June 5, 2012

Ausgezeichnet! Thost House Crib & Changing Table By Marcel Breuer

breuer_thost_nursery_syr.jpg

One of Marcel Breuer's earliest residential commissions came in 1926, while he was teaching in Gropius' Bauhaus in Dessau. It was an interior and furniture project in Hamburg for Eberhard Thost, and Breuer did at least a living room--and a nursery. The amazing Marcel Breuer Digital Archive at Syracuse University has a couple of photos and some correspondence.

And holy smokes, people, dropsides must be deadly, because that crib is killing me right now.

breuer_thost_crib_syr.jpg

Look closely, there are latches and hinges on both sides. So maybe it converts from a crib to a toddler bed. But the one side's not clattering to the bottom, so maybe the hinges don't go a full 180 degrees. No, they must, right?

I'll guess the crib is painted white with red or something trim, similar to the kids chair Breuer designed in 1923 which is in the Bauhaus Foundation Archive [below]:

breuer_kinderstuhl_syr.jpg

Now about that changing table. Syracuse actually has a photo of a different, sleeker changing table than the one above, and it's credited to the Thost House, too. Notice the drawers in the upper left, for example, and the rounded vs flat edges:

breuer_thost_changing_syr.jpg

So does that mean there are two Breuer changing tables lost to history, not just one? Or was Breuer's Bauhaus value-add basically nothing more than putting a streamlined veneer on an existing form? Either way, it kind of bums me out almost as much as the demise of the playpen.

And I assume all this stuff is gone. But who can say? For an early commission of a modernist giant who walked and built among us, there seems to be very little information available about Thost or the Thost House or its contents.

arndt_thost_carpet_mondo.jpg

But the existence of a Thost carpet by Gertrud Arndt makes it seem like a Bauhaus school project of some kind, and not Breuer moonlighting.

Thost's letterhead has an address, Leinpfad 104, which is a house on the Alster River in north central Hamburg. Here it is on Google Street View:

thost_leinpfad_gmap.jpg

Blurmany. I love this stuff. But from the air, the house looks like a traditional brick prewar, with a box on the back [actually two, but one looks newer, and abuts the more contemporary McMonsterhaus next door]. So maybe the Thosts were pregnant, and asked those trendy Bauhaus kids to do the nursery. If anyone can read German cursive, maybe you can find out.

Thost House, Interiors (1926) [breuer.syr.edu, all images via syr.edu, too]

1 Comment

This makes me glad that I live in the modern era of non death traps ha ha

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