Yesterday Michael Graves passed away and I think he will be remembered, not for his architecture, but for his championing of universal design. He is part of a conversation of inclusiveness–Design with a capital D should serve all of us. That's so important.
Then I thought–who did some really beautiful architecture and design work that could be called post modern? Work that transcended kitsch? (Please forgive me, Michael Graves.)
And he passed away about a year ago.
His Retti Candle Shop is deceivingy simple, yet very powerful.
The facade is thick like stone but made with metal, I think aluminum. The punched opening creates a figure/ ground shift and draws you into the volume that is the store. It is the play of designing in one material, stone, a heavy, matte one, and building in metal, a light weight, reflective one. The transformation is engaging and effective.
Hollein deservedly won the Pritzker Prize in 1985. The jury praised Hollein as an architect "who with wit and eclectic gusto draws upon the traditions of the New World as readily as upon those of the Old" and "never fears to bring together the richest of ancient marbles and the latest in plastics." More importantly, I think he pulled it out. It isn't easy and many accomplished people, like our local Stanley Tigerman, were not able to do convincingly. (I think this is what Stanley Tigerman was trying to channel in the facades and plans of a couple of his better known projects. Some said that they looked like penises. Perhaps, but I just think they tried to be like Hollein's Retti Candle Shop which is very hard to accomplish. [Tigerman's later work reminds me of more of Michael Graves.])
What do you think?