Case Study House 21 Tourists

Winter is bleak, even in The Golden State. To break up the dark nights, Seomi International gallery has gathered together design sculptures that cast a fresh light on its storied exhibition space: Case Study House 21 by Pierre Koenig.

Glowing works by the likes of the Haas Brothers, Jeff Zimmerman and David Wiseman illuminate this 1957 Modernist gem, which sits within a Hollywood Hills canyon. The house – originally commissioned as part of Arts & Architecture magazine’s ‘Case Study’ experiments in low-cost building techniques – has been home to the South Korean design gallery since 2008.

During the daylight hours, visitors to the neatly named ‘A Case Study in Lighting’ show can examine the material quality of the sculptures as they sit in pools of natural light. After sunset, however, the house takes on a new glow.

The sculptures – the only source of light in the building – play with the surfaces of the property.

Zimmerman’s glass orbs and Weisman’s ‘branch’ sculptures create eerie reflections in the glass doors. Thaddeus Wolfe’s glass pendants takes on a gem-like quality, casting soft, coloured pools of colour across ceilings and walls to dramatic effect.

Outside, the combined light from the installation throws geometric forms across the steel-framed gallery’s courtyard, silhouetting the building against the night sky.

‘A Case Study in Lighting’ runs at Seomi International, Los Angeles, until 19 February 2016

Tags: Los AngelesModernismPierre KoenigSeomi International

I was given the Case Study House Tour as a birthday gift. What a great gift! I had walked through the mock-up of the Stahl house created for the show on mid-city modern aesthetics at the Temporary Contemporary several years ago. I thought I had pretty much experienced the real thing. Not so! The key to this house is the location. The glass walls makes the airliner view of the L.A. basin part of the design. The experience of being there is almost as dramatic as the different experiences of looking at architectural renderings--floor plans and elevations--and then of walking into the built structure. I enjoyed the mock-up. I was stunned by the real house. Having Mrs. Stahl and the youngest son there made it even more real. Visiting the Eames home and studio was impressive in a different way. I was disappointed we didn't get to go inside, BUT, again, the big surprise was the relationship of the house to the site. I don't think that any photo or book or video conveys how incredibly appropriate these two kinda Mondrian-abstract-appearing structures are to this Pacific-overlooking site. I had never really thought of this as anyone's HOME. The tour changed my opinion. My first surprise was the startling juxtaposition of the homey decor (think FLW's comments about the hearth, enclosure) to the austere glass and siding. Then, even from outside, it was clear the glass walls served as huge, barely framed landscape "paintings." But, of course, the "paintings aren't naturmort; the site makes it clear that this is raw nature just outside. The minimal landscaping accentuates this reaction. So, just as at the Stahl house, the big revelation was experiencing the site, the house as part of the place. The guide told several interesting anecdotes about Ray and Charles Eames that, again, made the experience of being there even more vivid.. What was it like to LIVE in these incredible homes, to be the people for whom these home were built? Want to experience these homes intimately, directly? Take the tour and find out!

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