FLYER INVITATION STEAMPUNK: NATURE & MACHINE

FLYER INVITATION STEAMPUNK: NATURE & MACHINE

FLYER: Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum April 25th Exhibition

FLYER: Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum April 25th Exhibition

YOUR INVITATION . . . April 25, 2013, 6-8 p.m.

Today’s news AND Invitation comes in the form of a flyer about an innovative exhibition. The exhibition is about the Nineteenth Century Industrial Revolution in the Twenty-First Century, happening at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Click the flyer for legibility. It will be big enough to read the details.

RSVP: 203-838-9799 ext. 4.

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery in the 19th century Victorian era. Fictional machines of technology were found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.  Steampunk may also, though not necessarily, incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The term steampunk’s first known appearance was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created

Steampunk couture

Steampunk couture

even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
295 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850.

The reception is free, but we need your RSVP 203-838-9799 ext. 4.

Coming? We would love to share the evening’s hullabaloo.

 

 

ANIMAL ARCHITECTS

ANIMAL ARCHITECTS

animal architects glass-shell-hermit-crabSo you thought the ancient and modern wonders created by mankind and creative contemporary architecture were something? From underground ant colonies that extend farther than the Great Wall of China to termite mounds that tower at nearly twice the relative height of the Burj Dubai (tallest skyscraper in the world), and from the largest multi-species spider web ever discovered to the longest beaver dam on the planet, here are a couple of the most awe-inspiring animal architects and architectonic structures of the animal kingdom.

Towering Termites: Massive Earth Movers

Termites are amazing creatures by almost any metric. Their queens are 30 times the size of normal soldiers and workers and produce about 30 eggs per minute to keep the colony alive. Relative to their size, termites build the biggest structures of the animal kingdom – .4 inch creatures constructing towers weighing hundreds of tons and up to 25 feet in height and 40 feet in diameter (the human equivalent of 4,600 feet tall). And that is just 40 feet above the ground –  termites can also burrow as far as 225 feet underground.

ANIMAL ARCHITECTURE giant-termite-moundsDeparture from the typical architecture that I blog about. I did not make it up. The information comes from 7 Architectural Wonders of the Natural World.

To my friendly writer community, I found these amazing wonders looking up another work of architecture, for a later blog. For you writers of fantasy, subcultures and steampunk adventures, this is pretty good.  What do you think? Has your opinion of termites and ants evolved? Want more?

If you know anything about architects, they derive ideas from what’s around them. To my friendly architectural community, here are some ideas for your next skyscraper. What say you?

McMANSION FINALE

McMANSION FINALE

Location: Norwalk, Connecticut
National Landmark

Lockwood exterior 1867

Over the top, Lockwood Mathews mansion is over the top, bigger, better, more complex and complete than other later similar homes. It was first, before the Newport Cottages, before Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine, before any of the homes in this blog. Mr Lockwood was a genius. He heated his house with radiant (floor) heating with the most amazing furnace in the basement. (Looks Steampunk.) Indoor plumbing . . . with sinks in every room. And a bowling alley in the basement. In the tradition of the Second Empire, this home was built in 1867 by Legrand Lockwood.

Library as it was when the Mathews family lived there after 1873

The Connecticut estate, about an hour outside of the city, was the summer home of the prominent railroad magnet and shipping mogul. It was later home to the Mathews family for 75 years until 1938 when Florence Mathews, last member of the family died. Now known as Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum, the estate originally had 30 acres of land overlooking the Sound. Slowly the land was sold off leaving a small parcel showing a 44,000-square-foot main house, a carriage house, a Victorian-style caretaker’s cottage. Can you imagine? You must see this one. You can get more history and information easily at: www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com.

Library as it was when the Lockwood family lived there 1870


Lockwood Photos Courtesy of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum 

Unlike the other noteworthy homes below that are for sale, Lockwood is not, but is open with tours to the public.

