PART ONE: Invitation To A Graphic Memoir, The Charrette Corporation Chronicles

These chronicles of The Charrette Corporation first appeared on the Examiner.com, written by me, Alison D. Gilbert as the New York Graphic Design Examiner. This story includes primary research, most importantly interviews with the founders, Lionel Spiro and the late Blair Brown. In addition, many former corporate staff members, store employees and even customers all graciously gave their time to tell me their experiences and so many wonderful stories.

Examiner.com ceases to exist this month, July of 2016, five and a half years after I started writing for them. The Charrette Chronicles and other posts would perish without transferring them to my own blog. The Charrette Chronicles appears here as a series of five posts. This introduction, Part One, was originally published on December 10, 2010.

The red Charrette van made overnight deliveries of much needed supplies long before the existence of FedEX and all the overnight deliverers.
The red Charrette van made overnight deliveries of much needed supplies from the warehouse in Woburn, Massachusetts to clients in New York City. This was long before the existence of FedEX and all the other overnight delivery services even existed.

INTRODUCTION

No story about Graphic Design in NY would be complete without at least mention of the establishments, new, old, and gone that have supplied the design industry with the many, unique tools it required primarily BC (before computers) and through the transition to AD (age of digital). In compiling a list of them, one store stood out so distinctly that it deserves an entire article, if not series of articles about it, Charrette.

So much research for this designer supplies institution has been accumulated that there is an entire ‘back story’ to this examiner.com series. It details the process of using the Internet to unearth materials and people. Many of them have been extremely generous in coming forward to share their experience and memories about this wonderful but extinct designers supply company that was founded in Cambridge Mass in the mid 1960’s.

This story is an attempt to go back in time and capture the years of glory Charrette held in the industry, in general, and in NY, in particular. It will include facts about its lifespan of several decades and some of the key players involved. It is a very moving story and one that any author can only hope to be worthy of writing.

Since the materials that have been so generously donated, lent and found on-line are still accumulating, this piece will serve simply as an invitation to the graphic memoir of Charrette, It had stores at three NYC locations. First it was on 47th Street, then on East 54th Street (before the brownstone building it was housed in was torn down to make room for the ‘Lipstick’ Building, Finally it was relocated to its homage to modern design, a frontage of glass and red metal in the design district, the East 30rds. How fitting a stage upon which to continue this story.

 
LINKS TO THE CHARRETTE CORPORATION CHRONICLES: PART ONE THROUGH FIVE

PART ONE: Invitation to a graphic memoir, the Charrette Corporation
PART TWO: The baby was born in a Harvard closet
PART THREE: Charrette meets ‘Big Apple’ graphic standards
PART FOUR: The Charrette New York creative culture
PART FIVE: The Charrette Chronicles Synopsis
The Charrette Alumni Group on Linked

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KNOLLING Part Four: From Chaos To Creativity

This series of blog posts about KNOLLING is dedicated to Andrew Kromelow who coined the term ‘knolling’ in 1987 and to Tom Sachs who expanded on the concept of knolling to ‘Always Be Knolling’.

I first heard the term ‘knolling’ around a month ago. I was fascinated by the term and started to research everything I could about it. I became somewhat confused because I could not discern if it was a systematic method of organization or an artistic technique also called flat lay photography or flatlays.

It seems to have started as the former and morphed into the latter over time. ‘Flatlays’ or ‘flat lay photography’ has nothing to do with knolling as a systematic method of organization. But from the way I understand these terms, they can be used as a record of knolling a set of objects. It can also be an art form of pleasantly laid out objects. It is presently and widely used on Instagram, tumblr and Pinterest. The purpose of using these social media applications is a popular means of graphic design layout or brand marketing as shown below. Instagram photos used in an article on Business Insider called, Everyone’s obsessed with ‘knolling’ their stuff and putting the photos on Instagram

I have written three previous blog posts about knolling to get as clear an understanding of it as possible. These blog posts represent my process with this goal in mind.
KNOLLING: Organizational or Graphic Design Layout and Product Branding System?
KNOLLING: Can It Help Organize My Costume Jewelry Collection?
KNOLLING: Social Media Gives Knolling New Meaning

The focus of this fourth blog post is to analyse the original process of ‘knolling’ used as an organizational tool. Specifically, it is about the process which I believe that Andrew Kromelow used to ‘bring order out of chaos’ in Frank Gehry‘s furniture fabrication factory where Kromelow worked. That resulting order prepared the staff for the continuation of a project or the starting of a new project.

I am finding that knolling is also a catalyst for creativity. This is my experience and what I would like to share. Just to clarify, the following video is not what I am writing about. My focus is not on flatlays or flat lay photography. But for information sake, this video, Making a Flat Lay Collage for a Campaign, Brochure or Magazine from StyleShoots by Matt Brasier, explains those terms and their current use.

The following video, Ten Bullets by Tom Sachs, does focus on knolling in great detail.

