William Stevens Bridge, North Carolina

"The best thing a human can do in life is to get rid of his separateness or selfness and hand himself over to the nature of things—to this mysterious thing called the Universal Order, that any artist must sense...In human nature we are consciously trying to achieve an order. And we are distressed by it, by the task of patterning it on an Order that is not personal or human—that is what I call spiritual." - Will Stevens

photos by David John

While driving through the mountains of Western North Carolina last week, I discovered this incredible modernist bridge structure that lead to a pottery store.  On the front of the bridge, a large sign read, Will Henry Stevens Bridge. The sun's afternoon intensity cast incredible geometric shadows on the interior of the bridge floor.  The bridge was originally built in 1807 in New Hampshire, and then later brought to North Carolina where it was restored.  This bridge has no metal supports, and is a testament to craft, natural materials, and vision. Named after Will Henry Stevens, a modernist painter and naturalist, who was influenced by the works of  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman. - David John


If he tells me all he knows 'bout the way his river flows
And all night shows 
In summertime. 

Gonna see the river man 
Gonna tell him all I can 'bout the ban 
On feeling free.- Nick Drake

now listening to, Recondite here.


A conversation with Edition Modern : Pierre Chareau

"Pierre Chareau followed his idea of strict lines and pure design from his architectural knowledge to design his lamps & furniture, as well as using the material that was involved in the structure."  - Denis de la Mesiere of Edition Modern

"NO house in France better reflects the magical promise of 20th-century architecture 
than the Maison de Verre." - Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Times (here)

"NUN table lamp with the black base"
 photos by David John

Maison de Verre is a place I've heard many reference, but honestly I've very little knowledge about the 20th century designer, Pierre Chareau, or the modernist home he created for the Dalsace family in the early 30's.  Last summer, on a chance meeting, I ended up having a discussion with Maryanne, who works with Edition Modern, a L.A. company producing re-edition works of iconic French designer Pierre Chareau.  I immediately asked her if I could pay the studio a visit.  After many emails and weeks later, we made arrangements to meet in the fashion district of downtown on the 3rd floor of an industrial building. She introduced me to Denis de la Mesiere, the owner and creative force behind the company.  His desk was surrounded by dusty paintings, towering sculptures from other eras, and lamps in different stages of completion. We spoke for a couple hours about why he decided to start producing the Chareau lamps, the production methods, the difficulties of working with alabaster, and his personal history as a furniture dealer.

Pierre Chareau is known for creating theParisian avant-garde home, Maison de Verre, aka the House of Glass, out of industrial materials, towering glass blocks and genius mechanisms.  It was, and still is an exercise in light, shadow, function, and a new approach to living.  Edition Modern's lamps are created in downtown L.A. by different skilled artisans in the style of Pierre Chareau.  Utilizing the unforgiving material of steel and wood, and combining it with ephemeral alabaster stone creates a sense of unparalleled energy when illuminated.  The collection consists of wall sconces, table lamps, floor lamps, and ceiling mounted lighting.  Works from the collection can be customized, whether in scale, or colors, or wood selection. Currently, Edition Modern's lighting can be seen at Alexandre Ferucci's new space on Beverly and Martel, and J.F. Chen houses some of the works at his Highland location.  

Into the gentle light, and deeper into the shadows, my friends! 
Thanks again you Denis and Maryanne for the coffee and conversation.  - David John 

 The "Potence Table Lamp"

Tell me about Edition Modern and the re- editions of Pierre Chareau lighting? When and how did the company begin?  

Denis: It began 12 years ago when I decided to open a showroom on Beverly Blvd, and I began representing French furniture brand like Hugues Chevalier, and other brands inspired by the Deco period. When we opened the showroom, we quickly realized that we would need accessories, but also more specialty lighting. So, we started to browse in Europe for lamps that would fit the standard of our couture lines of furniture. Quickly we fell in love for a company that re-editioned Pierre Chareau lighting. After few years of working with them, we decided to produce the line in the States for many reasons. The Euro started to get higher and higher, and the impossibility to have the lamps wired with UL listed, shipping cost, etc… We also really wanted to adapt 1920’s Chareau ‘ s work to the US market and also to new lighting technologies (LED, etc…).  The success came quick with client like Joel Chen, Waldo Fernandez, and more. 

