Incollect 10-18
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Albert Frey, Lina Bo Bardi works on display at Palm Springs Art Museum
Sep 7, 2017
Melissa Studach

Debuting at the Palm Springs Art Museum this weekend, “Albert Frey and Lina Bo Bardi: A Search for Living Architecture” explores the remarkable synergy between two modernist artists who never met. The exhibition, which is sponsored in part by Arper, will also feature the Italian furniture brand’s limited-edition model of Bo Bardi’s 1951-designed Bowl Chair.

Bo Bardi Bowl Chair
Made in a limited quantity of 500, Arper’s Bo Bardi Bowl Chair is available in black leather and seven fabric colorways.

Though their backgrounds were vastly different—he an immigrant who left Switzerland for the U.S. in 1930, and she an Italian who moved to Brazil in 1946—both Frey and Bo Bardi believed in a design philosophy that integrated architecture, landscape and people through humble construction practices.

“The parallel odysseys of Frey and Bo Bardi represent the emergence of Southern California and São Paulo, as architectural laboratories of the mid-20th century,” said Elizabeth Armstrong, the JoAnn McGrath Executive Director at Palm Springs Art Museum. “Although they never met, this exhibition shows how they each embraced the social and environmental contexts specific to their respective adoptive homes.”

To draw parallels between the artists’ architectural works, the exhibition uses sketches, 3-D models, computer-generated drawings, design objects and photography. Frey’s Aluminaire House and Frey II House and Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro and Cirell House are just a few of the architectural designs on display.

Aluminaire House by Albert Frey
Frey’s 1931-built, prefab Aluminaire House was originally designed with A. Lawrence Kocher for a building fair in New York City.

Aside from a comparative view of artists, the exhibit is a look at the similarities woven between the emerging design regions of São Paulo and Southern California, says the museum’s director of art, Daniell Cornell, who co-curated the exhibition with Bo Bardi scholar Zeuler R. Lima.

“Both Albert Frey and Lina Bo Bardi left Europe at midcentury, immigrating to their adoptive cities of Palm Springs and São Paulo,” Cornell tells EAL. “By embracing the culture and climate of their new homes, they each transformed the International Style architecture of their European training through an attention to their respective regions.”

“Albert Frey and Lina Bo Bardi: A Search for Living Architecture” will be open for viewing September 9 through January 7.

Casa de vidro by Lina Bo Bardi
Bo Bardi designed the Bardi House, also known as Casa de Vidro, in 1952 for her and her husband in São Paulo; photos courtesy the Palm Springs Art Museum.

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