I went to a book launch party at my friends
Brian and Elizabeth's
store in the ACE Hotel the other night
for this amazing new book:
"thanks for the view mr. mies:
lafayette park, detroit"
Which is edited by
Danielle Aubert, Lana Cavar and Natasha Chandani.
Metropolis Books is the publisher.
The book covers life and living
in the Mies van de Rohe buildings
head to tail.
They do not leave anything out,
and that is part of the joy of this book.
Once you have it in your hands
you will know what I mean.
One of my favorite sections is where
photographed the living rooms
of the different units of the
townhouse section of the development.
Here are my favorites:
We didn't want to necessarily go back to doing the original,
because it would
have been too historically complicated
since it was in pretty bad shape.
So we just sort of did,
"What would Mies do in 2007?"
They want to live here because it's prestigious to say,
"I live in the Mies van der Rohe."
But I was just looking for a place
where I didn't have to shovel snow.
I think the prior owners were depressed –
the walls were a dark wood paneling.
This is a wide open, beautiful space.
Why would you want to close
We painted everything in bright colors and I
mirrored one wall to
reflect the light.
If I could make any changes to the structures,
I would make them 2 feet wider.
Just so the kitchen
could be a real-sized kitchen
and not be so claustrophobic.
I've lived in Frank Lloyd Wright,
and I've lived in Mies,
and I guess there's
one more, that's Le Corbusier,
and he didn't do anything in this area.
I'm trying to make the most of it.
I've always liked a lot of the '50s
architecture that people now
think is pretty ugly.
It appeals to me –
I've always been a very rectangular guy.
Detroiters are people who grow up in older brick homes –
we don't grow up in
tenements or apartment buildings.
This was viewed as a little off the wall.
Who would live in a little box unit
if you could live in a
four-bedroom brick colonial?
KANJI AND SHANTA
We like contemporary design
and this sort of falls into that.
The utilization of space
here is like 100%.
I think my favorite architectural part
of the house is the staircase.
Mies spent 40 years trying to perfect
in all of his buildings,
and I think he
did it better in
Lafayette Park than in Berlin,
It was really just a box when we moved in.
The previous owner had the
original white flooring and had the
walls stark white except for one,
which was slate gray.
Can you imagine?
Your wals are glass,
you can't hide anything. you can pull your blinds,
most people live with their blinds open.
I think that the idea was to
experiment with community living,
and for the most part it's worked.
We had once thought about living in a commune,
when we were younger and
but it never worked out.
This is sort of an in-between.
We've been here since September and we still don't have blinds.
The TV is right there.
We were walking by one evening in the park
and our light was on,
and we were like,
"Whoa, you can really see everything!"
A lot of people have this perception
as being dark and gloomy.
But you live here and it's so bright and beautiful
that you have a totally
different view of the city.
Where you choose to live
and where you choose to work
sometimes is not
the same city.
I have been on the road for almost 30 years.
On Monday I
jump on a plane to Chicago,
then every Friday I come back here.
Chicago's a great city,
but my roots have always been in Detroit.
These aren't available for about a week or so,
order your copy now from