Q + A with Tom Blachford
With just two sleeps to go until our next exhibition opens, we caught up with Tom for a chat about the making of Midnight Modern.
Tom photographed by his girlfriend Kate Ballis out the front of the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs.
Tom Blachford's new series of works captures California's famous mid-century modernist homes under the midnight glow of a super moon. The journey from one late-night discovery to a finished series has involved two trips to Palm Springs, quite a few late-night scouting missions and some amazing street light serendipity.
1030 West Cielo Drive. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern.
When I think of Palm Springs, I think of harsh, bright sunlight. What made you choose to photograph these houses in the dead of night? Do you think the idea to shoot this way would have occurred to you in your hometown of Melbourne?
These houses have been around for 60 to 70 years and I imagined they had been photographed from every angle thousands of times. We were also pushed for time to see everything so we needed to squeeze in some shooting and exploring after a dinner one night. I guess that's how it originally came about. We lucked out and noticed it was a full moon and I thought it might be interesting to see how they looked under the moonlight.
After seeing the first few images I was hooked. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when the first image appeared on the screen after the 30-second wait. After experimenting with a few houses I found that the only shots that would work were when all the lights were off, except for perhaps one lamp inside the house. Curiously, all the older palm springs suburbs have no street lights, which also helped.
1133 N Vista Vespero. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern.
What led you to making this collection of images? At what point did you realise you were working on a series?
I absolutely love the mid-century tract houses, and admiring them during the day on our first trip I was struggling to capture them in a way that felt unique. On the first trip I shot about six images and we were exhausted so we headed home. Returning to Melbourne I looked at them over and over and kicked myself for not staying up to shoot more. I knew I had to return so we (my girlfriend and I) checked out the dates of the moon and found there would be the first of three super moons for this year in July. We planned our trip around being there for the moon with a couple of days to scout beforehand and a few days to relax by the pool afterwards!
The sparseness of these images can lead the viewer to imagine their own narrative. Is there a feeling that you’re catching these houses when they are recharging, or in between scenes?
I love to imagine what is going on behind closed doors. These images of the houses raise so many questions and possibilities for stories. Even better is the thought of the scenes that have already played out behind these doors in their 60-plus years of existence. Every time I look at them I like to imagine something different going on behind the breeze-bricks.
879 N Monte Vista. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern.
How important is the physical scale of these works?
I wanted to recreate these homes as large as I could possibly print whilst maintaining quality – but also hoped that I could give them a diorama effect by shrinking them into little boxes on the wall. There are a couple of images that I swear could be doll houses with little painted mountains behind. Even when I’m standing in front of them sometimes I swear those mountains are a painted backdrop – the slight haze over them makes them look so unreal.
What initially attracted you to photography? What attracts you to it now?
I’m obsessed with the way the camera is able to warp both time and perspective to capture the world in ways I was never able to see with my eyes.
This series is very much a renaissance for me. I initially fell in love with photography when I was playing around with long exposures and light painting. The first time the shutter closed and I saw a streak of light painted across the image I was hooked. I played around with it for a couple of years very early on but left it behind to explore other techniques and complete commercial jobs that weren’t interested in such magic. It was amazing to be back out in the darkness and using long exposure to create work again.
What kinds of images are you interested in making next?
I’m not sure what my next series is. I would definitely like to work with the moonlight again, potentially explore a new style of architecture - and I guess, in turn, a different unspoken narrative. I love the stilt houses of northern Australia and I have a fascination with the littered lawns of the suburbs in our urban sprawl. I might try to work up the courage to shoot four hours a month under the full moon somewhere a little closer to home.
I also became obsessed with shooting from a helicopter earlier this year and I'm hoping to get up a few more times over summer to put together some more shots in my Aerial Summer series.
MEET TOM AND CHECK OUT HIS INCREDIBLE LARGE-SCALE WORKS AT THE EXHIBITION OPENING THIS THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, 6-8pm.
Midnight Modern – Tom Blachford
Today we announce our last exhibition for the calendar this year. On October 2nd we will unveil a collection of incredible images of iconic Palm Springs architecture taken by Melbourne photographer Tom Blachford, under the light of a super moon!
Tom's dark and dramatic photography series Midnight Modern is a big departure from our usual bright and illustrative offering. When I first saw Tom’s evocative depictions of mid-century Palm Springs architecture, I imagined sitting back in a Falcon Chair, admiring his spectacular Edris house image looming large over a Hans Wegner sideboard! I can't wait to see these haunting, modernist streetscapes exhibited in store alongside vintage pieces from the same period.
925 Crescent Drive. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern.
In this new series, Tom set out to explore "the relationship between the moonlight, the forms of the houses and mountains as a backdrop." Shot over two separate trips to Palm Springs (the second timed to coincide with the super moon) the photographs suspend California's famous mid-century homes in an eerie half-light. Deepened by shadows and dashed with stars, each image represents a 30-second exposure. The results appear both deserted and uneasy. (These buildings might be iconic, but in 'Midnight Modern' they seem to sit outside of time.)
877 Via Las Palmas. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern
Tom's images go far beyond everyday architectural photography. The images resonate with the balmy night heat of Palm Springs and I find myself wondering who lives in these houses and what goes on behind those closed doors? The works make a fantastic statement, framed impeccably by United Measures and presented at large scale (around A0).
872 N Coronet Circle. Photograph by Tom Blachford for his exhibition Midnight Modern
As you can probably imagine, a midnight/moonlit shoot halfway across the world isn't easy. From historical research and home-scouting missions to last-minute cloud-cover dramas, there are some fantastic stories behind these works. Feel free to barrage Tom with questions at the opening from 6pm on Thursday 2nd October. We hope you can join us!
To receive a catalogue of works and pricelist prior to the opening please email me email@example.com
The Midnight Modern series will be available for sale on our website from 2nd October.
Opens 6-8pm, Thursday 2nd October. Sponsored by Coopers.
Exhibition dates 2nd – 19th October
Art, Modern Times News
Lisa Lapointe – Interview
With the opening this week of Sydney-based artist Lisa Lapointe's first solo Melbourne show, Behind The Sun, we're getting a little bit excited about seeing her large-scale, original pencil works up close.
In her own words, Lisa's drawings are "chaotic yet serene". They combine the primitive with the futuristic through bold colours, strong graphic elements and mythological references. Ahead of this Thursday, we asked her a few questions about her meticulous, labour-intensive process – and the Shamanistic stories that have inspired this particular series.
Sydney artist Lisa Lapointe's first exhibition in Melbourne opens this Thursday August 14.
How did you begin your journey as an artist – and what attracted you to drawing particularly?
My father tells me I was always an artist – that out of his six children I was the only one who always knew what I wanted to be "when i grew up". I was always furiously making and creating when I was a child, and would sit for hours on end on my projects – no time to go to the bathroom – no time to eat. After school I formally studied and did a bachelor of fine arts degree majoring in painting at CoFA, UNSW. I predominantly experimented with textiles, jewellery (and obviously paint) but it wasn't until much later that I discovered the pencil.
Soothsayer by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1140mm x 770mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun
Can you explain a little about your process? (Do you experiment with materials other than pencil? Do you set which colours you will use before you begin, or do you change them as you draw if your mood or reaction to the work changes?)
I am currently very dedicated to the pencil. I imagine myself exploring other mediums in the future, but not for a while. I do small scale mock-ups of my drawings in colour – these sometimes go exactly to plan or change – I intuitively feel them and know straight away if a colour isn't going to work out.
Lisa at work in her Sydney studio.
The largest work in this show is almost two metres wide - how long does it take to hand-colour a piece this size?
Anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks – it all depends on the drawing – some are harder than others.