In my second blog post, I asked the question, KNOLLING: Can It Help Organize My Costume Jewelry Collection? In a word, YES. It can and it is helping a great deal. I am in the process of creating four boards so far:
• a board for my bracelets that holds 48 bracelets laid out in color order as an additional organizational system
• a board for about 2 dozen necklaces, again using color order as an additional organizational system
• a board for earrings
• a board for pins
I am also working on layouts for my hat collection and my purse collection.

knolling my bracelet collection using color order as an addition system
Knolling my bracelet collection using color order as an addition organizational system

The next things that happened was a spontaneous inspiration. Once I had created order out of chaos and could see my things neatly laid out in front of me, I experienced an epiphany. I felt the desire to commence making jewelry. I am not ever sure what the thought process was or if there even was one. I do have lots of broken pieces of jewelry which I hoped to repair some day. I also have a new piece that was missing some stones that needed regluing. The next thing I knew, I had retrieved my jewelry storage boxes from my shelves. I got out my glue and I started creating. I have already created two pieces of jewelry out of one piece and have plans for quite a few other pieces.

knolling my necklace collection using color order as an additional system
Knolling my necklace collection using color order as an additional organizational system
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KNOLLING Part Three: Social Media Adds Another Perspective to Knolling

This series of blog posts about KNOLLING is dedicated to Andrew Kromelow who coined the term ‘knolling’ in 1987 and to Tom Sachs who expanded on the concept of knolling to ‘Always Be Knolling’.

What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs
What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs Posted on the CreativeMarket.com Blog, August 19,2015
BLOG POSTS REVIEW

My first blog post about knolling was entitled, KNOLLING: Organizational or Graphic Design Layout and Product Branding System?

My second blog post on this topic was about exploring knolling as a practical organizing solution. I sought to answer the question KNOLLING: Can It Help Organize My Vintage Jewelry Collection? The second blog post essential showed that it could.

 

REFLECTION

In reflecting on the points which are detailed in my second blog post and summarized below, I concluded that I had a grasp on knolling and that I had created organizational templates using materials at hand to knoll. My solutions are working very well for my bracelets, decorative pins, earrings, purses and shoe box collections. Where it has not worked as well is due to a lack of space and the proper materials to lay out all my hats. But the system of knolling itself has held up to every one of my challenges. In retrospect, ‘Always Be Knolling’ is a great approach to facing my challenges of organizing my favorite personal items for quick, methodical access.
 

THE CHALLENGE AND THE SOLUTION

To summarize, my challenge had been to see if knolling, as coined by Andrew Kromelow and defined by Wikipedia, worked. The steps I took worked. They were:
• to design templates with materials on hand that could organize my vintage accessories collections
• to determine if knolling using these templates could solve my fashion accessories challenge by making my collections easily accessible to select what to wear

I feel it is safe to say that it worked. What do you think from observing the photos, or ‘flat lay photographs’ I took to share the results?

 
KNOLLING, SOCIAL MEDIA AND FLAT LAY PHOTOGRAPHY aka FLAT LAYS
One question remained. Where did ‘flat lay photography’ which came to be known as ‘flatlays’ in the social media world fit into knolling? My next step was:
• to confirm what Andrew Kromelow’s meaning was when he coined the term knolling
• to determine if knolling had other practical uses pre or post Andrew Kromelow’s coining the phrase and to ‘Always Be Knolling’ (ABK), as Tom Sachs suggested
• to find out if ‘flat lay photography’ which came to be known as ‘flat lays’ enhanced knolling the way I had come to understand and use it

ANDREW KROMELOW’S DEFINITION
Andrew confirmed that his coining of the term, knolling was directly attributed to the clean, simple parallel and perpendicular designs of Florence Knoll’s furniture designs. But he added that knolling was a system used for years, as an example, in a medical operating room and other areas where the lay out of tools could make a difference between life and death.

Before moving onto social media and knolling, I would like to provide a few samples of both present day and historical uses of what knolling was coined as, an organizational system. To emphasize, it could even mean the difference between life and death. This concept was emphasized by Andrew Kromelow.

SOCIAL MEDIA TAKES ON KNOLLING
Let’s examine what social media has done with knolling by examining the following samples.
 
PINTERESTKnolling on Pinterest

Knolling On Pinterest
Knolling On Pinterest

 

TUMBLRTumblr: Things Organized Neatly

Things Organized Neatly
Tom Sachs—”Always Be Knolling.“ from Ten Bullets on Tumblr, “Things Organized Neatly”

INSTAGRAMFlatlays

Flatlays on Instagram @flatlays
Flatlays on Instagram @flatlays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLOG POSTS ABOUT KNOLLING
What Is Knolling? The Overhead Photography Trend Explained

What is 'knolling' and why is everyone doing it on social media? By Komando Staff
What is ‘knolling’ and why is everyone doing it on social media?
By Komando Staff

How To Become A Pro At Knolling

mattiasinks:  Sketchbook motherboard  Just discovered Mattias Adolfsson’s incredibly detailed illustrations. Magical worlds herein.
mattiasinks:
Sketchbook motherboard
Just discovered Mattias Adolfsson’s incredibly detailed illustrations. Magical worlds herein.

CONCLUSION
Knolling is a technical, even scientific systemization that has a specific dynamic function. On the other hand, unless they are a record of a knolled exercise, flatlays are a static, artistic event that is meant to be pleasing to the eye usually as a commercial tool. These kind of flat lay photos have become very popular in the design layout and products marketing world. Such is the evolution of things.

