It makes perfect sense: you live in a house of glass, so everyone can see you. Therefore what you wear becomes supremely important and let’s face it — no hauling your butt to the fridge bare-ass naked. So it is smart, very smart indeed that the folks at Highland Park Village trekked out to New Canaan, Connecticut to shoot the fashion spread for the premiere issue of Highland Park Village Magazine. What you say, another new corporate magazine? Yes indeedy, that is the trend. And this one is on the web, too, gorgeous, slick, and brimming with design — kind of like The Glass House. The fact that HPV even got to snap a camera at this architectural landmark is HUGE: apparently Highland Park Village will be supporting the preservation of The Glass House.
With it’s perfect proportions and gleaming simplicity, the Glass House by Philip Johnson is considered one of the most brilliant works of modern architecture. Completed in 1949, the one-story house has a 32′x56′ open floor plan enclosed in 18-feet-wide floor-to-ceiling sheets of glass between black steel piers and stock H-beams that anchor the glass in place. Inspired by the architect’s mentor, Mies van der Rohe, Who built Farnsworth House. The structure, however, did not impress Mies when he visited. According to legend, Mies stormed out of The Glass House in fury because of what he interpreted as a lack of thought in the details of the house.
Still, it’s a great place for a photo shoot, and I would think a challenge for any photographer. The clear glass panels create a series of reflections, including those of the surrounding trees, and people walking inside or outside of the house, layering them on top of one another and creating everchanging images — very cool, but a photographer’s nightmare?.
I have visited Farnsworth House, it is in the vicinity of where I grew up. The Glass House is similar, the interior completely exposed to the outdoors except for a cylinder brick structure with the entrance to the bathroom on one side and a fireplace on the other side. Not open, exposed. The floor-to-ceiling height is ten and a half feet and the brick cylinder structure protrudes from the top. The floor is also made herringbone patterned red brick and is ten inches off of ground level. The only other divisions or solid walls in the house besides the bathroom are discreetly done with low cabinets and bookshelves, making the house a single open room. This provides great ventilation and incredible lighting.
The house is the primary attraction on the site, but Johnson built thirteen more structures that include a guest house, an art gallery, and a sculpture pavilion. In contrast to The Glass House, the guest house is a heavy brick structure, contrasting the extreme lightness and transparency expressed in the Glass House. Interesting: the art gallery is buried underground in order to not take away attention from the house, making it a windowless gallery. (The house reigns supreme here as the art!) There is also a a sculpture gallery, an “assymmetrical white-brick shed with a glass roof… conceived as a series of interlocking rooms that step down around an open, central space.”
The Glass House was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997. Now, who is publishing this magazine (again) and why are they jetting all the way to New Canaan to take these photos in an historical landmark? Well one, we do not have a Glass House in Dallas and maybe Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois was a long drive from O’Hare in Chicago. Two, the publishers would be the owners of Highland Park Village, Ray and Heather Washburne, and Stephen and Elisa Summers. Because magazine advertising is so costly, many companies are opting to forgo it and just create their own publications, like Ebby Halliday’s Grand Vie and Erin Mathews’/David Nichol’s MN Home. The circulation is controlled, and you only hit up folks who can afford to buy your products — make sense?
And I remember a few years ago when some people said luxury was dead. Ha! Now the fine folks at HPV are so busy selling luxury items to luxury buyers, they are extending their hours: the shops that were previously open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. will stay open until 8 p.m. so we won’t have to race like hellions to get there anymore.