Lind House receives State Heritage Listing

The battle to save Lind House, designed by emigre architect Anatol Kagan, united mid-century enthusiasts from across the country in a battle to save the important home from demolition. Too often, important buildings are demolished and replaced with lack lustre apartments, and that’s exactly the fate the developers had planned for Lind House. But this is no ordinary home, Lind House is an important example of European Modernism in Melbourne, a building that retains many of its original features.

It was great to see so many people getting behind the campaign to save Lind House and putting pressure on the Glen Eira Council and State Government to rescue the important home from the wrecking ball that has claimed far too many modernist buildings in Australia.

The good news is that the cultural significance of Lind House has finally been recognised and it has been added to the Victorian Heritage Register. According to an article in the Herald Sun, the developer sold the house to a young family who are keen to restore and maintain the home.

The campaign to save Lind House is proof that people power can work, and that it’s worth fighting to save the things that you value in life. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to contact the council and politicians, and those at the coal face who wrote detailed submissions to secure the future of Lind House. Together we are many, so let’s keep spreading the mid-century love so that others can see the beauty of mid-century modernist design.

You can read all about the decision to heritage list Lind House here: https://architectureau.com/articles/anatol-kagan-house-receives-state-heritage-listing/

Advertisements

Grant and Mary Featherston: Design for Life

One of the most anticipated events this year has to be the Grant and Mary Featherston exhibition to be held at the Heide Museum of Art in Bulleen, Melbourne. Curated by Kirsty Grant and Denise Whitehouse, the exhibition explores the Featherston partnership, acknowledging the design contributions of Mary Featherston.

Grant, the senior curator of the popular Mid-Century Modern: Australian Furniture Design exhibition held at NGV Ian Potter in 2014, and Whitehouse a Featherston scholar, make an ideal team to deliver this important survey of the Featherston’s design practice. Whitehouse’s knowledge of the dynamic design duo is built from years of detailed research, including extensive interviews with Mary Featherston. Whitehouse is also a fantastic writer, so the catalogue essay is sure to be a highlight.

The exhibition is a rare opportunity to see many rare Featherston chairs, and gain some insight into the influences that shaped the planning and production of these iconic furniture designs.

Australian Mid-Century Design continues to capture people’s imagination, and this exhibition showcases the work of one of Australia’s most iconic design partnerships. Don’t miss out and be sure to get a catalogue before they sell out.

The exhibition opens in June, so in the meantime head over to the Featherston Archive for more Featherston design pleasure.

Date:  30 June 7 October 2018

Location:  Heide III: Central Galleries

Curator/s:  Kirsty Grant and Denise Whitehouse / Project Curator: Kendrah Morgan

Admission:  Included with Museum Pass

Clement Meadmore and the Art Of Mid-Century Design

At Australian Modern we are truly passionate about Australian Mid-Century Design, so it may not come as a surprise when we tell you that we have been working on a very special design project. What is this project you may well ask? It’s the first major survey of Clement Meadmore’s industrial design practice from 1951-1963.

The exhibition will include newly discovered designs that have never been exhibited and a rare opportunity to see Clem’s furniture and lighting designed for the iconic Legend Cafe and Teahouse in Melbourne.

At the moment we are busy working on the catalogue, but I can say that the exhibition will is planned for November, 2018. You can expect an official announcement in the coming weeks.

The Legend Cafe, designed by Clement Meadmore, 1956.

The exhibition is 10 years in the making and will feature furniture, lighting, graphic design, and archival images. We have managed to locate most of Clem’s designs, but there are still a some designs from the Meadmore Originals catalogue that have managed to allude us. Can you help find the missing designs? It would be fantastic to include them in the exhibition.

If you have any information on these missing designs (see below) please email me at: australianmodern@yahoo.com.au

The Other Moderns: Sydney’s Forgotten European Design Legacy

I recently got a copy of the brilliant new book ‘The Other Moderns: Sydney’s forgotten European Design Legacy’. Edited by curator Rebecca Hawcroft, the book features a collection of expertly researched, and beautifully written essays that highlight the contributions of European designers and artists who came to Australia before or after World War ll. 