Location: New York City
Listing price: $14.95 million
The last remaining detached single-family house in Manhattan.
Photo: Curbed

The cities too had their fair share of elaborate mansions built in the Gilded Age, but thanks to development in the ensuing hundred odd years since, few survive. In NYC, the Schinasi Mansion, on Riverside Drive not far from Columbia University, is the last remaining detached single-family house in Manhattan. The 12,000-square-foot mansion retains almost all of its historic detail, including amazing coffered ceilings and a Prohibition-era trap door that leads to a tunnel that once extended all the way to the river. The 35-room marble mansion was built for “Turkish tobacco baron” Morris Schinasi.

Location: Mount Kisco, N.Y.
Listing price:
$26.5 million

Devonshire, with its 101 acres, was owned by the Vanderbilts.
Photo: Curbed

In the tradition of the English country house, sprawling homes began to spring up in Westchester, north of New York City, in the mid-1800s. This Mount Kisco, N.Y. estate, about an hour outside of the city, was built in 1901 for J. Borden Harriman, of the prominent American family, and was later owned by the Vanderbilts, and then ended up in the hands of a “prominent European family.” Known as Devonshire, the estate includes 101 acres of land, a 21,000-square-foot main house, a “carriage house, a Victorian-style guest cottage, and a caretaker’s house.” The garage, which fits 10 cars, has a washing station and hydraulic lift. The main house features a grand staircase, eight bedrooms, a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, “gold-leaf moldings, wood and antique mirrored panelling, and marble floors.”

Location: Miami, Fla.
Listing price:
$4.2 million

The Helmsleys’ penthouse was converted to an Arabian palace.
Photo: Sotheby’s

America’s second Gilded Age, the 1980s, produced many lavish residences, but perhaps none are so emblematic of the spirit of the decade as this Miami penthouse, built for notorious real estate magnates Leona and Harry Helmsley. At one point the Helmsleys controlled the Empire State Building, along with a string of NYC hotels, but by 1989, Harry was very ill and Leona was doing time for tax evasion. The couple never moved into the Helmsley Penthouse, completed in 1981, and sold it off to Saudi Shiek Saoud Al-Shaalan. The sheik transformed the modern apartment into an Arabian palace over two years, with the help of 27 Moroccan artisans and craftsmen.
Old-world-style American palaces
by Rob Bear, Yahoo Real Estate, May 1, 2012
Photos above provided by: Curbed

So, what are these places all about? Those years around the industrial revolution raised Robber Barons, using everyone else to make themelves rich and show off their new found money. Those spaces that seem unusable are show-off spaces. Victoriana, an era of more is better, bigger is better, periodically carried over to the 21st century.

The pendulum swings back and forth. Everything comes and goes, especially money. Nothing much seems to have changed, has it?

 

The Last of Victoriana

The Last of Victoriana

Victoriana was stylized as modern in the 19th century. The latest and newest interiors were influenced by the manufacture of ample materials used in profusion without any aesthetic considerations. Ornament was almost entirely produced by the turning-lathe. Balusters, spindles, wooden grilles, and dwarf columns were used in profusion without any consideration given to order. Layered mixed designs were used on all vertical and horizontal surfaces. Wall composition and orderly furniture arrangement were disregarded.

Excessive use of unrelated patterned surfaces on walls, floors, and upholstery were common. Walls were covered with wallpaper of poor design, painted stencil patterns, or real or paper-mâché imitation Spanish leather. Windows were dressed with heavy draperies, swags, valances, and jabots, enriched with heavy fringes. The machine, manufacturing furniture, accessories, wallpaper and accessories, all highly profitable products dominated the industry.

profusion of designs

Drawing room in Robert Edis London house circa 1870

According to Peter Thornton’s book 1984 “Authentic Decor” this image depicts the profusion common in Victoriana. The ceiling had stenciled decoration. The deep frieze at the top of the wall was painted by an artist. Gas-piping beneath the frieze was used as a picture-rail. Walls were papered with William Morris’ designs in a pomegranate pattern. The cabinet was ebonized (stained in a black finish) and had painted heads representing the season. Curtains covering the shelves were common.  Floors were covered with patterned rugs. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

These images show layers and layers and layers in design profusion of confusion. Even the most elegant interiors were smothered in mixtures of patterns, designs and color. Every corner, every window, every door had some kind of finish, not necessarily designed to work together.

The Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in  Norwalk, Connecticut built circa 1870’s had the same fate as the Robert Edis house. In its elegance the Drawing room walls, ceiling, floor, all surfaces and windows were covered with fabrics, furniture, accessories and mirrors to double your view. Take a real tour. See Victoriana for yourself.

Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum Drawing room circa 1870

Victoriana ended when it was realized quality of design had gone lost. New ideas of simplicity became easier to live with. And handmade furnishings became important again as they are today. If not for the history of Victoriana we would not understand the importance of uncluttered, organized, well-designed spaces.

Steampunk is designed to be tongue-in-cheek Victoriana.

Victoriana house remodeled to stylize Steampunk

You can have some fun, see Steampunk and roam through this house at www.modvic.com.

Enjoy. If you want to get some Steampunk, call the vendor. The contact information is below.

Don’t forget to leave your comments, questions and challenges. My question to you, what have you always wanted to know in interior design and didn’t have anyone to ask?

Bruce Rosenbaum
President
ModVic, LLC
SteamPuffin
36 Pleasant Street
Sharon, MA 02067
781-784-0250
bruce@modvic.com
www.modvic.com

 

 

Are You A Steampunker?

Are You A Steampunker?

Mighty news is in the works – Victoriana is back. I never thought I would see the day. From all I remember as a youngster, to my concentrated academia and career in the arts and disciplines teaching about beauty, I believed Victoriana had produced some of the ugliest products ever made in history. Like living in “Dark Shadows.” My years of work and study in art, design, and architecture have produced in me a clear idea of how space, color, and unity can be utilized to produce a well-designed and functional environment. Environments like schools, sports stadiums, spas, places of worship, galleries, museums, our homes and more. The list is long.

According to Wikipedia: Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Steampunk involves a setting where steam power was widely used—usually the Victorian era Britain—that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of Steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.

Image below on the left is a handsome 21st Century clock by Roger Wood made in the aesthetics of Steampunk style. Metal and layers. See more on his website. http://www.klockwerks.com

Steampunk garnered its name from the idea of steam power and the inventions of the industrial revolution. It is based on history. Robert Fulton and his steam engine were instrumental in changing manufacturing. Eli Whitney and his cotton gin made extracting cotton from the plant easier. The spinning jenny run by steam made weaving easier. The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in human history.

Image on right is the only surviving example of a Spinning mule built by the inventor Samuel Crompton.

Almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. Machine-based manufacturing became protocol. Victoriana produced thinkers of future possibilities and science fiction, hence Steampunk; layering, metal, designing with objects of technology.

Image on right, Victoriana style, is a Herter sofa made for the Lockwood’s, circa 1867. Two of the sofas can be seen in Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk CT. The mansion is still looking for the other pair. Lockwood is open to the public. www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com 

Remember a couple of years ago in fashion when layering became popular? Now it’s more popular than ever. We discovered layering works, both indoors and outdoors, and it is fashionable. For fashion, so many designs are being shown in layered form.

Free People fashions for Bloomingdale's

2011 Free People on the left in particular.

 

Image above on right: 1905 Duster keeps the road dust from the new automobiles off her layers of underclothing.

Mrs. Lockwood layered in corset, petticoats, slips, blouse and can you see more?

Image on left: Let’s look at Mrs. Lockwood in the 19th Century in the Rotunda of her home,  Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum. Layers once again.  Can you figure out how many layers she is wearing?

Come back next week for another look at Steampunk and Victoriana. How are those layers being translated? Are we heading for another Victoriana or will we stop before it goes overboard? It may be too late!

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