Archive for October, 2009
This fall we hit quite a few Loft Tour’s across the country. The latest hot loft community we previewed is Printers Row in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood hosted by the South Loop Neighbors on Sunday, October 18th. What was Chicago’s printing hub has became the first converted commercial district to now historic residential buildings. This transformation began in 1979 and has evolved ever since. The slow growth has allowed the area to mature, turning Dearborn St. into a main vain of restaurants, bars, and shops. For the pioneers, this is a proud opportunity to show off what they have known about the landmark district all along. Here are some of them. . .
Dearborn St. toward Dearborn Station
New Franklin Building “Memories of Chicago”
Peterson Lofts “Bestiary”
- Donohue Building “Enchanted World”
Donohue Building “Vitality of Art”
Donohue Building “Rock’ n Roll Jewel Box”
- Donohue Building “Enchanted World”
In case you haven’t noticed–these days, grey is the new black. But black is also back. So with all this grey and black coming from fashion and decor. . . we have got to add a bit of color somewhere from keeping things from getting to dull! One of my favorite shades of the moment to inject into all these dark neutrals? A gorgeously rich indigo blue that’s just light enough to provide a pop of color without it seeming too out of place. . .
The runway example we have comes from Devi Kroell’s Fall ‘09 RTW collection. A well put-together ensemble of simple but classic lines, with almost a deep indigo blue to keep add a luxury. The same can be said for this room featured in Australia Vogue Living. Layers of beautiful greys and touches of black, but just the addition of the throw pillows in blue make it ever so much more interesting. You could also try one of the hottest colors of the moment for fall–a burnt orange–and it would look fantastic.
For the past ten years, behind the brick walls of an industrial building in the Irving Park section of Chicago, the Grammy Award-winning, genre-bending Wilco, and many of their musical guests, have been not-so-quietly making music.
According to Jason Tobias, the band’s tour manager, who also handles the Wilco Loft, “Not a lot of people know where it is exactly. The neighborhood allows the Loft to keep a low profile, which is essentially the desired effect. A few die-hard fans know and have been pretty cool with keeping it the secret it is intended to be.”
Anyone with a DVD player, however, can go inside the Wilco Loft—it served as the backdrop for Sam Jones’s 2002 documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, filmed during the tumultuous production of the band’s near-mythic album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. That album, famously dropped by the band’s label for being “uncommercial,” went on to become Wilco’s biggest commercial success. So, it’s no wonder the band continues to record there. Frontman Jeff Tweedy invites local and like-minded musicians to share the space’s ability to produce incredible sound.
Just last year, musician Andrew Bird spent four days recording at the Loft. He spent the entire first day arranging the studio space just to get the right violin sound. Using microphones placed around the room, he was able to pick up the acoustics of his violin as well as the sound of the amps bouncing off the walls. The sixty-plus guitars sitting around the room all hummed along, as the vibrations from everything else shook and resonated the steel strings, adding even more texture to the sound. The Loft is, essentially, an instrument of its own.
Somehow getting the strings of 60 guitars to vibrate together, without ever touching them, might seem fantastical, but the Loft’s “brick box” layout allows for such playful effects. “The stairwell, elevator, and bathroom have all been utilized for specific sounds while recording,” says Tobias. Grocery-carrying neighbors have been known to take the stairs when Wilco is recording in the elevator.
So the building itself actually shapes the recording? Yes and no, answers Tobias. “We have built out some things here and there to make it a bit more functional for recording, but most of the uniqueness comes from the gear.”
Forget bric-a-brac; Wilco’s “gear” crowds every inch of the space—pianos, keyboards, sound boards, guitars, amps (new and old) fight for elbow room over a mishmash of traditional Oriental rugs. A row of communal bunk beds lines one end of the room, perfect for creative catnaps or to houseguests before and after tours, but no one sleeps there on a regular basis.
Although categorized as a live/work space, the Loft is conveniently within walking distance from where Tweedy lives, so the space is mostly work.
While many musicians choose to set up shop in a living room, bedroom, or basement because of a lack of other options, Wilco’s decision to create music in their own self-sufficient live/work space has definitely worked in the band’s favor.
And why not take the reins of their own recording? Tweedy and his bandmates know how much recording studio fees add to the unnecessary pressure to make every minute in a rented studio count. The purchase of the Wilco Loft was not just a stroke of creative genius, but a wise economical move. Turns out Tweedy and his fellow Wilco members are also very shrewd businessmen.
Having access to one’s own studio also changes the entire process of creating an album, notes Tweedy. With an extended period of time for the recording process, each member of the band has that much more time to experiment with the band’s museum-quality collection of interesting and ultra-rare instruments.
Feel like creating bold imagery out of raw sound, as the band did on A Ghost Is Born? Alter the levels with an MCI soundboard. Want to capture a shift of tone with lyrics like “she begs me/ not to hit her”? Reach for that rare 1965 Fender Jazzmaster—or experiment by being less “experimental,” as they did with their 2007 release, Sky Blue Sky. “From old radios, classic amps, posters, vintage recording equipment, hundreds of new and vintage guitars and drums, [the Loft] is basically a candy store for musicians,” notes Tobias.
