I grew up I’m eating my burger helper from Russel Wright’s cooking. My mother, who was devoted to designing in a small town in Pennsylvania, bought a set of pea soup Chartreuse from a Philadelphia department store. I didn’t know who designed the curved ceramic plates and cups, but in a neighborhood where tableware was adorned with flowers and sometimes free to buy at a grocery store, the undecorated surface looked exotic. I did.
Decades later, I learned about the late designer and his American modern pottery. Wright sold tens of millions of units in the 1940s and 1950s and became famous for introducing Central America to modernism.
Then a collecting bug bit me. Light slender neck pitchers with rich, simple names like Seafoam line the mantle of the living room in northern New York. I’ve known for a long time that the country estate of industrial designers along the Hudson River in Garrison, NY is open to the public on a day trip, but I’ve only recently driven. What I saw surprised me: Wright’s streamlined, factory-made household items didn’t prepare me for his experimental, bizarre home.
After pulling on a 75-acre site he named Manitoga, I walked past the granite rocks and lush ferns and down the hilltop tree-lined road until I got a glimpse of the house and its adjacent studio. The structure, completed in the early 1960s, is multi-level but compact. Wright raised his daughter there — his wife died in 1952 — and remained until he died in 1976.
The house, a collection of vertical windows and horizontal roof lines, appears to emerge from the side of a cliff above a pond he made from an abandoned granite quarry. Although the term has not yet been devised, Manitoga exemplifies the design of “biocompatibility”. This is an increasingly accepted concept that recognizes the many benefits of connecting building residents naturally. “He was clearly setting [the structure] It’s up to the frame of the water and natural scenery around the house, “said Bill Browning, founder of Terrapin Bright Green, a New York consulting firm specializing in biocompatibility and environmental buildings. “He has a connection with a very strong place.”
Famous mid-century country house that brings the outside
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