please “Like” and share it with your friends and colleagues. We’d really like to hear of your experiences of the products/subjects featured in this post. please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks 

Advertisements

Antoni Gaudí

C76DFF6D-4018-4F59-B242-E2FE19409253

Living in Southern Europe I embrace a regular tendency to want to visit those national memorials celebrating the icons of local culture. One of the finest examples of this is the work of the Catalan Modernist architect, Antoni Gaudi. I am not talking solely about the trophy building, the outstanding and outrageous – if a little claustrophobic if you’ve ever tried to climb one of the spires – La Sagrada Família – but whilst magnificent there is much more to his wonderful work.

Gaudi’s place in the history of Architecture and his influence in a pantheon of modern art, including the likes of the fourteen year old Picasso, who moved to Barcelona in 1896 and into Gaudi’s circles, was immense. Gaudi’s work – much of which is now classed as World Heritage Sites stems from an era of the Renaixença (or Renaissance) in Barcelona of prosperity and vision. His work remains much appreciate by the likes of the writer Lorca and the artist, and fellow Catalan, Salvador Dali, as a vibrant legacy to this era.

Born 25 June 1852  the son, grandson and great-grandson of boiler workers from the Baix Camp (Catalonia). Growing up appreciating the fusion of copper and iron enabled Gaudi to claim that when he imagined in three dimensions, which became core to his fluid and evolutionary work. Indeed, he rarely created detailed plans preferring models of his proposed buildings. Similarly, he was enraptured by the perhaps conflicting mysteries of nature, especially that of his beloved Mediterranean coast, vegetarianism and his profound Roman Catholic faith.

After school, where he excelled in art, in 1868 Gaudi moved to Barcelona to study teaching followed by some time of compulsory military service which was punctuated by ill-heath. In 1878 Gaudi graduated from the Llotja School and the Barcelona Higher School of Architecture having funded his training by working as a draftsman to various notable but local architects.

Gaudí rise was meteoric. His first important commission was Manuel Vicens i Montaner, the Casa Vicens, a Moorish revival palace, which, after 130 years as private home, recently reopened to the public.

2D1ED763-9CDD-41FB-9CDD-318042E81A78

Over the subsequent thirty years his work and Barcelona were synonymous. The City changed, and under the patronage of Eusebi Güell, Count Güell – a Catalan industrialist – fine examples of Gaudi’s best work can be seen including:

The Parc Güell:

45CB076C-46BA-42E0-8955-90EE70F6D7D0

The Crypt at Colonia Güell

F4442BE3-03C5-4E26-8609-43CBEE279E59

Palau Güell

 

Casa Batlló – commissioned in 1904, by Josep Batlló, Gaudi’s task was to design and renovate this extraordinary property, to create a house like no other. Gaudi completed the project in 1906, becoming a masterpiece on Barcelona’s, Passeig de Gracia.

4D3E5750-C91C-49C5-857B-8AAF36664FE8

The Casa Milà commissioned in 1906 by Pere Milà – a developer – and his wife, Roser Segimon, the widow of a wealthy Indiano coffee plantation owner.

In 1883, at the age of 31 Gaudi was appointed to the Sagrada Família project, after original designer quit, becoming Architect Director in 1894. From 1915 until his death on 10th June 1926, following being struck by a tram at the age of 73, Gaudí focussed his entire creative energy on the development and construction of this amazing building.

See below a model of the finished Basilica. Please also see this amazing video compiled for the UK newspaper The Daily Mail highlighting what the Sagrada Familia will look like at completion – please click the link – Sagrada Familia – Completed

A8EC8661-7050-4F14-AFB1-DBB27F1393A6

Said to be the most important piece of Gothic architecture in Europe since the Middle Aged, Gaudi combined Gothic and Art Nouveau forms together in the Sagrada Familia with naturalistic and flowing details of plantlife and cleaver uses of light throughout.

37979E25-6C32-444B-9AE4-47FAE3DCAA06

I am also a massive fan of another Modernist Architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, about whom I posted on Aestheticons before, celebrating his body of iconic work – see here our previous post – Charles Rennie Mackintosh 

One of the few projects that Gaudi undertook away from Catalonia was the minaret-like country lodge – a fine example of his oriental influences – of El Capricho in Comillas (Cantabria, Northern Spain). It was built between 1883-85 as a summer home for a returning Indiano Maximo Diaz de Quijano (The Marquis of Comillas and Father in Law of Count Güell). Atypically for Gaudi’s work the stained glass, wood rafters and metal work are exemplary. The emblematic flowers, oriental and stylised ceramics look like they may have come straight from the pallet of Mackintosh. It’s thought that Gaudi and Mackintosh never met, though they died two years apart, but their naturalistic work replendent with great drama, vision and charm is firmly rooted in the same Modernist and Art Nouveau movements.

