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April 12, 2014

Flower Power

The Art of Ikebana is Showcased at Tokyo’s Sogetsu School to Launch Modern Design Review

Ikebana expresses not only the beauty of flowers,” says the Sogetsu School's Eikou Sumura, who here demonstrates the revered Japanese art of flower arranging. “It also brings out the essential brilliance and vitality contained in every plant.” Tokyo's Sogetsu School is renowned for its contemporary outlook to ikebana, making strikingly balanced displays using branches, blossom, leaves and synthetic materials. To celebrate the inaugural issue of new magazine Modern Design Review, which launches this week during Salone Internationale del Mobile in Milan, director Matthew Donaldson traveled to the renowned institution to capture ikebana in action. The youngest school of its kind in Japan, Sogetsu has done much to open up this beautiful and under-explored discipline to the outside world. Its founding Iemoto [master] Sofu Teshigahara—dubbed the “Picasso of flowers” by Time magazine—was just 27 years old when he founded the school as means of creative expression, and the institution he started reflects his interdisciplinary attitude. The Kenzo Tange-built school features a beautiful stone garden from artist and designer Isamu Noguchi in its atrium, and continues to make evocative floral forms.

Modern Design Review is available now.

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Spotlight

Maria Pergay: Place des Vosges

The Immutable Paris Designer Opens Up About Her Steel-Built Salon

From a 17th-century perch on the re-glamorized Place des Vosges in Paris, hip-again furniture designer Maria Pergay briefs filmmaker Pamela Hanson on why her seductive 70s metal minimalism feels so at home on the parquet. Pergay, who occupies a rarefied niche between interiors and contemporary art, began as a window dresser for couturiers and has designed limited-edition furniture and commissioned decor since the 60s. Both her new and early pieces remain in demand, and she is being recognized this year with a Légion d’honneur. To celebrate the 55th anniversary of her career, Pergay co-organized a retrospective in the French capital with galleries Demisch Danant (New York) and JGM (Paris), where she arranged a sampling of work from the past five decades into one living environment. The sculptural cabinets, seats and side tables reveal the designer's ability to revitalize traditional boiserie with highly polished metalwork that folds back like the exquisite leaves of a “jardin sécret.” Turning her camera towards the decorative details of the showroom, Hanson flips us through a catalog of Pergay’s most recent collection, while the artist shares what inspires her with gallerist Suzanne Demisch.


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Spotlight

Richard Meier x Massimo Vignelli

On the Edge of Modernism With the Master Architect and the Genius Designer

Illustrious modernist Richard Meier and multi-disciplinary creator Massimo Vignelli reflect on their respective crafts, city life, and enduring friendship in this mesmeric film by Johnnie Shand Kydd. Shot at the minimalist offices of Richard Meier & Partners on 10th Avenue and West 36th Street, the two powerhouses discuss their collaboration on the firm’s forthcoming monograph, Richard Meier, Architect Volume 6, chronicling the stark, white, rationalist buildings that define the firm’s aesthetic. The Pritzker Prize laureate's most notable projects include the Getty Center in L.A., the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, and more recently, the two glass-and-steel towers on Perry Street in New York’s West Village that Martha Stewart, Ian Schrager, Calvin Klein, and Nicole Kidman have all called home. Vignelli, too, has left a significant mark on Manhattan, having famously designed the New York subway map and signage, in addition to working on everything from packaging and furniture design to corporate identities for clients like BMW, Barney’s, Xerox and American Airlines. “Architects need to have a certain arrogance, a sense of self-belief,” posits Shand Kydd. “A designer, however, has to be more collaborative. Consequently, Meier and Vignelli have very different natures, but like all very talented people, they both look forward and not back.” Here Meier nonetheless looks to his present city, and beyond, to reveal his select few architectural necessities.

RICHARD MEIER’S TOP FIVES

Favorite buildings around the world:
Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp
Le Thoronet Abbey in Provence
Ryōan-ji in Kyoto
Fatehpur Sikri in Agra
The Guggenheim Museum in New York City

Favorite spaces in New York:
The plaza at the Seagram Building
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Central Park
The Guggenheim Museum
My apartment

Things every architect should own:
A good supply of General’s Draughting Pencils
A Keuffel & Esser ruler
A 9 - 8 1/2 ft long work table
A white shirt and a black suit
A black Porsche 911

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