Are the lamps made in Los Angeles?  What materials are they made from, and how many people work on a single light?  

All parts are made in LA except for the stone. The only place to find the white alabaster is in Europe. Very few countries are still producing the stone. Not a big market because the fragility, the softness and the sensibility to heat. Alabaster is also made of 80% of water.  We can guess that there is a dozen artisans working to make a single lamp: the metal fabrication, wood carving and finish, metal powder coating, metal oxidization or plating, wiring, mounting, etc...   

Why did you become interested in the works of Pierre Chareau? Is there a connection to the family?   

As an all time aficionado of the Deco period (1920-1940), I went little by little to the Modernism side of this era. Starting with the German Bauhaus to the French Modernists like Frank, Sornay, Le Corbusier, Mallet-Stevens and off course Chareau. So much to learn about…….  

Alabaster.  Is this the original material Chareau used, and what is the nature of this material? Where is the alabaster sourced?  

The alabaster we used for our lamps is white alabaster the same that Chareau used for his lamps. As I said earlier, there is still a small production in Europe.  

I've read the one of Chareau's last projects was the studio of the painter Robert Motherwell in East Hampton. Do you know anything about this work, or have any photos?

DenisL Chareau was Jewish and he was forced to live Europe during WW2. He came to NY with his English wife. He did some work there, sometime with in coordination with other designers and architects.  

On the worktable, sits the book written about Pierre Chareau's masterpiece,  La Maison de Verre Hardcover by Dominique Vellay (Author) , Francois Halard (Photographer)

another book on Pierre Chareau by Brian Brace Taylor, here

Catching the sunlight....
The Alabaster shades used for the "Block Sconces"

the wood base of the "Nun Floor Lamp"

In the corner of the Edition Modern studio, 
an old chair with geometric alabaster shapes on a torn chair

Visit Edition Modern's site here.

For more information on Pierre Chareau, watch this video here on Maison du Verre


(new) Textiles & (old) Paintings

Separate or combine 
I ask you one last time 
Did I hold you too tight?
Did I not let enough light in? (here)

1. "A new collection of fabrics inspired by the mystery of Istanbul and Anatolia was unveiled by New York-based Zak+Fox at the start of October. Simply entitled Haz, the Turkish word for ‘enchantment’, the latest collection examines Ottoman-era embroidery, Central Asian carpet patterns, and renders tradition through a modernist’s lens. 

The collection includes four new patterns, that will be available in a variety of colorways: ‘Khotan’ adopts its name from the style of rug that inspired it, creating a stunning rendition that exemplifies the look, and spirit, of an exquisite antique rug. To accompany the structured composition of ‘Khotan’ is ‘Pom’, a small-scale print that revels in its simplicity. Its dancing pomegranate motif was discovered on a century-old carpet, though its real beauty rests in its minimalistic form. ‘Pom’ is Zak+Fox’s first print to ever feature a border, which runs on both sides down the length of the fabric, making it an ideal match for drapery."

"Fiene was known primarily for his varied printed works, including lithographs and etchings. 
His notable work includes cityscapes, views of New York City 
in particular, landscapes and other figural art."

2. Ernest Fiene (American, 1894-1965) 
Untitled, 1923 Oil on canvas (framed) 
Signed and dated 24" x 20" ,Provenance: Private Collection, New York  
Auction Date: Sat, November 16, 10:00AM  Estimate: $800 - $1,200  (via RAGO here)


new work by 
Doug McCollough 

Very much looking forward to seeing Doug McCollough's latest works installed tomorrow night, and open for appointment.. See you there - David John

more info on his site. 

"Boys get discovered as winter melts 
Flowers competing for the sun" 

Winter is approaching.  
A trip to the mountains of North Carolina awaits later this month. 

