When Patrick Seguin, design collector, dealer and Jean Prouvé authority, told me last year that he had discovered the French architect’s original studio my ears pricked up. When he added, sotto voce, that it had later been used as a swinger’s club, I almost fell off my ‘Tabouret Haut’ stool.
Seguin had been searching for the studio for years. After a tip-off, he took a closer look around the Maxéville area of Nancy in France, noticed the club, called Le Bounty, and discovered that its aluminium shell concealed the 1948 building in its entirety – albeit with some intriguing interior styling additions. Seguin has since purchased the site, restored Prouvé’s demountable design office and will be presenting it at this year’s Design Miami/Basel. Read the full sizzling exposé on pages 56–60 of our July issue.
We also look at the upheaval of another midcentury masterpiece, the Philip Johnson-designed Four Seasons Restaurant in New York. Johnson, a creature of habit, lunched at the same table there every day, kicking off with a single negroni. A ritual honoured on our newsstand cover.
For the past 21 years, the guardians of the restaurant, housed in Mies’ Seagram Building, have been Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini. In July their lease expires and they, and The Four Seasons name, will move on to a new location – yet to be confirmed. The main architectural features of the interior are protected but all the furniture, glassware, silverware and more will be auctioned by Wright on 26 July.
Only time will tell if the space’s second act will be as starry as the first. Aby Rosen, owner of the Seagram, is determined that it will. ‘There will be changes, improvements, new memories for the next generation as well as regular patrons,’ he told us.
A new chapter begins for a third 20th century architectural gem this month with the opening of Tate Modern’s £260m expansion. With W* HQ located directly opposite, we’ve had a ring-side view of its construction for the past seven years. We celebrate its completion on our subscriber’s cover – an original artwork by Wolfgang Tillmans, who has been on-site, off and on, since work began.
Affectionately known to us as ‘Tate’s bit on the side’, Herzog & de Meuron’s addition includes space for dance and the performing arts. Though not, I suspect, the type to interest the regulars at Le Bounty.
As originally featured in the July 2016 issue of Wallpaper* (W*208)