Archiving the spectacular and kitsch, @retronothetero collates the most compelling interior design and architecture of the recent past. Spanning a breadth of aesthetic styles, the page, run by NYC-based musician Sophie Strauss, oscillates from images of Valentine Schlegel’s living room to lighting fixtures at the iconic San Luis Obispo motel, The Madonna Inn. With a broad focus on American buildings from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Strauss’ visual archive is a joy a to peruse as well as a useful resource for interiors inspiration.
Among the account’s highlights is the plushly quilted, fire engine red office of Hollywood actress Jayne Mansfield, situated within her Los Angeles home, the Pink Palace. Having loved pink since her childhood, Mansfield hired Los Angeles set designer Glenn Holse to craft her theatrical home, including the impressive leather-clad office pictured. Formerly faced with white stucco, Mansfield had the house coated in a pink paint mixed with crushed rock crystals that were intended to glitter in the LA sun.
Elsewhere, posts celebrate the work of the Memphis Group, founded in 1980 by Ettore Sottsass and comprised of Italian designers and architects who collectively disagreed with the conformist style of design at the time. Though many ridiculed their work, the Memphis Group were ground-breaking. Their use of colours, haphazard arrangements and brightly hued plastic laminate was previously unseen. At the time, objects were usually designed to be functional, not decorative. Memphis changed this with their approach to design, reimagining everyday objects in a way that was unfamiliar.
Another standout is The Bavinger House, completed in 1955 in Norman, Oklahoma, and designed by architect Bruce Goff. The home was constructed over the course of five years by Nancy and Eugene Bavinger, the residents of the house, who were artists, along with the help of a few of Eugene’s students. The structure was anchored by a recycled oil field drill stem that was reused to make a central mast more than 55 feet high. The house had no interior walls; instead there were a series of platforms at different heights, some with curtains that could be drawn for privacy. The ground floor was covered with pools and planted areas.
And a final favourite is the home of Swiss-born architect Albert Frey, credited for establishing a style of modernist architecture centred on Palm Springs that came to be known as ‘Desert Modernism’. Frey’s career spanned six decades and is dramatically varied, but his best-known work remains his own home, Frey House II. Overlooking the city of Palm Springs, the project was completed in 1964 as the architect’s second home. The residence is the result of meticulous calculations of the site’s stone-filled topography and the sun’s path. Mixing modern materials such as glass and metal, with local stone, Frey installed an efficient steel-framed structure with minimum impact on his surroundings.
Feature image: Jayne Mansfield poses inside her office at the Pink Palace (via Pinterest)