4 years ago

May 2019

  • Text
  • Vehicles
  • Marley
  • Neutra
  • Global
  • Photography
  • Urban
  • Bamford
  • Shenzhen
  • Evoque
  • Rover
Shenzhen by Range Rover Sport PHEV | A first drive in the new Range Rover Evoque | Mid-century modernist architecture in Germany | George Bamford on what makes true luxury | Meet moon-walker Charlie Duke | Carnival subculture in Brazil


DESIGN “ONE OF THE CENTRAL TENETS OF NEUTRA DESIGN IS THE BLURRING OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDOORS AND OUTDOORS” Two-thirds of Wuppertal, in Germany’s western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, is made up of parks and woodland, making it the country’s greenest city. It’s a pleasant yet somewhat unremarkable part of the world, and probably not the first place you’d go looking for a prime example of mid-century modern architecture – the kind of silvery glass-and-steel edifice you’d normally find perched atop a Los Angeles canyon, or ensconced between the monolithic boulders and spiky cacti of some Californian desert moonscape. But take a short drive from central Wuppertal (tempting though it is to take a longer route in our luxurious Range Rover Velar), turn off onto a winding forest road and this unassuming corner of western Germany will spring a surprise. Here, concealed behind a dense palisade of trees and hedgerows, lies one of just eight residential villas built in Europe by fabled modernist architect Richard Neutra. A central figure in modern architecture, Austrianborn Neutra relocated to Los Angeles in the early 1920s, attracted by the city’s open spaces, abundant sunshine and sense of freedom. He worked briefly for visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright before starting his own practice in 1929. It was during this period that Neutra designed and built the Lovell Health House in LA, still regarded as one of the most important houses of the twentieth century. Based on early skyscraper technology, and the first American residence to be made from steel, the Lovell House made big waves in the architectural community. It also made Neutra an international name. Over the next 40 years Neutra, often working in conjunction with his son Dion, designed and built more than 300 houses and buildings, the vast majority of them on the West Coast of the US. Designed with much care lavished on light and views, Neutra paid considerable attention to accommodating the needs of his clients. What did they do? How did they socialise? What did they want to see and hear? Indeed, one of the central tenets of Neutra design was that the relationship between indoors and outdoors should be blurred – a terrace separated from the indoor space by a sliding glass wall, an attempt to bring the outdoor environment inside, and vice versa. “I’d say ‘contact with nature’ characterises a Neutra design as much as anything,” smiles Dion Neutra, who at 92 years old still runs the Neutra firm in LA. “It’s always about re-establishing that, in any of our designs.” Re-establishing ‘contact with nature’ may have been something of a chillier proposition in Europe, but nevertheless, between 1960 and Richard Neutra’s death in 1970, father and son worked together on the design and construction of four villas in Switzerland, three in Germany and one in France. “People just started asking for us to design them houses,” says Dion. “I’m not sure what sparked that. All these (European) creations were the result of an initiative launched by these owners, who had heard of us, and liked what they saw.” One such couple were the Kempers, the owners of a successful corset manufacturing business in Wuppertal, who quite fancied a taste of the new Right: Owners Manfred and Sarah Hering have furnished the Kemper House to fit in with their singular design aesthetic 36


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