RIPPLED FACADES AND CROOKED STREETS!

Jeff Atlas

Snipes and Snips

 

From the desk of Jeff Atlas

Q: The new SFMOMA is about to open. Any thoughts?

A: The architects, Snohetta, have done some remarkable buildings. Their Norwegian Opera House put them on the international map. Deservedly.

Of course, I will reserve judgement about SFMOMA until it opens, but there is something I don’t understand. The rippled facade is the signature element of the building. Yet, most of it can’t be seen as one walks down the
alley to the entrance. I’ve noticed that most drawings and photos show an impossible vantage point. Unless one is a drone or sea gull, I don’t know how the entire front can be seen. But we shall, quite literally, see. 

Or maybe I am still disappointed: I think it would have been a better idea to repurpose the old Metreon as the new SFMOMA. Gut the interior and re-skin the building, but keep the theaters, which could also be used for lecture halls and special events. It would have cost less and kept the integrity of the arts district. Oh well.

 

Norwegian  National Opera and ballet

Norwegian National Opera and ballet

SFMOMA  Expansion Project

SFMOMA Expansion Project


Snipe of the month:

"THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RICH AND POOR? THE POOR SPEND A LOT OF TIME THINKING ABOUT BEING RICH. AND THE RICH SPEND NO TIME THINKING ABOUT BEING POOR."


Q: I heard you live on “The Crooked Street.” What’s that like?

A: Well, since I have been there for 20 years, it must be great. Actually, it’s alot of fun, along with a little aggravation. People are in such a good mood when they visit. It’s like Disneyland; it’s a happy place. I have met people from around the world. And one never knows what the next day will bring. I have seen unicycles, a parade of SmartCars, and Ferraris from the Gumball 3000 rally.

Gumball  3000 Rally

Gumball 3000 Rally

My favorite memory is the street transformed into a giant version of the Candyland board, to celebrate the game’s 60th anniversary. The pictures look Photoshopped, but they aren’t.

Candlyland  on lombard

Candlyland on lombard

To post comments and questions, visit: caenlucier.com/contact or email at caenlucier@gmail.com.

EBAY'S TREASURE TROVE

Jeff Atlas

Jeff Atlas

"STATE NAMES MAKE   NO SENSE. WE SAY VIRGINIA AND WEST VIRGINIA. WHY DON'T WE SAY DAKOTA AND NORTH DAKOTA!"

 

KNOLL BARCELONA OTTOMANS

KNOLL BARCELONA OTTOMANS

Ebay's Treasure Trove

 

From the desk of Jeff Atlas

Right now, everything is Mid-Century Modern. Is it just a fad?

Styles of furniture will always go in and out of fashion. Years ago, I had a teak Danish modern desk that I gave away. Recently, I saw the same one at auction for $5,000. Lesson: never throw anything away!

 MCM is best when it uses the classics, many of which aren’t even from the 50’s. The famous Barcelona chairs and tables by Mies van der Rohe were, in fact, designed for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona.

 Don’t just buy classics; invest in them. When I furnished my place in Napa, I spent two years learning about and collecting the best examples that I could find. Why buy a knock-off Barcelona table, when you can get a genuine one by Knoll on Ebay? It costs a bit more, but will hold its value over time.

 Ebay turned into a real treasure trove. A Cedric Hartman lamp for $200, instead of $2,000 on 1st Dibs. (It needed rewiring, so no one bid on it.) A Milo Baughman console that needed a little polish. A pair of Pace “Spring” tables for $400. 

 I only bought upholstered pieces with the original fabrics. A Knoll Saarinen Executive Chair with the original blue mohair in immaculate condition. Two Florence Knoll Benches in perfect dove-grey suede. 

 My best find on EBay was a pair of Knoll Barcelona ottomans. They are in blue leather, which was a custom order from Knoll years ago. You see them in black, white, red, and tan. These are the only blue ones I have ever seen. 

 So, if you want to get a great MCM look, start with great MCM pieces.

I am thinking of moving to Mission Bay. Any thoughts?

For an area dominated by a hospital, ironically, the whole place is dead. I am glad that SF is creating more housing and, clearly, much planning went into the development. But, recently, I drove through at night. No one on the streets. No stores. No cafes. Nothing. The apartments are occupied, but the space feels vacant of life. 

Will this change? I hope so. It’s still early. While there is controversy about the Warriors Arena, it’s the shot of adrenalin this area needs. Games, shows, and performances will pump economic vitality into Mission Bay. Toss in a few bars, restaurants, shops and mix. Ideally, we will end up with a neighborhood as lively as Hayes Valley.

To post comments and questions, visit: caenlucier.com/contact or email at caenlucier@gmail.com.

SNIPS AND SNIPES

JEFF ATLAS

JEFF ATLAS

IT'S THAT IT ENDS UP LOOKING LIKE A 1940'S KELVINATOR FRIDGE. AND THAT TRULY LEAVES ME FEELING COLD.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL

SAN FRANCISCO INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL

Notable Help

From the desk of Jeff Atlas

I understand you had the good fortune to work with Hugh Newell Jacobsen and Jacobsen Architecture on the creation of your Napa Valley home. I am about to embark on a passion project and I would like your advice on how approach a notable architect.

If considering a renowned architect, here are things to keep in mind:  The architects interview you just as much as you interview them.  They can pick the clients they choose to work with and don’t want to take on someone who will question every decision they make. Don’t hire an architect known for a certain style, then ask for something completely different. Either buy into their overall vision or don’t. If you want a center-hall Colonial, don’t select an architect known for innovative floor plans.  Do try to become a student of the architects’ work. Be able to refer to things they have done in the past. It’s a matter of being an “educated consumer.” They will also appreciate your knowledge and respect your comments as you proceed.  Realize that even the Pope is not infallible. As much as you might admire the work of  your architects, they aren’t always right. Asking intelligent questions is not the same thing as questioning their vision.  Lastly, ascertain how much the well-known architect will actually be involved.  In my case, Jacobsen Architecture is very small and produces only a handful of projects each year. Hugh and Simon Jacobsen were intimately involved with every decision. In larger firms, this may not be the case.

With the current high rise building craze that is going on in San Francisco, should we fear that some of these buildings will not be attractive additions to our city's aesthetic? 

If you are asking to bring out the snarchitect in me, look no further than the San Francisco Intercontinental Hotel that was completed in 2003 .  How does a building like this get built?  What's the purpose of the City design review, if not to prevent something like this.  It's not just that the blue glass would be more at home in Miami.  It's not just that the whole thing looks slightly bulbous.  It's that it ends up looking like a 1940's Kelvinator fridge.  And that truly leaves me feeling cold.

Our newly minted tech friends just completed their showcase home and had us over to see their efforts.  We thought their "no budget" project would have enabled more sophisticated results?

We all know that when it comes to creating interior design, taste without money will probably turn out fine, but money without taste is always a disaster!

To post comments and questions, visit: caenlucier.com/contact/ or email caenlucier@gmail.com.