Lisa's labour intensive technique with colour pencil creates dramatic results.
What are some of the inspirations for the body of work you'll be exhibiting in Behind The Sun? Can you introduce us to some of the themes in the show?
I am most inspired by spiritual, religious and indigenous mythologies. I reference and explore the meanings behind these themes. I'm currently particularly interested in Shamanism, which is evident in many of my works, particularly the 'Panther', 'Hara', 'Owl', 'Valley of the Serpent' and 'Cajoling the Moon'. I focus on creating images of power and encourage the viewer to dream forward – into the future – not backward into the past.
Cajoling The Moon by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1140mm x 1050mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun
Can you tell us a little more about the elements of Shamanistic folklore featured in the works?
The key themes I currently draw from Shamanism are healing, power and dreaming – ultimately our connection to spirit. I am particularly drawn to the connection Shamanism has with nature and the earth. How plants can be great healers and animals powerful guides. I like the idea of a Shaman being able to mend the soul with this great knowledge. The ability to read one's environment and understand one's ailments or discord through these signs and symbols.
Owl by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1050 x 770mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun
What's next? Since focusing on your art practice full-time, have you worked on any textile or fashion collaborations or are you focussing primarily on your 2D work?
I will be doing an artist in residency in St Leonards, Sydney with Brand X as soon as I return from Melbourne. I will use this time to do another show – this time in Sydney. But I have no collaborations on the cards as yet…
MEET LISA AND CHECK OUT HER INCREDIBLE WORKS AT THE EXHIBITION OPENING THIS THURSDAY 14 AUGUST, 6-8pm.
Modern Times News, Art
Behind The Sun – Lisa Lapointe
We are very excited to announce our upcoming exhibition Behind The Sun, a collection of new drawings by Sydney-based artist Lisa Lapointe.
Opening on Thursday 14th August, this will be Lisa's first solo show in Melbourne—although you may be familiar with her amazing work thanks to her Instagram feed. You might also have seen her range of digital art prints we've had in the shop over recent months.
Maji, original pencil on paper by Lisa Lapointe (1700mm x 1140). The largest work to be exhibited at our forthcoming exhibition Behind The Sun. This spectacular work measures almost two metres across. Phenomenal!
While Lisa's work translates beautifully in her digital prints, I've been keen to get my hands on some of her originals which can measure up to almost two metres wide! Her original drawings reveal a fascinating, labour-intensive technique in which rich pigment is built up with fine measured pencil strokes, saturating the paper from edge to edge.
Lisa's labour-intensive technique uses coloured pencil to spectacular effect in her large scale drawings.
This meticulous process combined with Lisa's bold sense of design allows her to produce works that make strong graphic statements while also being full of texture and nuance. As she says, the results are "chaotic yet serene".
Panther by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1100mm x 900mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun.
Drawing upon spiritual, religious and tribal iconography for her subject matter, her drawings have an obvious connection with the primitive, but this is contrasted with a futuristic colour palette. Describing the works she's made for Behind The Sun, Lisa told us, "I am currently particularly interested in shamanism, which is evident in many of my works, particularly the "panther", "hara", "owl", "valley of the serpent" and "cajoling the moon". I focus on creating images of power and encourage the viewer to dream forward - into the future - not backward into the past."
Valley Of The Serpent by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1400mm x 1050). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun.
Since graduating from a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at CoFA, UNSW in 2002, Lisa has worked in the worlds of fashion and interiors—with labels and designers including Orson and Blake, Ksubi, Mark Tuckey, Pamela Makin and Romance Was Born. As of last December, she decided to focus on her art practice full time.
We’d love all of you to join us in celebrating the opening of Behind The Sun from 6pm on Thursday 14th August—with some delicious drops kindly supplied by McPherson Wines. Thanks guys!
Behind The Sun
Opening 6–8pm, Thursday 14th August
Exhibition dates 14th – 31st August
Modern Times News, Art
Fred Wins Vivid
Who's Fred? He's a table designed by Adam Markowitz exclusively for Modern Times. We've been really excited to collaborate with Adam, having closely followed his Markowitzdesign studio projects since he returned from studying at the Royal Academy, Copenhagen.
The beautiful detail and joinery which attracted the judges attention at VIVID
With his practice now based in Melbourne, Adam continues to focus on "the intimate connection between design and fabrication," looking at the intersection between modern digital processes and traditional craftsmanship. He describes Fred as "a mongrel. A cross-breed." In fact, Fred is named after one of the Children of Princess Mary (who originates from Adam's spiritual home state of Tasmania) and Prince Frederik of Denmark. In short, he's "a royal of mixed blood."
We asked Adam to tell us some more about the inspiration behind the piece:
"We decided that a table would be our first collaborative project, as it can be visually striking whilst being of reasonably straight-forward construction. I set about designing something that was at once evocative of the training I had recently received whilst studying at the Royal Academy in Denmark - I had the ghost of my Danish professor in my ear: "What is this piece for? What is it doing? Can you take it away?". However while I wanted it to feel at home amongst Modern Times's mid-century pieces, I also wanted to introduce elements that were more contemporary - stronger lines, more assertive angles - and a celebration of joinery and materials that is more reminiscent of my time at the furniture school in Hobart."
Fred's award was presented yesterday by Jan Henderson, co-editor at (inside) magazine. The judges described him as
"quite elegant and sophisticated with very fine detail. The Fred table celebrates the beauty of natural, sustainably sourced Australian timber (Tasmanian Oak and Jarrah) combined with a modern and classic Danish design"
NGV Visit! Mid-Century Modern: Australian Furniture Design
One recent frosty morning we cranked up the coffee maker, logged into our email and found an invitation to the opening of Mid-Century Modern at NGV Australia. A great start to the day! It's also a great exhibition – the first major survey show dedicated to Australian furniture design of the post-war years. As well as a fascinating overview of the materials and manufacturing systems that shaped Australia's take on modernism, it pulls together rare pieces and sketches that reveal the working processes of key designers including Grant Featherston, Douglas Snelling, Fred Lowen and Clement Meadmore.
Modern Times-er Penny Rogers went along to the opening and brought us back this photo diary. Thanks Penny!
The first pieces you see when you walk into the exhibition are these Douglas Snelling chairs, designed in 1946. They were part of the first collection of modern furniture to be mass-produced in Australia. The webbing was actually made from the same synthetic used in the production of parachutes during the war.
There are some fascinating publications on display throughout the gallery. This spread shows the Snelling Line armchairs in situ. Their use as indoor/outdoor furniture reminds me of the Børge Mogensen Spanish Chair, which has a similar feel and works well in both contexts (provided it's given some protection of course!).
This piece by Fred Ward noticeably has more of an old-world style to it. I think the simple hardwood detailing is really beautiful. Suitably called the 'Blueprint' chair, this 1950 design evolved from the Patterncraft range, which was developed for soldiers returning from war (who usually blew a huge chunk of their money straight away on a house and car, leaving little left for furniture). You ordered the blueprints and parts and assembled the chairs at home.
This display shows the Corded Armchair, 1952, designed by Clement Meadmore (left) and the Cane-metal Chair, 1954, designed by Grant Featherston (right). To me the appeal of these chairs is all about the combination of materials – woven cotton cord and natural cane against and the hard black lines of the steel frames.
Here's the Corded armchair displayed with its matching table. These were some of the first pieces produced as part of the 'Meadmore Originals' range, after Clement Meadmore founded his manufacturing company in 1952. The cotton cord was actually also used in the manufacture of Venetian blinds.
Grant Featherston is easily the most recognised Australian furniture designer. He certainly was very popular and prolific. There's naturally a lot of his work featured in the exhibition – along with advertisements and early sketches, which give a really well-rounded impression of his work, concepts and process. The Australian Home Beautiful spread above shows the sheets of bent plywood that formed the basis of his iconic Contour chair.
The Contour chair was Featherston's most popular and celebrated design, and it's nice to see it alongside some rarer pieces from his Contour range to get an idea of the scope of his work.
The exhibition is so well considered. I think it's lovely that the early development stages of the design process are shown so you can see the humble beginnings of each piece, as in Featherston's sketches above.
Above are two displays featuring Featherston's 'Television' chair, from his Contour range. This design was released three years before TV actually arrived in Australian homes, which shows the anticipation people felt about the idea of 'televiewing'.
The exhibition also includes some great TV advertisements showing how the Contour Chair was moulded and designed. I tried to find this on Youtube and failed – a great reason to pop into the exhibition to see it for yourself!
I was so into this 'Colourflex' paint. If they still produced something similar now I'd be all over it!
It was interesting to see the different paint and textile colours that were in fashion at the time. Below is an interiors shoot from the 1950s that features a lot of the colour palette shown above.
This one was just so cute and textural that I had to take a photo! Little did I know that it's actually a covered version of the Kone chair, designed by Roger Mclay in 1948. Originally this chair was only available in plywood, and the design features a small cut-out hole through the bottom, but that didn't appeal to everyone so they made these little covers.
These were two of my favourite pieces in the exhibition. The chair is actually by Grant Featherston, although it differs from his other signature works in the Contour range. It's actually the prototype for his 'Wire' chair, designed in 1963. It's rather pared-back, using only painted steel piping. Next to it is a stunning coffee table by Clement Meadmore, who typically used a lot of steel piping for his furniture. This 1959 design is so striking, and the table seems to morph and change at different angles and view points.
Mid-Century Modern: Australian Furniture Design will be on show at Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia until 19 October, with floor talks happening in July, August, September and October. Definitely check out the associated publication, too. It's edited by the exhibition's curator Kirsty Grant and includes beautiful photographs of more than 100 iconic Australian mid-century pieces.
Huge Warehouse SALE This Weekend!
We'd love to see you at our warehouse sale this weekend. We are clearing a whole range of fantastic pieces to make way for new stock. Browse our 500sq metre warehouse and you will find lots of bargains on both restored and unrestored items.
Loads of Danish Leather Sofas $950 - $1500
Teak Chests $400 - $600
Extendable Dining Tables $800 - $1200
Coffee Tables from $350 - $650
Dining Chairs from $90 - $300
and more including desks, armchairs, bureaus, side tables and homewares...
See you at our warehouse, just up the road from our store at 466 Smith St, Collingwood.
Modern Times News
Delving Deeper into Dutch Design
This month at Modern Times – and here on the blog – we're deep into an exploration of mid-century Dutch design. Researching the period and pulling together a range of pieces for the in-store exhibition has been a fascinating project. One of the first things you notice when you see them all together is a quite austere, industrial take on modernism that's very different from the hand-crafted Scandinavian style of the same era.
If you're interested in learning more, Perimeter Books in Thornbury stocks Yvonne Brentjens's 2013 monograph Friso Kramer's Chair.
At the heart of all this was a designer named Friso Kramer – and his ground breaking 'Revolt' chair. Friso avoided the limelight (or it avoided him) in the late 20th century, but in recent years he's been credited as the originator of the pared-back, utilitarian approach that came to define Dutch mid-century design.
You may not have sat in a Revolt chair, but there's probably no Dutch person who hasn't. Designed for furniture manufacturer Ahrend in 1953, the Revolt caused a stir at the Milan Triennale the following year, and was soon seen everywhere in Holland's schools, offices and homes. Now 92, Friso explains the thinking behind his chair's unique folded steel frame in this mini-doco about Ahrend's designers, past and present.
It wasn't just new industrial technology that inspired the Revolt. Dutch mid-century modernism developed from the pre-war De Stijl movement (read more in our blog post here!) and there's a link to that influence in the work of Kramer's friend and fellow 'Goed Wonen' (Good Living) foundation member Wim Rietveld.
Wim was the son of architect and designer Gerrit Thomas Rietveld – a major exponent of the De Stijl school, probably most famous for his Mondrian-inspired Red and Blue Chair. Wim worked with Kramer at Ahrend, designing the Result Chair in 1958 (which is sometimes credited to them both and sometimes to Rietveld alone). Pictured below left, the Result honed the production process that was pioneered in the Revolt, with sharper angles and more harmonious arcs.
Wim Rietveld and Friso Kramer's Result Chair, 1958 | Industrial Chair produced by Marko, Holland in 1964.
Rietveld and Kramer's work inspired plenty of design responses across the Netherlands. Produced by Dutch manufacturer Marko in 1964, the Industrial Chair pictured above right features the same bent steel and a sharper take on the compass point legs – a nod to French designer Jean Prouvé. You can also see those Prouvé angles at work in Rietveld and Kramer's Reply Table below, which went on to win the prestigious Brussels design award Le Signe d'Or.
The key designers of the period didn't work for single manufacturers. Rietveld designed his Model 415/1401 Armchair (below) for the Culemborg-based company Gispen. In this early example you can see the tubular steel, bakelite armrests and original red wool upholstery. Manufacturers tended to update fabrication methods and designs over the decades, which is why it's best to look to the original products to see the designers' intentions.
Pair of Model 415/1401 Armchairs designed by Wim Rietveld for Gispen in 1954.
Most Dutch school and office chairs of the period used the same distinctive West German Pagholz pressed plywood – often featuring a single moulded piece, as seen in the S22 Industrial Chair below left, manufactured by Galvanitas, Holland in 1967.
The beauty of Dutch mid-century modernism lies in its simple harmony and economy of form. It's a seriously minimal and functional style that has reached wider prominence only recently. In fact, if anyone feels like a holiday from Smith Street, Friso Kramer recently donated his whole design archive to RKD (Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie / Netherlands Institute for Art History) and you can visit it in The Hague.
Friso Kramer at work designing for Ahrend in the early 1950s. Photograph by Carel Blazer.
If you can't splash out on a European excursion, visit us in the shop before the end of May to test an industrial chair for yourself – or find some ideas for injecting your home studio with a little mid-century Dutch practicality.
As Friso says, "You may design a beautiful chair, but put six around a table and something starts to happen. You say, 'It's too much this or that'. So you have to remove the irritation you will develop over time."
Dutch Design Focus
This month for our 'Dutch Design Focus' we have brought to you a selection of Dutch modernist furniture from the most renowned Dutch designers and manufacturers. Below is a 70s reproduction of the famous Red/Blue Chair designed by architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld as part of the 'De Stijl' movement (surprisingly in 1917!). The rigorous use of straight, horizontal and vertical lines, geometry and primary colours served as an inspiration for many mid-century Dutch designers.
Click the links below for more information.
Dutch Industrial School Chair produced by Marko, 1964. | Teak Desk by Cees Braakman for Pastoe, Netherlands. | Small Raak Table Lamp by Raak, Amsterdam. | Dutch Cane Magazine Rack. | Amethyst digital print by Liesl Pfeffer.
Dutch Industrial School Chairs produced by Marko, 1964.
For more information on the history and origins of Dutch furniture design we have written a blog post here that outlines the major influences, designers and manufacturers of the time.
Modern Times Is Going Dutch
This month Modern Times presents a focus on Dutch mid-century furniture. Inspired by our European counterparts, we will be presenting a collection of furniture in a format which treads the line between retail display and exhibition. Our Dutch Design Focus will launch this Thursday May 1.