D962FDD4-D173-456F-8094-04CCFD89627F

Whilst we learn in Dan Brown’s excellent “Origin”, set almost exclusively in Gaudi’s Barcelona, that the Roman Catholic Church has not funded either Gaudi’s final resting place nor the building surrounding it, the Sagrada Família. The work on this fine building has been halted over the years whilst additional funds were collected. It is anticiapated that construction will be finally complete by 2026 to coincide with one hundredth anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

My hope is to have whetted your appetite to know more about Gaudi and his work. Two very useful resources are the following books, please click the Amazon link below the image in each case.

FDF3C7CD-31AA-4227-A1AA-765BBB5AB580

Antonio Gaudi: Master Architect

E2C292B9-A5CD-4AE9-96CA-7C5E00F66CE8

Gaudi: A Biography

Enjoy Dan Brown’s page-turner “Origin” by clicking the Amazon link below the image of the book 

E06CCA91-77EB-484B-B418-BF2916AAA1A3

Origin: (Robert Langdon Book 5)

STOP PRESS: 

In April 2019 it was reported, after a two year dispute, that the Sagrada Famila, which has seen over 139 years of construction and is visited annually by 4.5m, had now received its final planning permission from Barcelona’s City Hall!

Ironically, the City Hall only agreed to pass the final permission for the Basilica, provided that the Catholic Church, which owns the site in Central Barcelona and has spectacularly failed to contributed towards the development costs of the wonderful Basilica, paid €34m towards local community projects.

The predictions are that 2026 is still an achievable completion date for the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Status building.

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image Credits – with grateful thanks http://www.archdaily.com/Rory Stott, The Barcelona Tourist Association, The Gaudi Foundation and The Daily Mail

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

CRM Painting Tea Rooms

There can be few who have visited Glasgow and have failed to be impressed by enduring legacy of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 – 1928).  Evident in  locations around the city are the iconic result of his work as an architect, designer and artist.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born into a large middle class Glaswegian family. An able student, in 1890 he won the Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship to study ancient classic architecture. Thomson, an eminent Glaswegian architect, known for his stunning churches, his influence has been traced to places around the world including New York City and the works of Frank Lloyd Wright.

His first major architectural project, the Glasgow Herald Building (now known as The Lighthouse) was in 1899.

In 1913, having resigned from a previous partnership, Honeyman & Keppie, he attempted to open his own practice.

Given Glasgow’s heritage and reputation in international shipbuilding, various Japanese engineers were sent to be learn their trades in Scotland bringing with them oriental artefacts. Japanese art and culture caught Mackintosh’s imagination and influenced his style. He was fascinated by simple forms, natural materials, the use of texture and light and shadow.  Japanese arts, furniture and design particularly stressed the quality of the space. Combining an Asiatic influence with new warmer aspects of Modernism and Art Nouveau, that were then arriving from Europe, Mackintosh drew on and blended these influence with his upbringing and traditional Scottish architecture with stunning results.

The Glasgow School of Art sealed his reputation as an influential architect.

An extensive amount of his architectural detailing was almost certainly designed by his wife and fellow artist, Margaret MacDonald

CRM Glasow Art

His architectural output was small, but influential. He was commissioned by the publisher, Walter Blackie, to design Hill House in Helensburgh, to the west of Glasgow.  Blackie stipulated that the construction should include no bricks, plaster, wooden beams or a red-tiled roof.  He wanted grey rough cast walls and a slate roof but otherwise Mackintosh was given a free rein. Mackintosh spent time with the Blackie and his family so as to ensure that his design would suit the needs of the family.

CRM Hill House.jpg

CRM hill house 1

Mackintosh, his wife, her sister, Frances and his architectural colleague, Herbert MacNair, became known a “The Glasgow Four”. They exhibited widely in Glasgow, London and Vienna – influencing a number of contemporaries – and became leaders in the development of the “Glasgow Style” of the 1890’s.

CRM Glass.jpg

Mackintosh’s interior design work is particularly beautiful with the Willow Tea Room and the Ingram Street tea room (now demolished) both being fine examples.

CRM Tea Room

His fine and detailed work is also seen in his furniture, in addition to his signature ladder back chairs he and his wife designed glazed cabinets and screens.

CRM cabinet

Having become disillusioned with architecture, Mackintosh and his wife moved to the Suffolk village of Walberswick in 1941 and there continued to paint, particularly watercolours.

CRM flowers

In 1923 the couple moved to Port-Vendres in the South of France where their work as artists continued but sadly returned to London in 1927 when Charles was diagnosed with throat and tongue cancer.

CRM France

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks