Twas the fortnight before Christmas and I had the New York architect Alan Wanzenberg on the brain. Alan and I have known each other for a decade or so and over that time Remains has been lucky to contribute to several of his projects. Alan loves to talk about big ideas, resolving geometric puzzles of space and use patterns, or leaving satisfying tensions between them. All the while, he succeeds in being both direct and sumptuous in his work.
He came to me with a question a few years ago while we were working on a project of his in Colorado. How could we make appealingly plain and forthright fixtures that would fit almost anywhere but avoid seeming generic and unremarkable? Nothing feels abstract or theoretical about his houses, nor is his work particularly decorative, in the sense of a needlessly dressed up surface. In part, he manages the combination of forthrightness and attractiveness in his work through the use of rich material, and I don’t mean necessarily exotic or expensive material, just plain old rich, like dark chocolate is rich, or lush floor coverings are rich. That project and several more saw the creation of a few core shapes, finishes, and materials that, gathered together, form the kernel of a new collection by Alan, for Remains. Here I am delighted to tell you about the first five. Stay tuned for more revelations…
Our collaboration puts that combination of rich material and satisfying geometric play on view in a series of wood, dark brass, and ceramic table lamps which we are releasing this week.
Now what does that have to do with Clement Clark Moore the author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” better known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”?
Way back when Chelsea was simply called a bit of rural Manhattan above the settled part of the city, Moore’s grandfather built a house and named it and the many acres of land on which it sat. The name Chelsea stuck long after the orchards and manor house were built over. Besides the place name, however, Clement left a full block’s worth of land to the General Theological Seminary, which stands there today between 20th and 21st streets and 9th and 10th avenues. Many, many decades later, with not so many seminarians to keep it humming, the General Theological Seminary has been selling parcels to the Brodsky organization for residential development. Those interiors are designed by… Alan Wanzenberg.
I bet the Brodsky group was happy to see their architect’s name in relation to the sale of a $33,500,000 apartment in this past Sunday’s NY Times real estate section.
Have they been good boys and girls? Visions of sugarplums dancing?