May, 9, 2012,
4:18 PM

Another Modern Visionary Dies

Today Vidal Sassoon, creator of modern hairstyles, died after a long battle with leukemia. He was 84 years old.

The Mies Society paid tribute to his inspired work this year in the celebration of Mies’ 126th birthday.

Sassoon had cited Mies’ work, among that of other architects’, as inspiration for his innovative hairstyles, which became popular throughout the Western World in the 1960s.

Justine Jentes, Director of the Mies Society, had worked with Sassoon’s assistant to arrange for him to make a surprise appearance at the birthday bash. Though he was ultimately not able to attend, his legacy proved to be a popular draw for party guests, who were intrigued by his ability to translate minimalist sculptural forms from buildings to hair.

Modern visionaries like Sassoon invented a lasting aesthetic that works across mediums. They made “mid-century” an identifiable and covetable quality. And they did it in the name of better design. Just as modern architects merged form and function, so did disciples of Sassoon’s styling approach.

He invented looks such as the five-point cut (pictured) so women did not have to fuss over their hair (think of those 1940s ‘dos). Instead, they could have styles that fit their bone structures and allowed their hair to fall naturally into place. Just how many hours (or even years) he spared for well-coiffed women in recent decades remains to be counted, adding another dimension to the timeless quality of his creations.

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May, 9, 2012,
11:58 AM

The Brno Exhibition Centre

The Mies Society continues its European architectural tour with a visually jam-packed day three; after Villa Tugendhat Tuesday, we visited the Brno Exhibition Centre, a popular destination for international conferences.

The original Centre was built in the 1920s and has since grown with the addition of modern structures.

Above: A reinforced concrete staircase part of a building called Pavilion of Industry and Trade

Above: Parabola-tastic

Above: Here’s a poster featuring the beautifully domed pavilion on the fairgrounds. It was done in 1955 as part of what’s called Brussels-style due to the fact that Brno won top awards for its modern architecture at the 1955 Brussels World’s Fair.

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May, 8, 2012,
2:57 PM

Up-Close in the Tugendhat

The Mies Society is on day three of its European architectural tour. Today, Tuesday, we visited the recently and meticulously restored Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic. The level of detail in this restoration is phenomenal. The home, built in 1928, was made with an iconic blend of Miesian materials: chrome, travertine, glass, and steel.

Above: We were provided booties to wear on the tour.

Above: Guests stand “inside” the house; the window was moved down all the way.

Above: Feast your eyes on these dining room table details.

Above: Uncommonly green Barcelona chairs in front of an onyx wall

Above: Special cold storage for furs

Above: A chair sized for children

Above: Children’s chairs and an adult chair in the daughter’s room.

Above: Fully restored built-in closets in bedrooms

Above: Guest Sharon at rest

The tour guides attribute this door hardware to Walter Gropius, father of the Bauhaus.

Above: A pulley system opens the out-of-reach windows

Above: Note the reveal around the fixture; the cruciform decoration echos the columns.

Above: Wood exterior window shutters

Above: Mean, clean, bathroom tiles

Above: Note three layers of reveal at this door frame.

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May, 7, 2012,
4:13 PM

Visiting Vienna, Bon vivanting in Brno

Several Mies Society members have joined Director Justine Jentes on a tour of great modern (and not-so-modern) architecture in Czech Republic and Germany.

Here are up-to-the-minute snapshots from Day Two of our trip: we ventured through Vienna, Austria and Brno, Czech Republic.

Above: here’s part of the campus at the technical university in Vienna.

Above: our hotel’s lobby could be characterized as… well, you fill in the blank… and Mies Society Director Justine Jentes takes a breather on this silver sofa…

Shabby chic versus modern sleek: So why is this dirty facade considered distinguished (admire that chiaroscuro) but old Mies buildings can’t get away with a scrubby appearance?

Here’s a thought:

"With great simplicity comes great maintenance" (apologies to Voltaire)

Above: an architectural juxtaposition at the historic center of Brno. This city has lots of well-preserved old buildings painted in yellows, light blues, and pale greens. The glass and steel structure at left stands out in its simplicity.

That’s all for now, folks.

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