Dutch mid-century furniture is not as well known in Australia as Danish furniture of the same period but we have observed a growing interest in this period of design in Europe and are proud to be the first Australian dealer to present an extensive range of pieces.
Read on to learn more about this period in European design...
When thinking of Dutch mid-century furniture, one might be inclined to imagine a variation on Danish mid-century furniture where the focus was on beautiful natural materials and hand finishing. In fact, Dutch design of this same period is quite the opposite! Whilst it is wholly informed by the same modernist principals that guided the Danes (read an earlier blog post about this!), the Dutch interpretation resulted in a style far more austere and industrial.
Two examples of chairs which both satisfy the criteria of modernist design – ornament is stripped back, form is dictated by function, the materials are honest and the lines are neat and clean. However the left is Danish designer Borge Mogensen's Spanish Chair (1959) which emphasises natural materials and hand craftsmanship and on the right is Dutch designer Wim Rietveld's Model 415/1401 Armchair (1954) which uses industrial processes and materials such as tubular steel and bakelite.
Dutch mid-century furniture design emerged out of the Dutch De Stijl movement (1917-1931) which dictated using only primary colours and non-colours, squares and rectangles, straight and horizontal or vertical lines.
Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, Piet Mondrian, 1930 | Red Blue Chair, Gerrit Rietveld, 1917. The artist Piet Mondrian and architect Gerrit Rietveld produced archetypical works of the De Stijl movement.
Whilst creativity with a more artistic and decorative focus had prevailed previously, the post-war period in Holland saw designers drive a huge push to develop industrial design in the country.
In the early 1950s members of the ‘Goed Wonen’ (Good Living) foundation became an influential force with their aim to reinstate the prewar quality of life and create a new authentic style and a new identity for the country. A leading member of this group in the 1950s was Friso Kramer and at the Milan Triennale in 1954 one of the most famous and collectable Dutch furniture designs came to prominence – Friso Kramer’s Revolt Chair.
Left: Friso Kramer’s ‘Revoltstoel’ saw the first use of U-shaped steel tubes which was cheaper than tubular steel and could be used in more creative ways. This material became a favourite of the Dutch mid-century furniture designers.
Right: This chair manufactured by Marko is clearly influenced by Friso Kramers Revolt Chair. This chairs and a number of other interpretations by other Dutch designers and manufacturers will be part of our Dutch Design Focus.
The focus at the time was very much on ‘industrial design’ with designers working closely with manufacturers. Knowing they were experienced with industrial materials, the designers favoured bent and tubular metal, painted steel, compressed plywood and modern plastics.
Left: Globe D-2000 Floor lamp designed by Frank Ligtelijn (1960), manufactured by Raak, Amsterdam. Right: Very rare wall mountable coat rack designed by Cohen De Vries (1958), manufactured by Devo. Two fabulous pieces which will be presented as part of our Dutch Design Focus, both representative of the Dutch mid-century style.
Other designers of the period that are highly revered for their contribution to Dutch Modernism are Cees Braakman, Kho Liang le, Andre Cordemeijer and Wim Rietveld – son of pioneering modernist Gerrit Rietveld.
Well known manufacturers of the period are De Cirkel, Pastoe, Marko, Spectrum, Gispen, Auping and Tomado. Examples from all these manufacturers and designers will be on display and available for purchase during our Focus On Dutch Design.
Cleopatra Daybed designed by Dick Cordemeijer (1953), manufactured by Auping. Another iconic piece which will be available.
We will be launching our Focus On Dutch Design this Thursday May 1. We look forward to you visiting and possibly even sending you home with your own piece of European mid-century design history.
Peaches + Keen - Botanical Calamity Opening Night
Thanks so much to everyone who joined us for the opening night of Peaches + Keen 'Botanical Calamity'. There was a fantastic turn out and Lucy and Lily from P+K were all smiles. The floral arrangements kindly donated by Phil from Katie Marx Flowers looked stunning (we highly recommend you check out his instagram afloralfrenzy) and the artwork and atmosphere left everyone gleaming. If you didn't manage to make it you must come in and view their new works which will be up until Sunday the 6th of April.
The photos from the night below:
Modern Times News
Botanical Calamity - Peaches+Keen
We have another exciting exhibition opening soon and we'd love you to come! Melbourne artists Peaches+Keen will be presenting their latest body of work Botanical Calamity opening next Thursday March 20 at 6pm.
Botanical Calamity is a series of original paintings on paper based on arrangements of plant-life collected on the daily wanderings of the pair Lucy Hearn and Lily Daley who work collectively as Peaches+Keen.
The botanical objects are then used as the foundation for chaotic yet controlled compositions reinterpreted in the bright colours they are known for.
Peaches+Keen describe the work as a combination of bright graphic colours and hand applied gold foil detailing, resulting in unique and tactile artworks. While they hang as a collective story, no two are identical.
Work in progress...
Botanical Calamity is the first exhibition for 2014 at Modern Times. We only have two to three exhibitions per year so it’s always exciting coming up to an opening. Peaches + Keen were selected to exhibit because their bright playful style perfectly reflects our philosophy behind the art we offer. We love to present original art that is light, bright and perfect for bringing a bit of fun and joy into people’s homes and Peaches+Keen do just that!
Join Peaches+Keen and the Modern Times team for a tasty Brewdog beer on Thursday 20th of March from 6pm to celebrate the opening of Botanical Calamity, which will run until Thursday 3rd April.
The gorgeous girls themselves photographed by Lauren Bamford
Art, Modern Times News
#LoveLocal This Festive Season
At Modern Times we are super proud of our range of contemporary art, homewares and gifts all exclusively made in Australia. We are passionate about supporting local artists and designers, and Christmas is a great time to put this support into overdrive!
This year we have been running a little campaign based around the concept of #LoveLocal. It's all about celebrating local art and design this festive season.
We currently have a competition running on Instagram encouraging everyone to share the love. Make sure you get your entry in if you haven't entered already or even if you have, enter again! If you aren't on Instagram, well, it is the BEST so I suggest joining up for daily doses of inspiration!
Enter as many times as you like! Winner announced Friday 20th December. Don't forget to credit the local creative too!
We also have a brilliant window installation in the store at the moment. What better way to celebrate local art and design than a collaboration with local creative Marsha Golemac. Beautiful colourful paper garlands adorn our store window, all lovingly handmade and installed by Marsha herself. All in the name of celebrating local art and design! Pop down and see us in Smith St, Fitzroy and check it out.
#LoveLocal this festive season!
Modern Times News
Ellie Malin – Interview
Thank you to everyone who has popped in to see Ellie Malin’s exhibition ‘Moonflower’ since it opened. If you missed all the pics from the opening check them out here. We have decided to keep the show up for one last weekend so if you haven’t visited already, you still have a few more days to do so.
This week I caught up with Ellie and got a bit deep with her about her work and current exhibition. Thank you to Ellie for answering my questions with such thought and generosity. Can you believe her works take 1-3 months to complete! It’s fascinating to get a deeper understanding of what goes into Ellie’s work.
Ellie mixing inks in the studio.
How did you begin your journey as an artist and what attracted you to print making particularly?
Working in a creative field was something I always wanted to do. I loved to create. It always felt like the most natural place to be. Whether it was exploring the city through the lens of a camera or making objects out of clay, even when I wasn’t actively creating stuff I would be observing my immediate surroundings, absorbing and collecting bits of visual information along the way.
I particularly liked observing the world of architecture and nature and how we move through it. I’m fascinated with the impact and importance they have on our lives and had this idea that if I could translate the beauty and vulnerabilities that captured me and communicate them back to others, that would be the ultimate challenge and somehow, it involved becoming an artist! Printmaking seemed to offer the right kind of environment to explore those themes.