The book is the companion to ‘The Moderns’ exhibition which is currently showing at the Museum of Sydney until 26th November, 2017.  If you are yet to see the exhibition, I suggest you make it a priority. It is a timely and much needed contribution to our design heritage.

The exhibition features a range of vignettes by important designers of the period. This is a rare opportunity to see rooms of original furniture by George Korody, Steven Kalmar, Michael Gerstl and Paul Kafka. The curator Rebecca Hawcroft, has done an incredible job of bringing together archival photographs, artefacts and design objects to create a spellbinding exhibition that leaves you wanting to know more about the lives of these incredible people.

The book expertly builds on the material covered in the exhibition, and is crammed full of archival images and contemporary photographs of stunning vintage pieces from the Hotel Hotel collection. 

The stories are inspiring, and it’s good to see women being acknowledged for their important contribution to architecture and design.  In a time when refugees are too often vilified, this book provides a rare insight into the ways that Europeans, many fleeing war, have significantly influenced architecture and design in Australia. 

It’s a credit to all of the authors, and evidence of their craft, that they were able to write such detailed and evocative accounts that conjur such a vivid sense of the challenges and cultures that shaped the experiences of these remarkable people.

The book is limited, so get yourself a copy before it sells out. And don’t forget to check out the exhibition for a rare chance to see the beautiful furniture designed by these creative and talented Europeans who brought so much knowledge and culture to Australia. 

Update: Keep up the good work. Save Lind House from demolition

Hi All,

Mid-Century enthusiasts from across the country are getting behind the national campaign to save Anatol Kagan’s masterpiece ‘Lind House’ from demolition.

Thousands of everyday people like you and I are frustrated and disappointed with the lack of protection afforded Lind House, and many of us think it’s time that councils, like the Glen Eira Council, went the extra mile and sent a message to developers that they can’t destroy our most treasured cultural icons. 

At this stage you need to keep up the  pressure, and for those who are yet to contact the Glen Eira Council, please submit your objection asap using the link in my previous post. 

I was told today, at a council meeting last night, Mayor Mary Delahunty said the council would write to the Planning Minister asking for interim protection control measures to save the house.

Well, we can also write to the planning minister.  Please email Richard Wynne MP or give his office a call at the link below:

http://m.vic.gov.au/contactsandservices/directory/?ea0_lfz99_120.&roleWithSubordinates&1deea11c-53f3-429b-9dda-80a3d0318f5e

Please leave a message on his Facebook page asking him to take action now to save Anatol Kagan’s architectural gem. https://m.facebook.com/richardwynnemp/

Keep up the good work everyone, and thank you to all the modernisters out there working hard to save our cultural heritage for future generations.

You can read about the latest developments in this excellent article by Bianca Cardona

As always, we are ever grateful for the tireless work of Modernist Australia, who are committed to saving our mid-century architecture. 

Please share this post widely and ask your friends to join the campaign to save an outstanding example of Melbourne Modernist architecture. 

Iconic Anatol Kagan home faces demolition. Can you help save it?


The ‘Lind House’, 450 Dandenong Rd, North Caulfield, designed by Anatol Kagan.

It seems strange that Robin Boyd’s book The Australian Ugliness should have such relevance more than 50 years after its publication, but here we are again dealing with the same issues. In an era where ugly has arguably become an industry fuelled by profit, too often we see architect designed mid-century homes destroyed and replaced with poorly designed boxes with little architectural merit.

These generic boxes are like tombstones that represent the destruction of another home, and too often the loss of yet another iconic architectural landmark. With increased frequency we read or hear stories of people mourning the loss of significant buildings that have been touchstones in our design history.  Mid-century homes designed by Boyd, Chancellor and Patrick, Fooks, Holgar and Holgar, and many more, here one day and gone the next, and ironically in its place another high density ‘modernist inspired’ box.