What started out as a scientific system for ordering tools evolved into something pretty and commercial, in other words, an advertising/marketing tool. That is the nature of invention. It is not bad. One has the choice of using knolling for either or both purposes. In my opinion, the essential element is to remember knolling’s origins and its inventor. Then one can truly enjoy its metamorphosis without forgetting the inventor or limiting the invention.

RESOURCES AND SOURCES

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KNOLLING Part Two: Can It Help Organize My Costume Jewelry Collection?

This series of blog posts about KNOLLING is dedicated to Andrew Kromelow who coined the term ‘knolling’ in 1987 and to Tom Sachs who expanded on the concept of knolling to ‘Always Be Knolling’.

Vintage bracelets and lots of rings
Vintage bracelets, lots of rings. Can knolling help to keep them organized?
INTRODUCTION

Now that I have a fair understanding of Knolling, I wondered if it might be the answer to this 21st Century woman’s fashion accessories challenge. Could it help organize my costume jewelry collection? Collecting and wearing vintage accessories is my passion and hobby.

I have so many bracelets, pins, necklaces, earrings, purses and rings. I store them in the closet, protect them in fancy boxes and display some of them on my dresser where they just collect dust. That is not why I got them. I love them. I want to enjoy them. This means, wear them to enhance my outfits and show them off to everyone else to enjoy, too.

 

bracelets before knolling
This system makes it hard to quickly reach the bracelet I want to wear and sometimes I am not sure where I even put it
CHALLENGE

It’s very time consuming to find what I want to wear to accessorize my outfits for both daily attire and special occasions. I always forget pieces I have because I don’t see them. In addition, there are so many accessories stored in so many places, I can’t remember where I put them. I also have a problem with my shoes collection.

 
MY INITIAL KNOLLING BLOG POST

After hearing about knolling, I wrote an initial blog post about it, KNOLLING: Organizational or Graphic Design Layout and Product Branding System? I decided to see if knolling was an organizing system or just a design/branding technique. Could it be a solution to my fashion accessorizing challenge or just a pretty way of photographing my collections? The rest of this post and the following posts about Knolling explore the various aspects of knolling and its metamorphosis into flat lay photography and flatlays.

 

WHAT’S NEXT

By Wikipedia definition, Knolling is the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organization. Therefore if I could use knolling as an organizational system, my next steps would have to be:

• to design a template that could organize my vintage jewelry collections
• to display them to see if the process of knolling could solve my fashion accessories challenge
• to determine if knolling had other practical uses and ‘Always Be Knolling’ (ABK), as Tom Sachs suggested
• to discern if ‘flat lay photography’ and social media ‘flatlays’ are actually knolling
• to confirm what Andrew Kromelow’s meaning was when he coined the term knolling

 
ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME: KNOLLING BRACELETS

I decided to tackle one challenge at a time. The first challenge and priority was to see if I could knoll my bracelets. Here is what I did. I took a 24″x18″ office cork board and divided it into three” squares. That gave me 48 squares or 24″ divided by 3 = 8 and 18″ divided by 3 = 6. Since 8 x 6 = 48 that is how I determined the number of squares that would result from this division. I marked off each 3″ box with ribbons both vertically and horizontally. Then I began to add my bracelets unsure that I would even have 48 of them. I still have plenty more to include. But at least the 48 knolled bracelets are easily and quickly accessible.

There is an additional reason I can find them so easily. I employed another element to my jewelry knolling, a color order system. I started with the red ones and variations of red. Then I went through the rainbow adding solid colors and then variations on that color. I can now find any bracelet I want to wear in record time as long as it is included in this set up.

knolling my bracelet collection using color order as an addition system
knolling my bracelet collection using color order as an addition system

MY DECORATIVE PINS COLLECTION

At first, I had trouble with my decorative pins. I thought that the grip template I used for my bracelets would carry over well for my pins. It did not. Once I realized that I should lay them out in rows, I found the solution to this part of my knolling challenge.

My decorative pins collection knolled and easy to find
My decorative pins collection knolled and easy to identify

 
NEXT CHALLENGE: EARRINGS

The next knolling challenges included my earrings, then my necklaces, pins, purses and shoes. Here is the progress I have made so far. How do you think these work?

Earrings Pre-Knolling
Earrings Pre-Knolling System Works Well
Knolling Earring Collection
Knolling Earring Collection Needs Solid Background

The earring knolling project is ineffective. The background on the right should be a solid color so that the earrings stand out better. Also, I still have a lot more earrings that need to be added. I came up with a great solution totally by happenstance. This lampshade is a ‘street find’ and an excellent solution to earring knolling.

EARING PHOTO TO COME

 
NECKLACES

I am finding it difficult to knoll my necklaces because hanging them vertically takes up a lot of room and is not optimal. But it is better than no system at all.