Other than loads of day dreaming and philosophizing life I went to school where I completed a Cert IV in Visual Arts at Holmseglen TAFE and went on to complete a B.A in Fine Art, majoring in printmaking at Monash Uni... there were a few other courses along the way whilst ‘trying’ out different careers. Ultimately and thankfully the art is where I was at!
Ellie's preparations in the studio. It looks fun doesn't it!
Can you explain a little about your process and methods or technique you use?
All my prints are created with traditional printmaking techniques and equipment and are unique states (one offs’). The work is very much process driven and mostly developed whilst working at the press. I like to experiment with colour and tend to work spontaneously and respond to whatever’s happening on the page. Images are built up in layers over time where I’ll revisit any one print numerous times over time (generally 1-3 months, depending on the scale of the piece). I have a couple of favorite presses that I love to work on, particularly the large Hilton etching press. I’m willing to travel near and far to work on these machines. More recently I was fortunate to work in Canberra at Megalo studio and back home I’m usually printing at the APW on Gertrude St.
The printmaking process (in a nutshell) involves mixing colours, rolling up woodblock plates with inks, setting the press, laying out shapes on the press bed according to whatever configuration feels right at the time, paper comes down and then roll it through the press… There’s a whole lot of clean up that follows not to mention lots of experimenting and developing ideas!
Ellie at the press working on one of her smaller geometric series.
What are some of the influences hat inspire your work, and the themes which you have drawn upon?
I’m influenced by the everyday, streets I walk in, people I meet, design, architecture, travels, plus a good dose of daydreaming.
My process is spontaneous yet reflective at the same time. I tend to think a lot about colours and almost meditate on it before taking a print to the next state/layer. I present myself with a ‘problem’, which needs to be resolved. It’s so easy to make mistakes, but over time I’ve found that through the mistakes I also make the greatest discoveries.
Some artists and designers that I love in no particular order are: Kiki Smith, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, Scholten and Baijings, Marimekko, Mirka Mora, Tadao Ando, Fornasetti, Japanese woodblock artists, … should I keep going?
Ellie making magic with one of the smallest presses she uses.
What is the inspiration for this current show "Moonflower”?
Moonflower is an exhibition of colourful woodblock prints depicting an inspired landscape of ‘other worlds’. The beauty of nature, the man made, and a fascination for impurities within it sparks the imagination.
In this body of work offcut shapes of paper are the starting point and are transformed into woodblocks for printing. These shapes become centre stage as the relationship between them is explored through layers of colours and textures.
Remnants, which once would have been discarded are now the stars, moon and sky and are telling a story about what might exist beyond the familiar.
Soft tones of blues and grey speak of a cirrus sky while painterly gardens of aqua marine greens and citrus orange speak of growth and light. Stories unfold over time and new discoveries made between the layers of tones and negative spaces.
Detail of one of Ellie's most recent works currently on exhibition at Modern Times.
What collaborations or projects outside your usual practice have you worked on?
The most significant collaboration to date would have to be with my all time favorite (and I’m not just saying it) fashion label gorman!
Lisa Gorman came across my work online and before I knew it we were sitting together with the gorman crew talking about art and fashion. The collaboration seemed like the most natural thing to do. I feel that we have complementing sensibilities and I wear her clothing all the time! I love that my art can be carried through into new realms of every day life and that my prints wouldn’t be confined to a frame but possibly a floaty dress.
I think there’s a lot to be said about the collaboration process. It’s an inspiring process that combines different skill sets and allows for creativity to evolve and be transferred into new realms and I can’t wait to do more of these working in different fields!
Ellie at work
Ellie's current exhibition at Modern Times, 'Moonflower', is on until Sunday.
Ellie’s first solo show ‘Moonflower’ is on at Modern Times until Sunday 8th Dec. It’s a must see!
Interviews, Modern Times News, Art
Ellie Malin - Moonflower. Opening Night Snaps
Thank you to everyone who popped along last Thursday night 21 November for the opening of Ellie Malin's exhibition, Moonflower. It was great to relax and have a drink after all the organising and planning which goes into an exhibition. I'm sure Ellie felt the same after working on this impressive new series for months!
Did you get snapped at the opening?
Not here? See our Facebook page for the full collection of opening night photos.
Modern Times News
Moonflower - Ellie Malin
It is very exciting to be presenting Ellie Malin’s first solo exhibition “Moonflower” opening Thursday 21st November.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with Ellie’s beautiful woodblock prints and may find it surprising Ellie has not exhibited on her own until now. So, you can imagine there is much anticipation surrounding this show!
New works by Ellie Malin. Left: Spring Moon, Right: MoonFlower (Gold and Green)
Since completing her degree in Fine Arts majoring in printmaking from Monash University in 2007 Ellie has exhibited widely in group shows and has been a finalist in numerous awards including The Senini Student Award at McClelland Gallery (2006), the Swan Hill Print and Drawing Award (2012), Bunyule Award for Works on Paper and recently exhibited at Australian Print Workshop Gallery (2013).
Ellie mixes up her own colours in the printing studio
Another major project, which really thrust Ellie into the spotlight, was her collaboration with cult Australian fashion label Gorman (A/W 2013).
Gorman and Ellie were a match made in heaven for the A/W 2013 collection
Ellie’s use of the woodblock printing medium is far from traditional. Ellie’s striking interplay of shape and colour is carefully balanced by a restraint and subtlety which comes through in the textures and composition.
I always think Ellie’s work is amazing in the way it can be so bold yet really calming at the same time.
New work by Ellie Malin. Cirrus Sky II and III
The new works created for Moonflower are unmistakably in Ellie's signature style yet headed off in a new and exciting direction where broader references to the natural world are intimated and composition has become lighter and seems to dance across the horizon or fall and shimmer through the frame.
New work by Ellie Malin: Painterly Sky I
“I started with offcut shapes of paper – remnants that I would normally discard – and transformed them into woodblocks for printing,” she says of her approach
“These shapes now take centre stage as the relationship between them is explored through layers of colour and textures.”
“It was a really enjoyable process, and now I can’t wait to showcase the collection of works as a whole.
Well, Ellie, neither can we!
New works by Ellie Malin. Left: Moon Garden, Centre: Floating Moon, Right: Moon Flower (Grey Stem)
We’d love all of you to join us in celebrating the opening of Moonflower from 6pm on Thursday 21st November. Helping the celebrations along will be the delicious wines kindly supplied by Sante wines and Mr Mick. Thanks guys!
To request a full catalogue of available works please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Modern Times News
Top 40 Opening Night
Thanks to everyone for coming along to the opening of Top 40. It was a really successful night and I think everyone would agree, a great show. The Golden Axe Cider went down a treat too!
For us, it was exciting to host our first exhibition and the success of the night was very encouraging.
Here are some pics of the night....
Thanks guys. See you at the next show! See our Facebook page for even more pics of the night.
Modern Times News
Interview – Eleanor Voterakis
In 2012 Eleanor started a daily drawing project with the intention of becoming more motivated and focused on her art practice. She posted the sketches on Instagram daily so her friends and family could share in the process.
As she continued to post her daily drawings she began to gain more followers and 'likes'. She noticed how certain drawings would be so popular and how her personal favourites did not always reflect the taste of her followers.
Eleanor got thinking about this reflection of taste and the possibility of 'instacurating' an exhibition of these daily drawings according to their popularity. Top 40 is that show.
Number 1! Origami Rabbit
Number 2. Big Leaf
Number 3. Puppet
With the exhibition opening tonight, we are all getting a bit excited. Yesterday after hanging the exhibition (looks great by the way) I caught up with Eleanor and asked her a few questions about the show...