The buildings that replace these architectural gems often purport to be modern, but are instead simply examples of what Boyd terms featurism. You’ve all seen the photos, open plan spaces with replica American mid-century furniture, an island bench in the kitchen and a faux Danish pendant light. A pastiche that is neither modern or inspiring.

Recently, we saw Boyd’s Blott House (see above) on the chopping block, but thankfully it was saved by mid-century enthusiasts who valued and understood the importance and qualities of this iconic home.

Well, here we are again. This time it’s the ‘Lind House’, an architectural treasure designed by Anatol Kagan, one of the best architects from the Melbourne mid-century movement. You can read all about the home in this wonderful article by our ever vigilant friends at modernistaustralia.com.

I have walked past the ‘Lind House’ many times, admiring its form and it’s gentle modernism. I have dreamt of winning lotto and moving in to this ‘dream home’. But alas, the developers are poised, and the house looks certain to be another casualty in a housing market that values profit over substance. It is astounding that such an important home should not be protected, but perhaps councils too often talk of  revenue rather than rescue.

Whereas Boyd and other Australian mid-century architects had sought to create buildings that inspired new ways of living, it looks like the spectre of the ‘Australian Ugliness’ is now threatening to erase the very buildings that demonstrated that thoughtful and creative architecture is the key to a better future.

What can you do about this?

rosie-riveter
A developer is planning to replace Lind House with 8 dwellings. You can see the planning permit application details on the Glen Eira Council site.  Lodge an objection today, you can do it here. I suggest you let the Glen Eira Council know that they have a role to play in protecting our design heritage. We also have a duty to protect the things we value, so please click on the link above and make an objection. Do your bit to save this important example of mid-century architecture.

If you care, please share this post to help raise awareness. Together we are many, and submitting an objection sends a clear message to the council. Let’s all try to save this truly magnificent mid-century home.

 

Simply the Best: The Colourful Life of Marion Hall Best

The Museum of Sydney have recently confirmed the dates for an upcoming exhibition (Aug 5- Nov 12) about Sydneysider and style guru Marion Hall Best. 

Marion Hall Best (1905-1988) was a champion of Australian and International mid-century design. Best’s two Sydney store’s Queen St, Woollahra ( 1939-1974) and Rowe St, Sydney (1949-1961) were destinations for those who sought out the latest in modern design. 

Interior of Queen St, Woollahra shop, c.1960s.

Best was highly influential in establishing a demand for the modern style in Australia, and in 1951 helped found The Society of Interior Designers of Australia. Best had a strong sense of personal style which came through in the many commissions she received to transform the interiors of public and private spaces. 

Known for her bold use of colour and dramatic patterns, Best was not a member of the beige brigade, her vibrant wall and ceiling glazes were a glossy celebration of colour. Best was a trailblazer, importing the latest in international contemporary design to be sold in her shops, including furniture from the U.S and Italy, and fabrics by Marimekko of Finland. She was also a big supporter of Australian designers Clem Meadmore, Grant Featherston, Carl Nielsen and Gordon Andrews, stocking their furniture alongside cutting edge designs from around the world. 

The Marion Hall Best Collection located at the Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection  provides a fascinating insight into the world of one of Australia’s first interior designers. Best was a trendsetter whose vision for domestic living was sometimes challenging and other times transformative. Best clearly had a vision that centred around the role of design in the home, she even designed the occasional piece of furniture. 

Lounge chair designed by Marion Hall Best, c.1960s. 

With so many contemporary homes slavishly adopting safe neutral tones, more than 60 years later Best’s riot of colour is still a breath of fresh air.

To find out more about Marion Hall Best get yourself a copy of Michaela Richard’s ‘The Best Style : Marion Hall Best and Australian Interior Design 1935-1975’.  The book is now out of print, but can often be found in public libraries. If it’s a personal copy you’re looking for, you will need to check eBay or secondhand bookstores. 

Don’t miss the upcoming exhibition MARION HALL BEST: INTERIORS at the Museum of Sydney from Sat 5 Aug – Sun 12 Nov, 2017.