The variety of items used to produce and distort sound is fitting, because, as Tweedy explains, “the nature of my musical interest is to be pretty curious and to shift.” Just like the everchanging, unintentional design of the Wilco Loft itself.
“The space is constantly evolving,” says Tobias. “During the ‘Yankee period’ things felt open and spacious, and now things are a lot more condensed, due to acquisitions. If something needs to be moved or set up in a specific place, something else needs to be moved in order to accommodate it. It’s a constant challenge to make it spacious, organized, and functional.” Wilco (the album), the band’s seventh album (released on Nonesuch Records), includes a track called “You And I,” featuring Canadian chanteuse Feist, that was recorded entirely in the space. This time around, the band was able to truly “sculptthe sound” according to Tweedy. Turns out the seventh member of Wilco is the Irving Park Loft itself.
Story by Caroline Henley
Photography by Charles Harris
On Sunday October 18th, Duane Park, a not-for profit organization that was founded in 1994, hosted their 10th Tribeca Loft Tour. Some of the loft buildings have been around since the mid-1800’s. Many of the buildings facades and some of the core structural elements showcased these time periods. There were converted warehouses, most of which had classical elements in the Renaissance or Romanesque style, although there were a few that had a French derived Neo-Grec aesthetic. These various architectural trends from the past can be seen in the original ceiling beams, unusual window treatments, ornate columns, and vaulted detailing. The original purposes of the buildings ranged from old spice market factories, garment industrial manufacturers, paint makers, and, even, business oriented fields, such as the old American Express headquarters.
Personally, it was a privileged and treat to visit these historically rich homes that had not attempted to cover up their past. It’s not ever day that you enter someones home and see ancient paint spattered all over the wooden floors. Enjoy!
An Artist’s Loft:
Loft completed by Dean/Wolf Architects:
Photographer, journalist, and connoisseur’s Loft featuring Valerie Carmet’s lovely mosaic tiling:
Architecture designed by Acheson Doyle Partners Architects P.C & Design, construction, and contracting by European Interior Concepts, Inc.
Photography by Linden Hass
Last Thursday German luxury brand Rosenthal hosted their concept store launch at The Plaza, featuring images from their EGO photography campaign shot by Karl Lagerfeld which showcases the brands innovative and design-driven tabletop culture.
According to Lagerfeld, “On one hand, I love this brand… on the other, I am also interested in the work as a link between beauty and functionality.” Rosenthal USA President Glenn de Stefano feels it’s “an opportunity to express Rosenthal’s artistry and make it accessible and available to those who understand and appreciate it” along with other esteemed stores within the Grand Concourse walls at the The Plaza.
With contemporary porcelain, stemware, tabletop, and homeware accessories that combine traditional design with avant-garde style, the 130-year old design house has collaborated on pieces showcasing an extensive list of architects and artists including Walter Gropius, Timo Sarpaneva, Raymond Loewy, Salvador Dalì, Jasper Morrison, Paul Wunderlich and Patricia Urquiola.
Photography by Patrick McMullan Company
Sometimes all you really need in a room is a fresh white palette to work from. And, while white invites so many possibilities and opportunities to switch up styles and palettes, it can often look best with just that one shot of color…
This all white ensemble from L’Wren Scott’s spring collection practices this theory to perfection as does this simplified interior via Simon Watson. Using different textures of white in an interior adds interest and warmth. From the paint to the sofa and rug, the color unifies and softens this modern space. Even the addition of white flowers adds a welcome touch to the room! And, all it really takes to keep things from being too boring is that simple shot of chartreuse green. A perfect contrast in a rich velvet – or in the case of Scott’s ensemble a bold ruffle – that additional color is the finishing touch.
The Vianese architect Alexander Loebell proves it’s not impossible to raise a family in a loft.
Photography by Christopher Theurer
While my posts here have so far only reflected rooms based on runway looks, it’s very obvious that runway designers also get their inspiration from the interior design world. Whether through textiles, color and style trends, or materials like this…
The runway look from Brian Reyes‘ Fall collection clearly takes its inspiration from the natural pattern of marble– a smart way of creating a luxe look even out of the most simple material. After all, what’s more luxe than a bath that takes full advantage of head to toe dramatic, cool, glamorous marble?
While color is always a wonderful thing in a room, I have to say that layering neutrals in different textures and tones always creates such a soothing space, which is why I’m loving this look from Celine’s 2010 Spring Collection paired with one of my very favorite dining rooms scanned from an older issue of Elle Decor.
Those worn in campaign chairs get me every time! Celine’s runway looks consisted of layers of neutral leathers, suedes, chiffon, and more – this ensemble was just one of many with a similar style. The dining room does the same, layering different wood tones with those leather chairs and neutral accessories to create a simple palette that is all about shape and texture. Without too many colors to distract the eye, the lines on the floor, created by the chairs, inset in the table, the bookshelves, the cabinets… all the way up to the ceiling. We see it all, just like the shapes in the runway look stand out without being highly contrasted. Don’t you just love going back to basics?