Why do you choose the particular subjects of your drawings?
Partly because they are mostly things that I own, so they are readily accessible to draw from observation, which is my preferred method. And for this reason, many of the objects are banal, everyday objects...The way they remove themselves from their rather boring contexts when drawn appeals to me.
How has social media has changed things for artists?
Well I think if you put a little bit of time into sharing your work and your practice using something like Instagram then that whole process becomes very rewarding. You can really quickly and easily start a dialogue about and get an audience for your work without necessarily having representation. I think it can also be a really nice way of breaking some the of the isolation of being an artist, and I have heard quite a few artists say things along these lines. Personally, during the daily drawing project Instagram was a really positive motivator because I knew there were a few followers there waiting for each drawing.
Do you foresee any more projects using social media?
Yes, nothing is exactly formulated yet but I'm really interested in how 'Top 40' is a little reflection of the public's taste and social media is such a quick way to gauge an opinion or find out what is 'liked' ...so I want to keep working with that idea.
Of the 150 drawings, what is your personal favourite?
My favourite....well, people that know me know that I have lots of favourites. Many of my favourites didn't quite make it into the top 40...one I really like is of a bread twist-tie thingy. It's just so cute and banal at the same time. I did put it in the exhibition even though it didn't make the cut for the Top 40...it's part of the 'Artist's Edit' section.
MEET ELEANOR AND CHECK OUT THIS COOL EXHIBITION AT THE OPENING TONIGHT (THURS 27 JUNE) 6-8PM
You can also read the last post I wrote for more info on Eleanor and her Top 40 exhibition.
Modern Times News
Our first exhibition opens soon - Top 40.
We are very excited to announce our upcoming exhibition - Top 40, a collection of original drawings by Melbourne artist Eleanor Voterakis.
In 2012, Eleanor posted a daily drawing on Instagram for 150 consecutive days. As she began to gain followers and ‘likes’, it got her thinking about the possibilities for an exhibition. As Eleanor says, “Anyone familiar with social media knows that it’s all about ‘likes’! Top 40 is the 40 most ‘liked’ drawings.”
Eleanor explained to me that some of her personal favourites, such as the portraits, didn't make the cut! Eleanor's Instagram followers “are the 'instacurators' of Top 40.”
Eleanor Voterakis with a collection of the objects she drew for the project.
Eleanor’s drawings are mainly of everyday objects rendered quickly in black felt-tipped pen. Drawn on white paper these objects become sparse, minimal and sometimes quirky still lives.
Subject matter includes plant life, objects of clothing and accessories, items that reflect her own pastimes such as balls of wool, paintbrushes and pencils to the more mundane objects like cutlery and milk cartons.
Top 40 also has some great sponsors on board. Local start-up Photify (Australian-made, eco-friendly, high quality prints and posters printed from your Instagram and shipped free Australia wide!) and the all-essential opening night drinks are courtesy of Golden Axe Cider.
Hope to see you at the opening. Everyone welcome!
Opening 6 - 8 pm Thursday 27th June
Exhibition Dates 28th June - 11th July
Modern Times News
Big Warehouse Sale This Weekend!
We are very excited to announce that this weekend we are having our first ever warehouse party sale. Woo! Bargains! It's more than just furniture too! Find furniture bargains, vintage vinyl and lets not forget refreshments...
Since Joel and I are just back from a huge buying trip in Europe, we really need to make room for all the new pieces that are on the way!
Those that come by the warehouse on the weekend will find a huge selection of beautiful Danish pieces at some super bargain prices.
Sale items include Danish leather sofas from $500, teak sideboards from $650, armchairs from $300, tallboys from $300 and teak and rosewood tables in all sizes from $100.
There will be more than just furniture too! We have also managed to squeeze in local record dealer Plug Seven with an epic offering of vintage vinyl.
Then finally, when you realise you've been there for hours poring over the selection without having lunch or breakfast you will find Abbotsford outfit LBSS have turned up with just what you need to relieve the hunger pains and quench your thirst!
With winter closing in, it is a great time to get your home feeling nice and cosy by adding that Scandinavian touch, and now you have no excuses!
Modern Times Warehouse Sale - One Weekend Only
10am - 6pm, Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June
Modern Times News
...Milan Wrap Up.
Whoa! Milan Design Week is a beast unto itself! Here I am on Monday, still reeling from it all. I can absolutely recommend heading to Milan for this awesome event but be prepared to SEE a lot, WALK a lot and DRINK a lot!
You won’t believe it, but we never even made it to the huge official trade fair itself, there is just that much to see outside of it!
Anyway, I just thought I’d post a couple of the highlights from the last few days.
Dining Table in Beech Wood with Porcelain Top, “Gù” chair with Bamboo Paper Shell and Beech Wood Frame. From Yuang Exhibit.
There I was, admiring this beautiful range (pictured above), admiring the bamboo paper, the porcelain, the elegant, restrained design and so on. As I was admiring, I was conferring with Joel on how awesome Japanese design is and how the Japanese just ‘get it’ and just generally raving about how awesome Japanese design is. Anyhow as I further explored the exhibit, I realized it was all actually Chinese, from the Yuhang District of eastern China! Duh! People, don’t under-estimate what is coming out of China, they aren’t just churning out knock-offs for Matt Blatt – they are really contributing to design and their manufacturing standards can be absolutely exemplary too.
Porcelain Range, From Yuhang exhibit
From less exotic locales, Tom Dixon is going full steam ahead with his "mission to revive the British furniture industry". Tom Dixon was hosting another one of the shows within the show – MOST Salone, which brought together an exciting group of exhibitors including Tom Dixon himself of course. MOST was housed within one of the more interesting spaces, Milan’s Museum of Science and Technology, which created some striking backdrops and juxtapositions.
Tom Dixon’s new FAN range. Whilst Tom Dixon claims it to be his take on the British Windsor Chair, I see a closer resemblance to Warren Platner’s 1960's Lounge Range?
So, we did see a lot of great design but another thing I found really interesting was the exhibition designs themselves. I saw many products which didn’t really interest me, but their exhibit design was striking and inspiring. One example was Melogranoblu at Superstudio (ANOTHER show within the show!).
DROP Hanging Lamp in blown glass by Melogranoblu, used to fantastic effect en masse with lighting, mirrors and music. Brilliant!
What next for us on our global hunt? You’ll have to wait and see, because for now I need to have a little rest!
Modern Times News
Day #2 Milan Design Week
Day #2 of Milan Design Week and we are still warming up, taking in all the sights and sounds of this amazing display.
We spent most of the day around the Brera Design District. Long a centre of artistic expression and design – during Design Week they take it to a whole new level with over 90 events all within a few city blocks.
The streets were heaving with design types from all over the globe, with the smell of coffee and pizza in the air - what an atmosphere!
From big name brands to things a little more indie, here is a snapshot of some of the things to be seen around Brera this year.
Revolving Room Installation for Kvadrat and Patricia Urquiola. Moroso chair, designed by Patricia Urquiola in her new range of Kvadrat fabric.
Kvadrat fabrics launched a collaborative collection with Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola. Kvadrat make some of the worlds best upholstery fabrics and being based in Denmark are a popular choice for Danish furniture.
It wasn’t so much that the furniture or fabrics impressed but more so the set-up and installation design. The room was lined with tall panels that slowly rotated to give the room a new colour and feel every few seconds. I also loved the still life set up in the centre of the room (pictured above).
Missoni Home - "Zigzagging", Milan Design Week
Missoni made no small play on their zigzag motif with a huge walk-in sound and light installation. It was experiential and quite 60’s psychedelic but I couldn't help feeling that I was walking into an empty nightclub.