Pre-knolling: Using Necklaces for Decoration
Pre-knolling: Using Necklaces for Decoration
Necklaces Semi-knolled
Necklaces Semi-knolled, Colored backgournd is distracting

Finally I figure out the best way to knoll my necklaces for the time being. It is working okay.

knolling my necklace collection using color order as an additional system
knolling my necklace collection using color order as an additional system

 
PURSES

I decided that the best place to position my purses is near the door since they are one of the last things I grab before I leave the house. Here is my knolled board of them.

IMAGE FOR PURSES

MY ‘FAMOUS’ HAT COLLECTION
I am known for my hats. I love hats and I am almost never seen without one. It’s funny. My mother hated hats; she never wore them. But my grandmother and great-grandmother adored them. In fact, the greater the grandmother the more outrageous the hat.

Knolling hats posed a problem for me. I was able to organized them to some degree. Some are on a plant stand. Some are on vintage hat trees that I found. Some are balancing on my bed frame. I can’t really say that I have knolled my hats. But I can find them easily so that I don’t end up wearing the same one every day.

IMAGES OF HATS

SHOES

Shoes hold a particular challenge for me. I insist upon keeping them in their original boxes. In fact, I even keep the receipt in the box. That way I can refer to when I bought them and how much they cost. The boxes are actually easier to knoll. The shoes are harder to remove from the box every time I want to wear them. Here are the results.

Knolled Shoe Boxes
Knolled Shoe Boxes

To be continued with . . . Part Three, link below.

RESOURCES AND LINKS

KNOLLING Part One: Organizational Or Graphic Design Layout and Product Branding System?

KNOLLING Part Three: Social Media Adds Another Perspective To Knolling

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KNOLLING Part One: Organizational or Graphic Design Layout and Product Branding System?

This series of blog posts about KNOLLING is dedicated to Andrew Kromelow who coined the term ‘knolling’ in 1987 and to Tom Sachs who expanded on the concept of knolling to ‘Always Be Knolling’.

What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs
What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs Posted on the CreativeMarket.com Blog, August 19,2015
INTRODUCTION

Knolling is defined in Wikipedia as “the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organization”. The original phrase, knolling, was coined in 1987 by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor in the furniture fabrication shop of Frank Gehry. Gehry was designing chairs for the legendary, Knoll Furniture Company. Kromelow was particularly impressed with the furniture designed by Florence Knoll.

 

 

HISTORY OF KNOLL FURNITURE

Florence Knoll furniture
Florence Knoll furniture designs which Andrew Kromelow admired for their clean, angular lines.
From http://www.knoll.com/designer/Florence-Knoll

 
ANDREW KROMELOW

Andrew Kromelow especially liked the clean, angular lines of Florence Knoll’s designs which can be seen above. As a result, at the end of the workday, Kromelow would collect all the tools that had been left out in the work studio and organized them in a similar geometric manner then photograph them from the top. No photographs of Kromelow’s work seem to have survived, publically.

Things Organized Neatly
Tom Sachs—”Always Be Knolling.“ from Ten Bullets on Tumblr, “Things Organized Neatly”

The above image from Tom Sach’s, Ten Bullets, #8: “ALWAYS BE KNOLLING’ suggests what a Kromelow ‘flat lay-overhead photo’ might have looked like.”The result was an organized surface that allowed the user to see all objects at once”. Kromelow referred to this as ‘knolling’ due to the idea’s inspiration from Florence Knoll’s design sensibility. The term, the concept and the ‘flat lay photography’ Kromelow made of his arrangements caught on thanks to another person in Gehry’s employment.

 
“ALWAYS BE KNOLLING”

Tom Sachs, an artist and sculptor who also worked in Gehry’s studio, popularized Kromelow’s knolling and his ‘flat lay photography’ process. According to the blog post in CreativeDesignMagazine.com, Sachs created a piece about knolling and adopted the phrase, “Always be Knolling” (or ABK for short) as a motto for his work. By 1987, knolling had officially become a trend. But what transpired between 1987 and 2009?

One wonders because nothing more seems to be available about it again until the 2009 blog post on CreativeMarket.com, ‘What Is Knolling? The Overhead Photography Trend Explained’. Supposedly, this style of organizational layout has been used for over three decades to shape brands and sell products. No examples were available. Instead, decades before the social media venue, Instagram, had the popular account, ‘The Flat Lays’, before the existence of social media at all, and separate from Kromelow’s organizing technique, knolling existed as a graphic design layout and branding inspiration. But it was not known as knolling and it was before 1987.

Pencil sharpeners
Mechanical pencil sharpener boxes pinned to Pinterest. This image is from a series of the blog posts, the Charrette Chronicles on Examiner.com. The image is courtesy of the Charrette Corporation and former art director, designer Johanna Bohoy

 
 WHEN ‘KNOLLING’ WAS JUST A CHARRETTE CORPORATION LAYOUT AND BRANDING TECHNIQUE

The process of ‘knolling’ existed independent of Knoll and apparently previous to Andrew Kromelow’s coining a phrase for it. It was a prominent style designing with type, graphic design layout, architectural presentation and products branding including overhead or flat lay photography. One company that prominently exemplified this pre-knolling sensibility was the Charrette Corporation. The architect  David Paul Helpern, designer of the NYC Charrette Corporation flagship store and the graphic design/branding designer, Johanna Bohoy, the Art Director at Charette’s Headquarters in Woburn, Massachusetts were responsible for its conception. This can be traced back to the early 1980’s rather than the late 1980’s when the term knolling was coined.

