IDEAS IN DESIGN
With an exhibit, a designer receives recognition for her gift to Modernism. In 1940, Swedish industrial designer and architect Greta Magnusson Grossman landed in California, where she was one of the first women to bring modern Scandinavian designs to the U.S. From insect-inspired lamps to homes on stilts, Grossman’s playful asymmetry and juxtaposition of materials were often imitated but never duplicated. She retired in the ’60s, leaving almost as abruptly as she came, and her legacy was all but forgotten. Now, 50 years later, New York gallery R 20th Century is hosting a retrospective titled “A Car and Some Shorts” (through June 22), with more than 50 pieces on display.—B.L.
Long before public interest was paired with design, architect A. Quincy Jones was tackling the ways architecture could bring people together. His first major museum retrospective, “A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living,” which runs May 25 through Sept. 8 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, uncovers the under-recognized architect’s collaborative practice and emphasis on designs that uplifted quality of life, particularly for a postwar middle class in search of good affordable housing. “Jones was committed on a deep level to the betterment of society,” says guest curator Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher of SFMOMA. Newly commissioned life-size photographs let visitors experience Jones’ signature expansive interiors and maximal communal space. On view is a spectrum of Jones’ projects (he built more than 5,000): the homes of Gary Cooper and art collectors Frances and Sidney Brody, a housing cooperative in the Santa Monica Mountains, and Herman Miller’s expanded headquarters, to name a few.—Carren Jao
A leading landscape firm tills the soil of its own rich history. In Garden Park Community Farm (Princeton Architectural Press), landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz showcases 12 projects that represent its brand of carefully contextualized work. According to the book’s editor, Stephen Orr, “Narrative is the driving force of their design.” Rather than altering the landscape, each of the studio’s schemes reveals and enhances the site’s preexisting narrative. Taking into account every detail, from hydrology to wildlife to human influence, the projects connect the natural environment to the people who inhabit it.—B.L.
PHOTOS: A. QUINCY JONES, COURTESY HAMMER MUSEUM. R 20TH CENTURY, SHERRY GRIFFIN. NELSON BYRD WOLTZ BOOK, TOM HAYES.
Meet an unsung hero of L.A. style.