Lee Broom's Crystal Light Bulb, Milan Design Week
One of the highlights was Lee Brooms Crystal Light Bulb Shop. A cute little general store style display set up to sell this one design by leading young British Designer Lee Broom. Loved the set-up, loved the product!
Next it was on to EDIT by designjunction. Designjunction is a big event during the London Design Festival and EDIT sees a selection of the best transported to Milan.
It was a great balance between commercial and creative, the music was loud and there was a huge bar. We chatted to the agents and designers there and got very inspired and excited!
The Scandi element was strong with many Danish designers represented. Amongst the rest, a strong Scandinavian influence was plainly visible.
The cute and cool award goes to British brand ALL LOVELY STUFF with their small timber items for the home. Practical and beautifully made, with a humorous twist. We'd think it would fit Modern Times to a tee!
This is BEES NEES, just a tiny 3.5cm x 3.5cm, they are houses for solitary bees!! Seriously!
“…these bee houses are ideal for encouraging solitary bees into your garden to pollenate trees and flowers. These bees very rarely sting so make ideal pets”
You just never know what you are going to see next in Milan!
Modern Times News
The First Taste Of Milan Design Week
We are here, we made it – Milan Design Week! Also known as Milan Furniture Fair, Salone del Mobile, Milano Salone or just plain Salone. I’m going to stick with Milan Design Week.
Milan Design Week is overwhelming in size, scope and variety – what to do first, where to go next?? There are literally hundreds of events and exhibits around the city, not to mention the sprawling trade fair on the outskirts of town.
Luckily enough, we had our plans for the first night. We were invited to the launch of The Royal Danish Academy’s exhibit, from their department of architecture and design. That’s right, we were checking out work from the up and coming designers who are following in the footsteps of luminaries such as Kaare Klint, Borge Mogensen, Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen. They've got some big shoes to fill! That being said, their was some great pieces, especially our favourite - the Widen Lounge.
The theme for their exhibit was Type, and it was based around creating a chair that would be an evolution or conceptualisation of the basic ‘type’ stick chair.
UPPERSIT by Anette Byberg and Camilla Aggestrup.
"legs, back and seat melt together both in construction and shape...our intention was to make a chair where all parts are supported by each other. Removing one 'stick' the chair will fall apart"
WIDEN LOUNGE by Shannon Payton and Arūnas Sukarevičius
"a bold departure from the formal tradition of the Windsor chair, the Widen Lounge emits a playful, humorous disposition...the generous low and wide seat invites a casual intimacy...or an afternoon alone with coffee, music and a good book"
Alongside the Royal Danish Academy were other exhibits including Aalto University School of Arts in Finland which showcased stunning pieces from furniture to fashion to ceramics.
Shot from the Aalto University School of Design's exhibit.
The Kolding School of Design in Denmark also had a strking exhibit set up with individual pieces housed in repurposed shipping containers.
Here, Joel is checking out one of the Kolding School pieces - a huge chandelier made of 7000 lego pieces. Awesome!
Anyway, gotta get back out there. Stay tuned for more reports from Milan Design Week. Ciao!
Modern Times News
Online Purchases Delivered For Free All Feb!
Thats right peeps! For the rest of Feb we are celebrating the launch of our new webstore with free delivery on all items. That means you can get anything off our website delivered to your door for free! Sofas, dining chairs, artworks and more all delivered for zilch, nada, nothing. What are the catches I hear you ask, well, some framed artworks aren't part of the deal and unfortunately this offer applies to metro areas only and it doesn't extend to Perth or Darwin. But...if you do reside in a more far flung exotic locale, get in touch because we can come up with a sweet deal just for you.
Save yourself (and your car) the trouble and get us to deliver your online purchases for free - for the rest of Feb.
Modern Times News
Welcome to our new website!
Hi! Welcome to our new website! We are so glad you've dropped by.
This is something that's been in the pipeline for quiiiiite a while and here it is, finally! We'll be adding new things all the time so check back regularly to see the latest goodies. Hopefully it's all working ok, but let us know if something's up!
If you are wondering just what Modern Times Pop-Up Shop is up to, well, we are pretty much here to stay! We'll be hanging out at 311 Smith St until into next year and then finding a permanent home. We aren't quite a pop-up anymore are we!
At the moment we've got lots of locally made goodies in store perfect for Christmas presents, as well as an ever-growing range of beautiful vintage Danish furniture.
Hope to see you in person soon!
Modern Times News
Lease Extended! Modern Times Relaunch
It’s time to celebrate! We’ve been offered a lease extension so we are hanging around in Smith St for a few more months at least. Yay!
We think this calls for a party! Join us this Thursday between 6 – 8pm. We’ve got a brand new shipment of vintage finds from Denmark along with new artworks and homewares. Whilst you check out our new wares enjoy a glass of wine kindly supplied by Dromana Estate and listen to the soulful tunes of DJ Ari. We’d love to see you there!
Here is a sneak peek of the beautiful new pieces we have in store…
Stunning, simple pieces in oak speak for themselves. Pictured here we have Kai Kristiansen Dining Chair Model 42 (we have a number available both in teak and oak) and the unassuming oak RY26 sideboard by Hans Wegner. The bright colours of Julian Martins artwork look so fresh with this combination too!
We are excited to welcome Amanda Dziedzic to the fold with her beautiful glass bonsais. Stunning grouped or as a special stand alone piece – the colours are divine! New works from popular Arts Project artists, Warren O’Brien and Julian Martin. Aaaand, how about the phenomenal grain on this Ib Kofod Larsen sideboard!! Whoa!
We have plenty of new sofas to choose from including this classic style in a faded camel leather. Cushions by Igloo Home are inspired by 1950′s stonewall designs and complement the mid-century style perfectly. New artworks by Ellie Malin need no introduction! Simply beautiful as always. Holding the setting together is another of our beautiful new sideboards, a H.W Klein sideboard in rosewood.
Hans Wegner Plank Chair teams perfectly with oak daybed by Borge Mogensen and get crafty with the many varieties of handy sewing tables. Handpainted clock hand by Sandra Eterovic, original artwork by Eleanor Voterakis.
H.W Klein recliners seem to call out for a cigar and a whiskey and Luscious Jungle brings life to mounted antlers. Screenprint by Ghostpatrol, original painting by Ruth Howard.
This is just a sample of the new pieces we have in store and we will have more pieces coming in over the next few months too. See our homepage too for more gorgeous pics of the new stock. Also stay tuned for our new website with WEBSTORE coming soon! We really hope to see you this Thursday night.
Modern Times News, Furniture
Time To Rug Up
Worlds away from Scandinavia in the Middle East there is an historic tradition of hand weaving beautiful kilim rugs. These rugs are interwoven with beautiful colours, pattern and symbolism that hark back to ancient times when these rugs were made by nomadic tribes people to be used as versatile floor and wall coverings.
Typical example of traditional kilim rug with tribal patterns in earthy colours.
—Photo by Jeremy Burgin
Fast forward to now and you find modern-day artisans refashioning vintage kilims to create a contemporary and unique range of floor coverings.
Overdyed vintage kilim in vibrant pink looks stunning in a contemporary setting.
—Photo courtesy of Cherry and Me
This rug is a Modern Times fave! Vintage kilim overdyed with rich indigo, cotton knotting appears like tiny stars in the night sky. Currently available but bound to be snapped up soon!
—Photo by Lauren Seeman
Vintage weavings are patch worked and overdyed, magically transforming historic kilims into pieces perfect for complementing a modern setting.
We all love timber and bricks but sometimes we need a bit of colour! Vintage kilims patchworked and overdyed in turquoise.