There is a series of articles about the Charrette Corporation written by me, the NY Graphic Design Examiner on examiner.com. Many samples of their forward-thinking graphic design and branding style are included. Suffice to say, whether it is called knolling or attributed to the earlier Charrette Corporation methodology, the result is very calming on the brain to observe objects in an orderly rather than chaotic manner. This seems to be especially true for artistic, creative brain dominant people.


 
TECHNOLOGY TAKES ON KNOLLING

To add to this, technology has taken leaps, specifically with the creation of social media venues which facilitates present day knolling. But according to my research, history clearly illustrates that the clean, perpendicular and parallel lined style of graphic design layout, now known as knolling, was not a revolutionary idea and did not begin with Florence Knoll or Andrew Kromelow in 1987. This is not to deny that the advent of social media has allowed knolling to become very practical, even pedestrian in its incarnation as ‘flat lay photography’. Layout and branding are now easily and attractively showcased by Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, pictured directly above and below.

Coffee Stationery / Branding Mock-Up By forgraphic™ in Graphics
What is Knolling? The Overhead Photography Trend Explained
Looking for an easy way to incorporate some knolling into your next project? We’ve got you covered. From CreativeMarket.com

 
CONCLUSION

Life has a way of providing what is needed at a particular time in history. Credit it to The Charrette Corporation, Florence Knoll, Andrew Kromelow or Tom Sachs. They have all played a part in transforming the disciplines of design layout and branding forward to another level of usefulness and appeal in the world of product marketing. But is there more to it than that?!

My next blog post will attempt to answer that question and this one specifically:
Can It Help Organize My Costume Jewelry Collection?

Knolling Orange
From luisamaria.ac on Instagram. Photo from CreativeMarket.com
Another simple but great knolling photo on Instagram comes from luisamaria.ac. Rather than group items by category or type, she created a photograph that was themed by color. This knolling photograph is predominantly orange and features a toy moose, a notebook, flowers and more.

 
SOURCES AND RESOURCES

KNOLLING Part Two: Can Knolling Help Organize My Vintage Jewelry Collection?
What Is Knolling? The Overhead Photography Trend Explained
Knoll
Florence Knoll
Frank Gehry
Andrew Kromelow
Tom Sachs
Ten Bullets Website aka Tom Sachs Working To Code
Things Organized Neatly
Flat Lay Photography
Charrette Corporation Layout and Branding Technology
Alison Gilbert, NY Graphic Design Examiner

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A Cliff May House

INTRODUCTION
This blog post is based upon my studies of architecture, my observations and understanding of a Cliff May House. Although his Mid Century Modern Rancho style homes were birthed in Southern California[1], this type of house sprouted up in the Denver, Colorado area as well[2]. The following is my reaction essentially to his original Southern California work.

California Ranch style home
Interior of Home in Lakewood Ranch Estates designed by Cliff May and Chris Choate

A CLIFF MAY HOUSE
“Once in a blue moon a designer comes along whose work literally manifests the voice of it landscape, its environment and its personality. The homes of Cliff May are exactly what I imagine a Southern California home should look and feel like. They are grand and glorious in their exuberance, capturing the magnificent, warm and sunny weather they share. Yet they are not pretentious or pompous. They do not attempt to mimic anything that came before them. They are exactly as they should be, to me, and are as indigenous as homes in the Los Angeles area could be. BRAVO Clifford May and thank you.”[3]

May Reno
Less is more in a Long Beach, California, Cliff May house. The homeowners were inspired by the simpler lifestyles of the 1950s. Photo: Houzz

NEUTRA, SCHINDLER AND FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

THE ARTS & CRAFTS MOVEMENT
Many other prestigious architects made their imprint on the sunny terrain of Hollywoodland and environs. Most of them did not speak ‘Southern California’ as their primary design vernacular. The work of Richard Neutra[4] and Adolph Schindler[5], emigres from Austria, had an International Style[6] accent. A Frank Lloyd Wright home was always a give away due to its repetitive pattern or modular blocks that sought to create modular building block homes more than focus on its surroundings[7]. As magnificent as the work of the mid-West transplant Greene Brothers was, their Gamble House masterpiece[8] spoke Arts & Crafts movement with a slightly Japanese accent.

The Greene Brothers' Gamble House in Pasadena, California
The Greene Brothers’ Gamble House in Pasadena, California. Photo: Alexander Verticoff

CHARLES AND RAY EAMES
Charles and Ray Eames created furniture[9] that spoke the same design language as May’s homes. In fact, their work can be seen in pictures of his houses. But the Eames Style of architecture was stiff and geometric devoid of a vivacious cheer or embrace to the Southern California sun. There are plenty of Spanish, adobe style, grand and simple homes. But they paid tribute to their ancestors[10]. They were not original.

