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Hand-Tufted Magic

“New York, New York” – Frederic Schwartz, FAIA 1989, 4’-8 x 8’-6” wool and silk.

Center for Architecture

Guests view Shelton, Mindel & Associates’ “Yellow Brick Road,” 1986, 6’ x 6’ 100% wool.

Center for Architecture

Lee Mindel converses with the panel.

Center for Architecture

Event: “V’Soske Rugs by Architects: Architecture in Transition, 1979-1993,” Panel and Exhibition Opening
Location: Center for Architecture, 05.20.12
Panelists: Tod Williams, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects; Frederic Schwartz, FAIA, Frederic Schwartz Architects; Henry Smith-Miller, AIA, and Laurie Hawkinson, Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects; Roger McDonald and; Ellen Hertzmark, Directors of Design and Marketing, V’Soske
Moderator: Lee Mindel, FAIA, Shelton, Mindel & Associates, V’Soske exhibition curator
Organizer: AIA New York Chapter and V’Soske, Inc.
Beverages generously provided by: Brooklyn Brewery

Though short in duration, this exhibit (through 05.28.12), the brainchild of Lee Mindel, FAIA, will no doubt leave a lasting impression on those who view the 38 handmade floor coverings V’Soske commissioned between 1979 and 1993 from architects such as Michael Graves, FAIA, Charles Gwathmey, FAIA, Steven Holl, FAIA, Richard Meier, FAIA, Deborah Reiser, Frederic Schwartz, FAIA, Shelton, Mindel & Associates, Smith-Miller + Hawkinson, Tod Williams Tsien Architects, Robert Venturi, FAIA, and Denise Scott Brown, RIBA, Int. FRIBA, and the list goes on…

For those who attended the opening reception – whether on the panel or in the audience – it was an opportunity to recognize, thank, and honor Ellen Hertzmark and Roger McDonald, V’Soske’s directors of design and marketing. Though not bold-faced names per se, the duo are nevertheless credited for inspiring and collaborating with architects at a time when architecture was in transition and the built environment was all but estranged from context and history.

Under their tutelage, Hertzberg and McDonald created an amalgam of thinkers and craftspeople for the benefit of exploring and expressing philosophies in a different way. According to Fred Schwartz, FAIA, “they opened up another dimension of what we could do with texture, material, tufting, and dyes.” Billie Tsien, AIA, remarked that working with V’Soske “opened us up and helped us see what was latent in ourselves.” Perhaps Mindel sumed it up best: “We were safe there. We could express ourselves with Ellen and Roger.”

Mindel, who worked on this exhibit for two years as a labor of love, said that 10 rugs had to be left out due to space constraints. None of the one-of-a-kinds are for sale (though in some cases, two or three might have been fabricated) and are now stored for safe keeping. This is the first time all 38 rugs have been shown together, and Phillips de Pury is expected to hold a second curated show in November. It was Mindel’s wish, however, that this ensemble of floor coverings be shared with museums and art institutes. Unlike anything seen at the Center in some time, the exhibit will be on view until 05.28.

This program was presented as a part of Design Week NYC 2012. Design is everywhere, and during Design Week NYC 2012 the best of design was seen across the City, from the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) at Javits, to independent exhibitions and installations in SoHo, West Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, NoHo, the Flatiron District, and Greenwich Village and the Center for Architecture.