Archive for the ‘Bofill’ Category

07/17/2007

A Starck-designed hotel to go into Mies’ (former) IBM Building in Chicago?

Phillipe Starck’s firm in Paris confirms they are doing work at 330 North Wabash in Chicago. The former IBM building. A great work, with a great lobby, one of the last by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The design work for the New! Improved! lobby was started by S+arck Network, and then continued by Niedermaier of Chicago. DeStefano + Partners is also involved.

Yes, there is talk of a Starck-designed hotel to go in the building.

Through a glass, Starckly

I wasn’t (yet) allowed (by building security) to photograph the pieces. But here’s what it looks like through the glass.


The gentleman caller is sitting on three Mies daybeds, made into one, and bronzed; the cushions are hard, and gaudy. They’ve also bronzed some Barcelona chairs – the steel and the cushions, all bronzed!


The over-sized, overly bright and the wrong color light, elevator signs. So over-sized that they’re easy to photograph through the lobby glass. And gaudy.

I could not yet get close enough with my camera to photograph the inappropriate caulking in the corners of the travertine walls. Here’s one of many brightly-colored pyramid-shaped post-modern floral arrangements in the lobby

Nice photo, huh? Collage-like. Mies’ glass still creates works of art.

But is this style, “The New Gaudiness”contagious? Remember, Trump Tower Chicago is across the street. That green cylinder in the photo above is Trump’s parking ramp. We also find “The New Gaudiness” across from Mies’ Federal Center in the lobby of the tower called Dearborn Center by Ricardo Bofill and, once again, DeStefano + Partners. In that lobby you’ll find a gilded Winged Victory!


A gilded Winged Victory! A bronzed Mies daybed and by the elevators, bronzed Barcelona chairs! Are these supposed to make us feel successful? To me they say ‘nouveau riche.’

The IBM lobby was so classy, so dignified; and the IBM Corporation took such good care of it. Walking past it every day on the way to work at NPR-Chicago, which was nearby, across the river in the great Carbide-Carbon Building, (now a Hard Rock Hotel!) is how I came to love Mies. That lobby worked its magic on me. Different every day, at all times of day. Filled with light and air. Sumptuous materials divinely proportioned. That’s enough for me.

Later I’d have lunch with other architecture writers in the IBM cafeteria on the fourth or fifth floor. I called it the “poor man’s Four Seasons.”

A smart friend of mine, with impeccable design sense, who works in 330 North Wabash, swears he’s going to put a blindfold on the bust of Mies in the lobby, so the ol’ guy doesn’t have to look at what they’re doing to his Meisterwerk.

-E

I posted more on this building here. More photos too.

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