California Ranch style home
Interior of Home in Lakewood Ranch Estates designed by Cliff May and Chris Choate

HARRY SEIDLER
Other than May, there is one other architect that comes to mind, Harry Seidler[11], another European emigre. He had a transformational impact on the architecture of his time and place. He spent a brief time teaching and imprinting his mark on the United States. But he ultimately settled in Australia changing Sydney’s landscape forever. I suspect he found a receptive environment that was as compatible with his authentic style as May’s was with Southern California.

Harry and Penelope Seidler House. Constructed in brute concrete as the primary residence of the Seidlers in Sydney, it is considered one of Seidler's masterpieces.
Harry and Penelope Seidler House. Constructed in brute concrete as the primary residence of the Seidlers in Sydney, it is considered one of Seidler’s masterpieces.
Credits: Max Dupain

CONCLUSION
Architectural design can be a magnificent obsession. The voice of an architect can change over the years. In fact, it is believed that most architects do not even ‘hit their stride’ until their later years. This is what made Zava Hadid so unique [12]. Zava had a volume of outstanding work to her name before her untimely death recently at 65. Although there may be exceptions to the general conclusions of this blog post, I stand firm in my conclusion that Cliff May sought to bring joy and comfort to the living accommodations of the ‘hoi polloi’ rather than the elite as many other architects tend to do. It could be said that May did, with greater aesthetics, for Southern California and Denver, Colorado what Levitt[13] did for Long Island, New York.

Levittown, developed by Arthur Levitt. Post WWll affordable housing on Long Island, NY.
Levittown, developed by Arthur Levitt and sons. Post WWll affordable housing on Long Island, NY. Credit: Crystal Gaylean

SOURCES AND RESOURCES
Documentation of information and photographs are available upon request.

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The Boys From Brooklyn: Chuckles and Bowties

The Boys From Brooklyn
The eight young men who comprised The Three Chuckles and Cirino & The Bowties, were all from Brooklyn, New York. Some of them had been friends since childhood playing sandlot baseball. Some met in local bowling alleys, a venue of their day for playing live music dates. It wasn’t until Alan Freed, a Cleveland, Ohio based Disc Jockey turned music promoter, came to New York City that a concert style venue became available for these up-and-coming music groups he described as singing, ‘Rock’n’Roll’. [1]

The Three Chuckles Before, During And After
The Three Chuckles During their heyday, before Teddy was lead singer and after the group disbanded

The Three Chuckles originally consisted of Tommy Romano, Russ Gilberto and Phil Benti. When the group started to travel to perform, accordion and keyboard player, Benti dropped out. He preferred to stay home with his wife and children. The very young Teddy Randazzo, a talented accordion player who was 15 at the time, replaced him. Within a year, his singing talent elevated him to lead singer of the group. He was more than 10 years younger than the other members of The Chuckles.[2]

Cirino and The Bowties from doo-wop.blogg.org
Cirino (second from right)  and The Bowties from doo-wop.blogg.org

Their first hit, Runaround, happened to be written by Cirino Colacrai.  Cirino was Teddy’s childhood friend. Sometimes known as Sereno or Serino, he had such a good voice that he was encouraged to form a group of his own. He created Cirino and The Bowties. The group included Cirino Colacrai (aka Del Serino)(Lead), John Granada, Jimmy Piro and Vince “Diddy” Cipoldo.

 

Biography of a Hit Song and a Movie Appearance
In their repertoire when touring, The Three Chuckles,  sang “Runaround”, the song that Del Serino’s had written. “Runaround” became a huge hit and was eventually purchased by RCA from Serino. RCA then signed Serino as a staff writer for their regent label; here he wrote “Foolishly”. Because Serino sang and performed his demo so well, he was asked to form his own group to sing some of his tunes. Both groups appeared in the Alan Freed movie ‘Rock, Rock, Rock’ in 1956. [3]

The Bowties were eventually heard by Jack Hook and Teddy Reig of Royal Roost Records, who signed them and changed Serino’s name to “Cirino” and had him record “Rosemarie”. They recorded four singles in 1955-56 for Royal Roost Records. The Bowties had some other successes besides the movie both groups appeared in.They were on the Ed Sullivan and Jack Paar Shows. “In the late 1950s, the Bowties seemed to slowly break up, as they lost their contract to Roost, and Cirino followed other, more songwriting-type, projects. Cirino’s songs were featured in the movies “Jamboree” and “Country Music Holiday” during the late-’50s, such as “Toreador,” “I Don’t Like You No More,” and “Goodbye My Darlin’.” During the 1960s, Cirino continued to write more pop songs, some of them moderate hits”. Cirino also bought a luncheonette in Redhook, Brooklyn which became a local attraction. Cirino’s musical buddies would often stop by to the delight of the neighborhood kids.[4]

In a similar manner, Teddy Randazzo moved on, leaving The Three Chuckles. He went out on his own. Over the years, he became extremely successful. He starred in several other teen idol movies, sang, wrote over 650 songs, and produced as well as arranged his music for other singers who had huge hits from his music. All of this elevated him to a level of professional accomplishment that few people ever experience. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007. [5]

Rock, Rock, Rock
Poster from Rock, Rock, Rock found on the Mill, Creek Musings Blog Post [6]
Afterword
Totally by happenstance, or was it, on the evening on April 25, 2016 when this blog post was completed, the main Turner Classic Movies entertainment of the evening was the 1956 movie, Rock, Rock, Rock! Write it and they will come . . . .

