Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Few Found Objects

Had these photos I took sometime during December of last year and thought I would post them with a few comments. All of these items were basically free.

The first is an Eames knock-off that I found on the curb near my house. Not in bad condition - the shell doesn't have any tears or bad scrapes. The legs are a little rusty but I think this chair has spent the last few years outside. We've had it a while - it lives near the sliding-glass door that enters the house from the carport.

Slightly to the left of the chair is the doorway and the original doorbell. I'm not sure if I ever took a photo of it so thought I would post. When we moved into the house the doorbell was painted a matching Kelly green with the trim. It took a bit of scraping to get the original pot metal to show through - I also found an inexpensive doorbell switch to replace what was in there so the button is a new replacement.

I think it's fairly unusual but definitely vintage and probably the original doorbell for the house.

Finally, while rooting around in the basement I found the Howard Miller clock - the balls and stems have been hand-painted the hideous blue and the cord needs replacement. The hands are also a little beat-up but I think this clock is entirely restore-able (another project - yeah I know). I'm not sure what the original color of the balls were - welcome to some recommendations?

It's currently living to the right of the fireplace but will probably get moved. Anyway, that's all for now.

-- John

Thursday, October 6, 2011

MODA Exhibit - Passione Italiana - Design of the Italian Motorcycle

Earlier this year I hit an exhibit at MODA (the Museum of Design Atlanta) - this was in conjunction with a Yelp event.

First a couple of words on each - MODA was formerly the Atlanta International Museum and was located in the Suntrust Towers next to the Marriott Hotel downtown - it occupied two floors with offices and an exhibit hall on one floor and about the same space on another floor. I know a bit about it since I worked on two exhibits there: "Pop Goes the Plastic" (with my now-neighbor John Stephens) and "The Art of the Ndebele" (an exquisite show displaying this South African tribes' Mondrian-ish artistic forms and handmade articles). The last exhibit I saw at the old location featured the design work of Marcel Breuer including furniture pieces and some architectural renderings (plus a model!) - great stuff and of international quality. The new location is right across the street from the High Museum of Art on Peachtree Rd, so if you have time to visit both I would recommend it.

View from street level of the High Museum
As you walk up to the new building you get a great view of Midtown and the wonderful Calder mobile in front of the High Museum. MODA occupies the ground floor and seeing this great, little known museum. I love the new space - it's high ceilings and length allow for much larger exhibits than before - the old location used to have to break things up due to being on two floors - now a thing of the past and vastly improved.

The event I went to was held on April 17th by Yelp - if you haven't looked at Yelp yet you should - or you may have and not realized it. Yelp is responsible for much of the localized restaurant review content you see when doing web searches. Basically anyone can go into Yelp and view reviews on just about any restaurant, and many other venues such as retail stores and events. If you register you can post new reviews and let the world know how you feel about a place or experience. Of course many who post are trolls or shills (trolls disparage anything in general - they usually have only one or at most a handful of reviews and you can usually filter them out; shills are paid to either disparage the competition or write "fake" reviews about an establishment - like trolls they usually have very few reviews and they may have recommendations for another establishment - you should also filter those out). As many of you know, I used to be in the restaurant industry so I tend to write reviews of my various "foodie" experiences. Unless a restaurant visit is exceptionally bad or good, I will try a place a couple of times before reviewing (in case my first visit was a fluke - it happens). If you write a lot of reviews you're asked to join the "Yelp Elite" and you get invited to events - like this occasion at MODA - where you can sample things in a private setting among other Yelp members. Besides being in an exceptional venue, there was food to sample provided by local establishments, plus drinks (this night a Martini and Rossi mix that was actually quite good and something I wouldn't normally order). These events are hosted by Kathleen who is the local Yelp mistress/diva.

Enough already about the venue and Yelp - let's talk about the exhibit "Passione Italiana - Design of the Italian Motorcycle." I've always been a fan of older motorcycles - especially Nortons and Triumphs, so it's not wonder I'd be interested in this exhibit. These were bikes raced by Ducati, some in really amazing condition. The photos I took reflect my interest - I don't think I took photos of every bike that was there, preferring to concentrate on the classic bikes (actually the event was so well attended it was difficult to get shots of most of the bikes without a bunch of people standing in the way). Anyway, I'll let the photos do the talking.

Sorry that the photos meander a bit - I did one photo pass then came back once some of the attendees started to leave (you know, when the food and drinks are gone!). My favorite bikes were the 1959 Ducati 200 Supersport and the 1964 Agusta 500cc Grand Prix. I also got into the industrial design of some of the motor and suspension parts (why there are close ups of those).

-- John

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Allure of the Automobile Exhibit at the High Part 18, the 1953 Porsche 550 Prototype

1953 Porsche 550 Prototype

This was the first of the racing prototypes built by Porsche that are usually attributed to their sports car market success. This example is the first of two 550 prototypes built and raced (and apparently the only one to survive) - after a year of development starting in 1952, and winning its initial outing in 1953. Most photos you'll see of the 550 are of the spider configuration (this car actually has a removable hardtop - seems they were raced with or without).

In 1953 the two Porsche 550 Prototypes 550-01 and 550-02 ran for the entire 24 hours of Le Mans exchanging intervals but otherwise running nearly side-by-side, crossing the finish line at basically the same interval from which they started the race. The win was awarded by Le Mans scoring officials to 550-02. The end of the season brought the cars to Mexico where they raced in the 1954 La Carrera Panamericana (the paint and sponsorship reflects that latter period). After that, the cars disappeared with only the original 550-01 appearing in later years in a Mexican warehouse.

I love the lines of this car - you'll often find the 550 as a kit with fiberglass panels - here you'll see the original that started it all. The top speed was 125 MPH with both cars clocked near the limit during practice sessions at Le Mans.

Well that's it for the exhibit - glad you've made the journey with me - I was beginning to think I wouldn't ever finish it. Cindi, in this last photo from the museum (odd "log" bench near the coat check) is certainly glad I'm done!

-- Best, John

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Allure of the Automobile Exhibit at the High Part 17, the Ferrari 250 GT Comp Berlinetta

1961 Ferrari 250 GT Comp./ 61 Short-wheelbase Berlinetta

In the world of automotive racing the Ferrari 250 GT (Gran Turismo) exceeded expections. In an effort to improve handling Enzo Ferrari turned to Pininfarina to design a short wheel-base version which resulted in the 1961 250 GT Comp./ 61 Short-wheelbase Berlinetta (quite a mouthful!). Quite the beauty - sorry about the lack of photos. The High had this one tucked away into a room where I could only get shots from the front. I tried the "wide swing" to get an angle shot and it was just too blurry.

Next up the last car (at last!): 1953 Porsche 550 Prototype