1. Casamidy Venezia Lantern.
2. Philip Guston (American, 1913-1980) Untitled, 1963 Lithograph Signed, dated and numbered 5/20 25 3/8" x 33 5/8" (sheet) Provenance: Private Collection, Princeton  Auction Date: Sat, November 16, 12:00PM  Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000 via RAGO Auction

Boys get discovered as winter melts 
Flowers competing for the sun 
Years go by and I'm here still waiting 
Withering where some snowman was
Mirror mirror where's the crystal palace. (sing along)


Tony Smith: Maze @ Matthew Marks Gallery, LA

In a certain sense it is a labyrinth of the mind. 
You can see that it becomes quite complex,
but at the same time everything falls in very, very simply. - Tony Smith


Detail of Maze 1967 Steel, painted black 

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Tony Smith Maze, the next exhibition at his gallery at 1062 North Orange Grove, Los Angeles. This is the first time the sculpture will be exhibited in over 25 years.  Maze, 1967, is ten feet wide, fifteen feet long, stands nearly seven feet tall, and weighs 9,000 pounds. The sculpture’s four rectangular blocks of black painted steel, arranged in symmetrical opposition, fill and divide the room, creating a sequence of inner and outer pathways. Discussing Maze in 1967, Smith said, “In a certain sense it is a labyrinth of the mind. You can see that it becomes quite complex, but at the same time everything falls in very, very simply.”  Also included in the exhibition will be a selection of small-scale bronzes and paintings made between 1955 and 1968.  

"After supporting himself and his family as an architect for twenty years, he began to focus on painting in the mid-1950s and turned to sculpture later in the decade."

Generation 1965 Cast bronze, black patina 30 x 35 1/2 x 35 inches 

Tony Smith Maze will be on view at 1062 North Orange Grove, Los Angeles
October 5 through December 21, 2013

I'm in your landscape 
And I don't want to go back to mine Back...  
I look around for a plot to claim 
Build a home, and have it all. (glasser, landscape)

November is for chasing the fading light. I took a quick trip to Berkeley, California this past weekend, where the trees were burning with fire stained colors, a slow cascade to the ground, in preparation for winter.  Glasser's latest album, "Interiors" is playing in the studio, full of intent, melodic confusion, and vocal clarity. The beat moves on, on, and on ( until off) and carries on over the hills as the sun begins to rise this very morning. - David John 

1. Kim Fisher, painter

2.  Since 1997, Tracey Reinberg worked with some of the most venerable names in the contract furnishings industry: Knoll, Maharam, Designtex, among others—providing impeccable motifs for their fabric and wallcovering lines.  While living in the Southwest of France from 2008 to 2010, she was finally able to move forward with her long-held desire to produce a line of cement tile, a material with which she was familiar and had always admired from her childhood in San Antonio, where cement encaustic tile is widely used in the gorgeous Spanish Revival architecture so prevalent in the area. Working with one of the most respected factories in Morocco, Tracey now brings you Kismet Tile.

Kismet Tile is cement tile crafted according to traditional materials and methods but with bold, modern motifs. Still there, however, is the intricacy of patterning and possibility which makes the traditional designs so compelling.


AD Allemagne, 
Nov 2013 Pierre Yovanovitch 

AD Allemagne, 
Nov 2013 Pierre Yovanovitch 


DISC Interiors on Remodelista 
"An LA Kitchen Goes Green"

"We searched every green tile in the city. Finally, we found Waterworks' Architectonics tile and were absolutely mesmerized by the deepness of its green."

Our latest DISC Interiors project was posted on Remodelista this week!  Always honored and excited to be part of Remodelista's site, and looking forward to their LA Market coming in December. More details to come...  - David John

 "LA-based DISC Interiors chose the color green as the starting point for their design of vegan food company Gardein's LA headquarters. In pursuit of the perfect shade for the industrial loft space, designers David John  and Krista Schrock went on a green mission. As David John explains, "We searched every green tile in the city. Finally, we found Waterworks' Architectonics tile and were absolutely mesmerized by the deepness of its green." The glossy clover-green tiles now serve as a backdrop for the flexible work space, which functions as an informal tasting kitchen (with a roster of celebrity chefs passing through); DISC also designed a modern office space upstairs.

Visit DISC Interiors. 
Photography by D. Gilbert.

Our version of a California office space, and conference area.

 "An informal lounge area features two Jonathan Adler Brass Teardrop Tables and a metal-framed rolling garage door that opens onto a small garden area."