Sources and Resources
[1] Alan Freed coined the term Rock’n’Roll
[2] The Three Chuckles
[3] Cirino and The Bowties
[4] Cirino Colacrai
[5] Teddy Randazzo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007
[6] Mill Creek Musings: Rock, Rock, Rock Blog Post

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Architect, Zaha Hadid, First Woman Pritzker Prize Winner, Dies at 65

STAR ARCHITECT
Posted on Twitter by Zaha Hadid @ZHA_News
Posted on Twitter by Zaha Hadid @ZHA_News


Posted on Twitter by Pharrell Williams @Pharrell [7]
 

STARCHITECT

Zaha Hadid, the first woman architect to win the coveted Pritzker Prize, has died. In a career cut short by a heart attack at age 65, she had come to be known as the ‘Queen of the Curve'[1], architecture’s “badass”, the creator of starchitecture and a leading luminary. Primarily an world renowned Iraqi-born British architect, she applied her curvaceous sense of design to other design disciplines such as jewelry, creating magnificent pieces for Georg Jensen’s Baselworld.[2]

Bracelet from the Zaha Hadid Collection for Georg Jensen BaselWorld
Bracelet from the Zaha Hadid Collection for Georg Jensen BaselWorld
The Georg Jensen Installation of Zaha Hadid Jewelry
The Georg Jensen Installation of Zaha Hadid Jewelry

“Zaha Hadid’s new collection for Danish design house Georg Jensen, launched this week at Baselworld, bucks the trend somewhat. Her architectural forms are, of course, inherently sensuous, and so it is with the sweeps and curves of her jewels. But the real difference here is that she has devised a collection from a jeweller’s standpoint, considering, first and foremost, how the pieces might be worn.” [3]
 

ARCHITECTURAL “BADASS”
Zaha Hadid portraits 'a la Warhol'
Zaha Hadid portraits ‘a la Warhol’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dame Zaha Hadid, the Baghdad-born British designer has sadly passed away at the premature age of 65. The first female Pritzker Prize-winner architect was commissioned around the world to create masterpieces including the London Olympic aquatic centre, and Messner Mountain Museum Corones. Being a woman and Muslim she didn’t have it easy but it was her strength and lack of fucks to give that made her a true legend. We remember Hadid’s five traits that turned her into a star architect for all the right reasons.”  
[5] From Sleek Magazine, read the five traits at the Resource link. 

Zaha Hadid: 5 Traits that Made her So Badass

LEADING LUMINARY

Pharrell Williams: In Conversation
The Neptunes Frontman Shares His Places, Spaces and Collaborations With Leading Luminaries

Photo Credit: Pharrell Williams

‘Larger-than-life producer, rapper, fashion designer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams’ interest in everything from art and music to architecture and space travel is revealed in these pop images. Showcasing moments at home in Miami and Virginia, highlights from tours to Tokyo and Hong Kong, and collaborations with artists like Takashi Murakami and brands such as Louis Vuitton, these photographs are featured in Pharrell: Places and Spaces I’ve Been, a new book created by the modern polymath and published by Rizzoli.

Recently spotted in the studio with Jay-Z and Frank Ocean, the 39-year-old’s first foray into editing checks in with old friends like NIGO® and Chad and Shae from N.E.R.D., and spotlights Karl Lagerfeld modeling Billionaire Boys Club as well as shots of Pharrell posing with the likes of Karolina Kurkova and Catherine Deneuve in shoots for Vogue, Citizen K and GQ. Other names like NASA and Terry Richardson pepper the credits of this illustrated autobiography that testifies to Pharrell’s penchant for mixing things up. “I have never believed in boundaries,” he explains. “If I was forced to work within them I would already be in a mad house. It’s really not in my DNA.” In this select excerpt, the man of the hour sits down with Pritzker prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid to talk radical design and future collaborations.’
[4]Read the interview by clicking on the resource link.
 

TOO SOON TO SAY GOODBYE

The New Yorker Magazine: Zaha Hadid Was Just Getting Started The New Yorker Magazine: Zaha Hadid Was Just Getting Started 

I would have liked to see what Zaha was on the precipice of beginning, what ideas she would have conceived of next to fill ‘spaces’ and mould matter with her extraordinary energy. Some, I am sure, would have wished to spend more time with her. I would love to be able to add her to the list of other world famous architects I have met. But none of this will be.

It was Zaha Hadid’s time to go and it’s our time to say goodbye. She’s not going to be remembered or judged by the beginning of new heights of even more daring and extraordinary accomplishments. As the rest of us will be, she was taken in God’s time rather than in a plan of our own making. In spite of this, she became an award winning architect, a designer, a painter, even a “badass” and lived the kind of life I would have liked to have. For her, it was a life filled with a truly brilliant career.

