17 January 2011

To Clarify; And The History of the World According To My Memory

I'm not German. Partner-In-Crime is like, 1/4th German but his whole 1/2 of Italian is the most prevalent in looks, mannerisms... appetite. I know I gush over German Modernism, and there's really no rhyme or reason for this. My family on my mother's side hail from the Ukraine and Russia. It's rumoured we are descendants of the ill-fated Romanovs, however when you're dealing in research having to do with Russia, fact is nearly an impossible task. My father's side of the family has definitive Anglo roots coming straight from the Mayflower itself and more notoriously ~ The Bordens of Fall River, Mass. I am a bona fide great great cousin of Lizzie Borden who may or may not have whacked her parents with an ax.

So whats with the fascination with German Modernism? It simply speaks to me... screams at me for the reasons listed in the last post. The colors, the (over)use of formica or melamine... the curves... P-I-C is partial to either the very simple Danish designers, and also the Italian Designers. I can't stand Italian MCM furniture or art. I find it overly fussy sometimes to the point where it defeats the whole purpose of Minimalism.

I haven't adequately researched Mid Century Design out of Russia, however I'm assuming that I won't find much. Stalin crippled the country's economy with the Warsaw Pact, which Khrushchev (I hope I spelled that properly) tried to fix.  Also to his credit, Khrushchev launched the world into space exploration and, obviously, the Satellite Age. The Atomic Age, etc. For having been responsible for the whole movement of which we are all obsessed, Russia seems to have little to contribute in the way of MCM design, art, architecture etc in the styles of which we all adore. Keeping in mind that it was still a Communist regime, the economy was still quite poor and consumerism wasn't a part of daily life. I'm pretty sure that any furniture required by anyone in the USSR may have been handmade, or cheaply manufactured.

The closest form of Slavic MCM I've found is also linked on the sidebar ---> Prague Kolektiv. If you Czech out (har de har har) their site, you will see the similarities between the Czech pieces and my beloved German pieces.

Now, the original owners of this house were German, either immigrated here from there, or 2nd generation. They were active (and still are) in the local German-American Clubs and Societies. This house was designed around their social activities, hence the built-in bar, the sliding patio doors in the bar room that lead out to a patio... the deck atop the carport with a fishpond, etc. They were very into hosting parties for their German-American friends and I would kill to see photos of what swanky goings-on happened here back in the day.

I've also been to Germany a few times, and have spent weeks driving from the Bavarian Alps up to Hamburg. I know I've mentioned some of the little things we have picked up while there - they make it easy because the flea markets and shops we find are amazing, the vendors are super friendly and most people are fluent in English. I'm not going to lie -- the German phrases I know the best revolve around shopping and bartering! The flea markets are overflowing with Art Deco and MCM pieces. These pieces are held dear; so much was lost and destroyed during WW2. When we explain that our house is of this period and we are retro-restoring it, we get some interesting and positive reactions.

What I'm trying to say (as my train of thought goes completely offtrack and crashes into a mountain) is that maybe this house is its own influence. I'm not usually concious of it's German roots, and I can promise that the shelves running around the top of my kitchen will never be host to a beer stein collection, but the idea of large crates arriving from Germany make an ordinary day feel just like Weihnachten!

1 comment:

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

I do think some houses have a spirit of their own. I had always decorated very traditionally till I bought this house, but it begged for mid-century decor. One thing led to another, and here I am today, blogging about MCM like a maniac and buying/selling it like crazy.

I love all the pieces in your post yesterday. Your house must too!