An Homage To Early Modernism – Aesthetic Humanism

Not as ‘black and white and gray’ as many modern-leaning designers, Bacon’s humanistic expression of modernism yields a noticeably more ‘warm,’ inviting, and ‘tactile’ ambiance than what has emerged as ‘modern’ in the 21stCentury. In his “Homage to Early Modernism,” Bacon has again expressed his refined humanist aesthetic with the careful use of wood and stone as complementary counterpoints to the concrete, metal and glass that have long endured as mainstays of modern architecture.

Equipped with a highly nuanced grasp of composition, the experience of Bacon’s work often elicits profoundly memorable emotional responses. This most recent work demonstrates once again his extraordinarily comprehensive attention to the detail and many dimensions of environmental design. First displayed in his designs of the Boulders Resortand Desert Mountain’s Cochise/Geronimo Clubhouse in the early 1980s and 90s, respectively, Bacon proved to be motivated not by the ephemeral influences of fashion and style, but by an ethos of environmental contextualism and aesthetic humanism. In his view, this most recent milestone, “Homage to Early Modernism,” demonstrates, perhaps better than any previous work, the core aesthetic and moral principles that have guided his nearly six decades of design work.

Bacon started designing in the mid-century modern era of the late 50s and early 60s and was inspired by the work of even earlier 20thcentury designers like Charles and Rae Eames, Rene McIntosh, La Corbusier, early Frank Lloyd Wright, George Nelson, Eero Saarinen, and many others who produced a rich body of ‘modern’ designs. The stark modernism of Bauhaus movement had become all the rage when Bacon was in college; and though he admired the new modernist’s clarity of purpose and form, he was discomfited by the stark sterility of the International Styleand brutality of the German Bauhaus.

During this same period, however, some great furniture and housewares were flowing from designers such as Marcel Breuer, Oscar Niemeyer, La Corbusier, Harry Bertoia, Alvar Alto, and Arne Jacobson. Their elegant simplicity and practicality, as well as their honest use of materials were as modernist as the Bauhaus architecture, but rather than expressions of a social philosophy, the consumer products from these designers were designed to physically comfort and engage with individual people. I’ve chosen to furnish this home with the work of these great designers for two reasons: 1) The pieces are beautiful and comfortable and fitting for a home of this caliber, 2) I believe the persons who will be attracted to the architecture of this home, and able to afford it, are also collectors of fine art and connoisseurs of fine living. It’s therefore my opinion that every detail of this architecture and every item contained within it must respect this essential characteristic of our buyer. To this end, Bacon has curated a special collection of home furnishings and produced an informative catalog of the furnishings used in this design. A brief bio of each designer illuminates the inspirations and design philosophies behind each piece. Bacon has identified licensed sources of each piece and has negotiated special package pricing for this unique project.

My goal in the design of this home was to create a sensual, yet open and well-ordered living environment that satisfies today’s affluent lifestyles by applying the best of the classical modern design principles. In other words, this home’s design is not merely an exercise in philosophy or style; it’s inspired by the aesthetic principles that were demonstrated so artfully by the great designers listed above. For example, its horizontal proportions and intimate human scale are drawn from the principles demonstrated by ‘Prairie school’ founders, most notably, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Though far less intricate, the finish details of this design are reminiscent of the ‘craftsman’ principles artfully fulfilled by brothers Charles Sumner and Henry Green, and Rene McIntosh at the turn of the 20thcentury. Regarding details for example, I’ve carefully defined and separated intersecting planes and differing materials so that each component of the space (each wall, floor area, ceiling area, light fixture, cabinet, etc.) can be appreciated and celebrated individually as an integral part of a larger composition rather than being melded into an amorphous diorama of furnishings arranged in front of a seamless background of painted drywall.

With this design, I took the opportunity to demonstrate several basic principles and elements of modern design. Though for the most part these are clearly visible, I know that the intents and purposes of these subtle design details are not self-evident to most viewers. I want those who see and experience this design to gain a deeper understanding of why this design looks and feels the way it does. Furthermore, I believe that capable buyers who are attracted to this design will appreciate knowing the designer’s intentions and the artist’s inspirations.