November 17, 2007

Un. Be. Lievable Modernist Playhouse For Your Rather Spacious Loft

takashimaya_playhouse.jpg

It's like the Farnsworth House without the floods; the Schindler Kings Rd House without the pegboard; the Case Study House No. 21 without the corrugated metal; the Barcelona Pavilion without the chairs [though I guess they're sold separately now.] It's a Judd Sculpture you won't freak out over if the kid plays in it. This modernist playhouse at Takashima-ya in NYC was so spectacular, I couldn't even process it.

But not just because it wouldn't cost me $50,000, but $8,050,000, since I'd have to buy an $8 million loft so I'd have a place to put it. It's because I didn't even realize it was a playhouse until the saleswoman pointed it out to me. I thought it was an insanely overcrafted white lacquer store fixture.

To a kid, though, it's instantly obvious, and they apparently wander in quite naturally and start playing in the little built-in kitchen. It's perfectly kid-sized; from the carport to the bedroom, it's twenty feet of sheer awesome. [With some LED Christmas lights stuck onto the roof; those will have to go.]

I have no idea who built it, but I know who should build an outdoor version in the backyard out of some sweet marine-grade plywood. Of course to do that, I'd have to get a house with a backyard...

update: It was designed by David Mann of MR Architecture + Decor, who is also responsible for the store itself. The closest related project on his firm's site is a Miesian getaway atop a mountain in Palm Springs. Here's my only other picture, a blurry phonecam shot of the inside.

takashimaya_playhouse_int.jpg
Previously: Kid-sized PJ/Mies Playhouse by Rirkrit Tiravanija
Richard Meier refugee builds sick Hamptons playhouse

4 Comments

huh, we were in the takashima-ya about a month ago and I just thought that was a large, wide table/display with stuffed animals and pillows thrown under for display/storage. That's pretty cool. The kid liked sitting on the small size couch and chair. And trying to wrestle the rocking sheep to the ground. The one thing I thought was cool there was the bamboo plywood crib and dresser and the small carts/toy chests/bins made of the same materials. I'm trying to find a source for the bamboo plywood, much nicer than the baltic birch I always end up using.

[that's crib/bassinet/changing table is the next post, actually. -ed.]

OK, since no other architecture geek has chimed in, I'll say that I laughed at the comment about the pegboard at the King's Road house. What always strikes me about the place is how dark and low it is, as if built for a modernist hobbit. I'm sure Neutra moved out so quickly just because he kept hitting his damned head on the door sills.

[it cracks me up how, given the chance to actually live in the modernist icons we supposedly dream of, 95% of people would probably rip up the linoleum floors and "upgrade" the kitchens. Eames House, i'm looking at you. -ed.]

Indeed! On the MCM home message boards like Lotta Living and Eichler Network, there's always a fair amount of blood-letting and incivility between the purists and the modernists whenever someone mentions wanting to do a kitchen or bathroom remodel of their home (I'm usually in the latter camp, as my own remodeled kitchen and bathrooms testify).

I knew the owner of Neutra's Bond Residence here in San Diego until she recently sold it and moved to Silver Lake . Why? She said it was too stressful living in a place wherever everyone felt like they had an inherent right to express their opinion about what she could do to the place (that, and she'd regularly find architecture students from Germany or Japan traipsing through her backyard at 7am, peering into her windows).

[the first time I went to the Eames house, you could still walk around. they just had a little sign asking you to be respectful and not press your nose up against the glass. -ed.]

Oh, and they let you take a picture? I'm guessing from the quality that it was a camera phone pic. While were were there someone tried to take a photo of their kid on top of one of the stuffed sheep, and the sales clerks rushed over at the flash and said emphatically "no photos! please."

[hmm, no one said anything. I was just standing there pretending to look at the crib with the phonecam at my waist... -ed.]

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