I've become somewhat obsessed with the imagery and advert for the Ministry of Sound Chillout Sessions XII.
It features artwork by Australian design firm Collider, who created a model diorama based on Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, but given a West Coast poolside setting. It's beautifully constructed and shot, but I can't help but think they chose the wrong Kaufmann House.
It's easy to forget from this diorama that the house at Fallingwater, by FLW for Edgar J Kaufmann in 1937 is actually set in a dense woodland just outside Pittsburgh PA, with the house set on top of the waterfall that gives the house its name.
The story of the design of Fallingwater is the stuff of legend, and lovingly told by Hugh Pearman here:
"Eventually Kaufmann's patience ran out and he telephoned to say he was driving over - a distance of 140 miles. "Come on over, EJ - your house is finished," said Wright calmly, and put down the phone. Everyone in the office knew that not a single line had been drawn. So Wright sat down, got out his coloured pencils and - in two hours flat or as much as three by some accounts - designed the house, in its entirety, down to the smallest detail. As he drew it, he talked, describing it. It was all in his head. Wright placed the house on a great rock right on top of the waterfall. He named it, and signed it. This astonishing feat of speed-design is the single most celebrated act of architectural creativity ever"
Elsewhere, Pearman recounts it thus:
"As related by his disciples, the design just poured out of Wright’s head, and he talked as he drew, wide-eyed underlings handing him a stream of freshly-sharpened pencils. He was talking to himself, mainly, describing the narrative of the design, where the members of the family would be, how the house was going to relate to the stream in the wood. He named it, signed it, and handed over the drawings to his assistants to finish as he strolled out to meet his clients with the immortal words: ‘Come in, EJ. We’ve been waiting for you."
Fallingwater without the waterfall is a strange conception, the vertical wall of water was the primary generator for the form of building, with its massive horizontal concrete cantilvers and vertical stone walls. Wright chose the most dramatic part of the site and instantly knew that this was where the genius loci - the spirit of the place - dwelt.
Edgar Kaufmann commissioned another famous house, designed by Richard Neutra, and built in Palm Springs. I think this house would have suited the vibe that the MOS Chillout Sessions diorama is going for, and the mid-century moderne aesthetic typified by the TV series Mad Men that Collider are tapping into.
My favourite episode of Mad Men is Jet Set, from the second series, where Don Draper goes to the West Coast and then to Palm Springs. He ends up at a beautiful villa and pool which could be the Neutra Kaufmann House (although i understand the episode was actually filmed at the Fox Residence, Chatsworth, California).
I'd love it if for a future Chillout Sessions release Collider could use the other Kaufmann House.