—Photo by Modern Times
Modern Times is currently featuring a range of hand-selected vintage rugs that can add colour and texture to your space. In these cold winter months a colourful woollen rug might be just what your living room or bedroom needs!
Until July 1st, Modern Times is also offering $200 of all Patchy Rugs purchases so now is the time to come in and see the range!
Modern Times News, Interiors
Mid-Century and Sunshine
It seems that against my best intentions of being a constant and regular blogger, I actually fit more into the category of intermittent and slack blogger. I guess it's not too late to change my ways! In Melbourne the season is changing and we are getting a very welcome dose of sunny days. As we are plotting and planning our next pop-up for December, I find the sunshine so uplifting, an inspiring force! I am pretty damn excited about our upcoming shop and the details will be revealed soon (as soon as we work them out!) In the meantime, I thought I'd post some inspiring images of sunny mid-century style.
Photo by RetroLand U.S.A Was it more fun in the sun during the 1950's? It looks like it! I guess no one bothered to worry about their skin back then either...
Photo by JoeInSouthernCA It would feel like summer all year round with this awesome indoor pool that pops with colour.
Photo by allerleirau Summer is on its way, along with all the great things that come with summer - like days at the beach, balmy evening drinking sessions, Christmas partys and holidays. Modern Times will also pop up again in Summer, so its all a lot to look forward to!
It's a wrap!
A belated thankyou!
Thank you to everyone who visited us at Modern Times Pop-Up Shop and helped make it such a great success. People came from far and wide to pay us a visit and many people stumbled upon us whilst wandering down the St Kilda side street. What a buzz to meet all these strangers who liked what we were up to! We loved giving visitors a guided tour of our little shop and explaining our pop-up concept. Seeing folks experience the furniture we enjoy so much was really wonderful. Our friends really took it to a whole other level and the Modern Times lounges became the place of choice to meet and linger on the weekends (byo coffee!). Everyone was welcome! Whilst the furniture was always the focus, the art and homewares were received with equal enthusiasm. In fact, the popularity of Ellie Malin's balloon prints threatened to overshadow the whole operation!
A common question was - What next? What happens when you 'pop-down'? Well, we've thought long and hard about an answer to that question. Now, I can't confirm anything...but our crystal ball looks like it is predicting another pop-up shop later in the year with an all new shipment of vintage Danish furniture and more original art and homewares by a bigger and better selection of talented locals. The new year could even see Modern Times put down some roots in a more permanent location. Watch this space!
P.S. Want to be part of Modern Times Pop-Up #2? I'm totally up for suggestions and expressions of interest. We are looking for quality Australian homewares and original art that complements the modernist style. I am really excited about the prospect of promoting some fresh new artists!
Modern Times News
Robin Boyd Open Houses - A Melbourne Modernist.
The Robin Boyd Foundation will host an open day - Designs for Warrandyte – on 15th May, 2011. Six houses, designed for various arty types, including Boyd’s childhood home, will be open to visit. I think this will be a great opportunity to gain an insight into Boyd’s work, a visionary and leader in Melbourne’s Modern Architecture movement!
Photo by SkinnyDrummer
Take a look, inside the house and studios of sculptor and printmaker, Inge and Grahame King, designed by Robin Boyd in 1951.
Robin Boyd (1919- 1971) was one of the foremost proponents of the modernist movement in Australia. Boyd designed mostly residential projects and believed in the fundamentals of modernism; rejecting unnecessary decoration, believing in the importance of good design and utilizing inexpensive, functional and partially prefabricated materials. Boyd designed over 200 houses and was equally prolific as a writer, commentator, educator and public speaker. Boyd’s architecture responded to the local surroundings whilst combining the ideas of the modern movement - this style became known as the post-war Melbourne regional style. The Robin Boyd Foundation was established in 2005 and is operated from Walsh Street (Boyd’s family home since 1958). Lectures, open houses, seminars and events run by the foundation continue the work and spirit of Robin Boyd - increasing community awareness, understanding and participation in design.
What Is So Good About Modernism?
Modernism has laid the way for the minimalist clean lines and open plan living that is still the dominant style of new buildings and interiors today. Why have the ideas of modernism had such an enduring influence?
In the early 20th century there were sweeping changes in technology and society. With continuing industrialisation and the rise of a more liberal society - artists, designers and thinkers led the break away from the traditional ways of perceiving and participating in the world.
This radical chair by Gerrit Rietveld, the Red Blue Chair, 1917, discards all ornament, stripped back to the barest and most utilitarian form. It doesn't look too comfortable does it, but it was a pivotal design in the move towards more minimal, functional design.
The ornate decoration of the previous eras were seen as excessive and a waste of effort and material. Modernism was all about exploring new materials, simplifying forms and utilising production techniques whilst maintaining a high level of craftsmanship.
Probably the most important ideal that made modernism so enduring is the idea that ‘form follows function’.The belief that true beauty would be determined by the rational use of materials, quality craftsmanship and keeping functionalism as a priority. The essential function and structure of a design dictated the shape, leading to the clean minimalistic style we still find so appealing.
Industrial production also allowed a more ‘democratic’ access to well designed everyday objects. The Scandinavian designers reconciled the coldness of Bauhaus modernism with a more human, natural aesthetic. Due to the climate in this region and the emphasis on indoor life, they understood the importance of a warm and inviting interior and ensuring practicality and comfort within the home.
Not just for the designers but for most Scandinavian people, good design is considered an essential part of everyday life.
Hans Wegner took the same principle of stripping back a design to a pure form but created a warmer, more inviting design by using organic shapes and beautiful natural materials.
Drawer and cupboard handles are designed to smoothly and seamlessly integrate rather than stand out ostentatiously. Sideboard and sofas are lifted off the ground on slimline legs to create an uninterrupted floor space. Natural materials are able to speak for themselves.
Attention to detail in design and craftsmanship have made the designs not only stand the test of time aesthetically but also made them durable, allowing us to enjoy the same 50 year old pieces today. Whether it is the original pieces from the 50’s and 60’s that still look great in today’s interiors or the minimalistic architect designed interiors of today. Modernist design prevails today because it is beautiful and it makes sense.
Mid-Century Style For All
There are many ways to incorporate a bit of mid-century style into your home. Whether you like your space all out retro or slick and contemporary. Check out these images for some inspiration.
Photo by ooh_food. A mid-century style home with a bright and breezy pared-back interior.
Photo by ooh-food. Contemporary. Minimal colour palette.
Photo by small ritual. Straight out of Mad Men?
Photo by JForth. Apartment style. Perhaps building the collection for a move to a bigger space.
Let me introduce myself....
Hello everyone. I am excited to be writing the first Modern Times blog post. I guess I should introduce myself! My name is Amy and I'm one half of Modern Times. I am really looking forward to opening the first mid-century furniture pop-up shop in Melbourne. We have hand-selected stunning designer pieces and imported them from directly from Denmark, there is an emphasis on pieces from the most well known designers such as Arne Vodder and H J Wegner although there is many pieces from lesser known designers and manufacturers. Browse the website to see many of the pieces although there will be many more in store.
I intend to use this blog to post news and developments about Modern Times and also to look at mid-century design and it's relevance in Melbourne and more broadly, Australia.
The Modern Times Pop-Up Shop will also be showcasing the work of local designers who are influenced by the mid-century Scandinavian or retro style. I love the idea of bringing together the old/vintage/original pieces from abroad with the new/fresh/inspired designs currently being created locally.
'The Chair According To Hans J. Wegner' limited edition poster
No room for another chair in your collection? Have them all anyway with this limited edition poster produced for the exhibition 'The Chair According To Hans J. Wegner' at the Stockholm International Fair, 1000 printed, 1 available at Modern Times
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