“Give me a beach, something to eat, and a couple of broads, and I can get along without material things.” The Santa Monica bus driver who expressed his basic but base view of the sublime to city sage Reyner Banham (who included it in his 1971 book Los Angeles the architecture of the four ecologies), articulates the 20th century chapbook version of Omar Khayyam’s ubiquitous “A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou.” But the sentiments are the same. Happiness is often the byproduct of simple pleasures.
For your scribe, bliss is a glass of Wrotham pinot and a Julie Delpy movie, enjoyed reclining against a Wiener Werkstätte inspired hand-tailored bed rest by Kathe Williams for Neue Galerie. Inspired by Josef Hoffmann’s club chair from his 1913 furniture suite produced by the Austrian family firm Wittman for Villa Gallia on Lake Como, the rest has four slipper-like side pockets, a carrying handle, and is available in four patterns. Your scribe covets a version in Heinz Weingarten’s “Leaf” textile, designed 1912.
Tropical plant fanciers will recognise “Leaf” as the Anthurium. Your scribe spent happy formative years in Hawai’i. Although not native, the Anthurium is emblematic of the islands. The often vividly coloured heart shaped leaf (spathe) is not the flower, rather the tubular spadix hosts the plant’s tiny “florets”. So although it may puzzle non-specialists, Weingarten’s textile title is correct. A circa 1900 plate from the famous German encyclopedia Meyers grosses Konversations-Lexikon illustrates a species of the Anthurium amongst other “Blattpflanzen” or “Leaf Plants”.
In 1910 the Werkstätte opened salons selling fabrics, fashion and accessories. So popular were they that branches opened in New York, Berlin and Zurich. Did the fashionable set who shopped in the salons know their spathe from their spadix? It doesn’t matter. What they understood and coveted were the fresh, fashionable designs by the Wiener Werkstätte. And thanks to the superlative eye of the Neue Galerie shop, we too can enjoy these classic designs. Scroll down for more pattern designs available for the bed rest. DJ