 

SOURCES, RESOURCES and ADDITIONAL READING MATERIAL

[1] ‘Queen of the curve’ Zaha Hadid dies aged 65 from heart attack

[2] http://www.georgjensen.com/en-gb/campaigns/baselworld

[3] Wallpaper* Baselworld 2016: Zaha Hadid’s sensuous new jewellery for Georg Jensen

[4] Pharrell Williams: In Conversation

[5] Zaha Hadid 5 traits that made her so badass

[6] The New Yorker Magazine, Zaha Hadid Was
Just Getting Started

[7] Pharrell Williams Twitter Page

Zaha Hadid Twitter Page

Zaha Hadid Architects Website

Zaha Hadid Architects Facebook Page

BBC Radio 4: Dame Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid, Groundbreaking Architect, Dies at 65 [from The New York Times, April 1, 2016]

The New Yorker Magazine, The Abstractionist

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I’m All About MUSIC, American Music History from the 1920’s through the 1970’s

 

Currently, I’m all about MUSIC, American Music HIstory from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. That’s because I am offering my talents and skills as Alison D. Gilbert, Music Publicist to crooner, Keith Galliher Jr. Music and his producer, Clarence Collins, former member and founder of Little Anthony & The Imperials. My activities include representing them on their record label, Imperials Plus Records. In addition, I am their #Ace Detective when it comes to solving #MusicMysteryChallenges on Two Paths, The Internet Radio Show.

Two Paths
Two Paths, The Internet Radio Show Facebook Page

In addition, I designed and manage their website, Imperials Plus Records as well as a manage the collection of related facebook pages linked to their facebook pages below. They include:
Keith Galliher Jr. Music
Clarence Collins, founder and former member of Little Anthony & The Imperials
Teddy Randazzo, Songwriter, singer and teen Rock ‘n Roll movie idol
Two Paths, The Internet Radio Show
Imperials Plus Records
American Music History Recorded
• Alison D. Gilbert, Music Publicist

Alison D. Gilbert, Music Publicist Facebook Page
Alison D. Gilbert, Music Publicist Facebook Page

The Alison D. Gilbert PURPOSE archived on the Alison D. Gilbert Website:

The Purpose for Being
The Purpose for Being

PASSION
MEDIA MAVEN
SOCIAL ISSUES

VOCATION
RESEARCH AND WRITING
• MUSIC AND MOVIES

PROFESSION
ART & DESIGN
FOOD & HEALING
SOCIAL MEDIA

 

I have NOT abandoned my interests and activities from my past passions, vocations and professions. ART & DESIGN | FOOD & HEALING | SOCIAL MEDIA & SOCIAL ISSUES are archived on The Alison D. Gilbert Website or PAGES section and updated on their related facebook pages. There are also numerous other social media venues that provide inspirational information, current issue and other developments.

Alison D. Gilbert, Facebook Profile
Alison D. Gilbert, Facebook Profile

Facebook and other social media venues provide on-going, current information about my areas of interest:

decorative painted furniture
Decorative Painting by Alison Gilbert

ART & DESIGN
• Art & Design-Intro
• Art & Design-2D
• Art & Design-3D
• Art & DEsign- Crafts and Decorative Design

FOOD & HEALING
• Healthy Food
• Kombucha
• Ginger Ale
• Healing

SOCIAL MEDIA & SOCIAL ISSUES
• Survival
• Social Media
• Social Issues

DAILY MAGAZINE AND OTHER DATA
Follow along at the right hand column for:
• Searching for information on the blog or a specific post
• Subscribe tothe Alison D. Gilbert Blog
• The Alison D. Gilbert Daily Magazine
• Google + pages

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Expressions of Creative Passion: Part Two-Heart and Soul

Expressions of Creative Passion: Part Two
HEART & SOUL AS EXEMPLIFIED BY CLARENCE COLLINS AND
ARETHA FRANKLIN

The reason I have put these two artists in one post is because they embody something very special. Together, they art ‘Heart and Soul’.
Clarence Collins is the heart of any musical project he is involved in. That is his nature. He was both the founder and the heart of ‘Little Anthony & The Imperials. Many people do not even know that it was he and not Jerome “Little Anthony” Gourdine who was their founder. When it came time for him to end his years of touring with the group, he settled down in Las Vegas. This is where his path crossed the serendipitous path of Keith Galliher, Jr. and how Keith came to know about Teddy Randazzo’s prolific songwriting genius.

I have written about Clarence at greater length in several of my earlier posts. Suffice to say, Clarence shared his love of Teddy’s songs with Keith. They are all a musical match made in heaven. Today Clarence and Keith are co-owners of Imperials Plus Records. As they say, the rest is history.

Aretha Franklin’s singing is like a fine wine that matures and tastes better with age. It was always superior. But now it is sublime. That is the comparison that must be made to Aretha Franklin who ‘brought down the house’ at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony on December 29, 2015. The President was moved to tears and the audience jumped to their feet cheering. Compare this with an earlier performance of the same song, both below. There is no comparison. But then, I think that Aretha has never done a song badly.

President and First Lady Obama Listen to Aretha Franklin Perform, A Natural Woman at the #KCHONIRS Event 12/29/2015
President and First Lady Obama Listen to Aretha Franklin Perform, A Natural Woman at the #KCHONIRS Event 12/29/2015
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