Eames Chairs, Scandinavian Design and the Tunnel Tops Finally Open in S.F.

Plus Stefano Pilati’s next act and Future Perfect’s new home



Photo from Milwaukee Art Museum, by John R. Glembin.


Nordic Track
The exchange of ideas between America and Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden—and the resulting brightly colored tableware and lean, modern furniture—is the focus of a new LACMA exhibition, Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890-1980 (on view through Feb. 5, 2023). Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art, designed by Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen (father of Eero), attracted a faculty of Nordic artists and students such as Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll and ceramicist Toshiko Takaezu, explains Bobbye Tigerman, LACMA curator of decorative arts and design. She notes that Scandinavian design has greatly influenced California aesthetics. Over 175 works from furniture and textiles to ceramics and glass—and even knitted metal pieces by Arline Fisch—are included. “Recently, ‘Scandifornia’ style, melding the clean, minimalist aesthetic associated with both places, points to a shared design sensibility,” says Tigerman. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., 323-857-6000, lacma.org.


Tunnel Vision
With its sweeping views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio has long been arguably one of San Francisco’s most scenic and popular spots. This summer, the site opened its much anticipated 14-acre visitor attraction, Presidio Tunnel Tops, a park that bridges over the newly tunneled Presidio Parkway with easily accessible trails, picnic areas and picturesque overlooks. Developed by James Corner Field Operations—the award-winning firm behind New York’s The High Line and Pier 17—the sprawling parkland features lush gardens and meadows filled with native plants, as well as a dedicated 2-acre nature play area for children called the Outpost. The community-driven design project will host activations around art, culture, food, wellness and music during its inaugural season. presidiotunneltops.gov. 


Sitting Pretty
“Designing for a person and a body is not the same as designing furniture,” says the former Yves Saint Laurent creative director Stefano Pilati. And yet he contends, “upholstery, as a craft, is something a fashion designer can understand with a certain familiarity.” He’s made the correlation between fashion and furnishings exceptionally clear in Pinto x Pilati, his recent collaboration with the French interior design firm Pinto. The capsule collection includes two show-stopping limited-edition pieces: an oversized sofa wrapped in Maison Pierre Frey cotton toile, and a bronze sculptural armchair that was envisioned as a living piece of art by Italian designer and Pinto’s new chairman and co-artistic director, Fahad Hariri.Both items are runway finale-worthy designs.  pinto.design. 


Photo by Jake Stangel for Herman Miller, courtesy of the Eames Foundation.


Cult Classics
Inside the Denmark living room of HAY furniture founders Mette and Rolf Hay is one of the original Eames Molded Plywood chair prototypes from the 1940s made by Herman Miller. The Danish design couple, makers of inspired minimalist furniture and lifelong admirers of the work of their California design heroes, have now put their own distinctive spin on the Eames’ iconic pieces with the debut of the Herman Miller x HAY Collection. The range includes eight reinterpreted classics such as Wire chairs and tables, Hang-It-All hooks, and, of course, the Hays’ favorite, the Molded Plywood chair, in vibrant new colorways such as iron red, toffee, powder yellow and HAY’s ubiquitous forest green. Mette also personally requested a reissue of the 1955 Jacob’s Coat textile designed by Alexander Girard for a special edition of the Eames Sofa Compact—because some things just don’t need to be changed. us.hay.com; hermanmiller.com.


Photo by Elizabeth Carababas.


Back to the Future
Twenty years after launching The Future Perfect, David Alhadeff has opened the doors to the Goldwyn House in Beverly Hills, which will double as his private residence and an appointment-only shoppable gallery for cutting-edge contemporary design. The native New Yorker had had his eye on the gracious neoclassical property, the former home of the pioneering film producer Samuel Goldwyn, for some time. Alhadeff jokes, “I reached a point where I just said, ‘Let’s go see that expensive grandma house!’ The moment I walked in, I knew this was it.” He worked with landscape designer Art Luna on the gardens and filled the historic rooms with hard-to-find, limited-edition and one-of-a-kind pieces that will be displayed on rotation. “It’s awesome as my dining room is completely redesigned every three to six months,” says Alhadeff, a trailblazer in experiential design with outposts in New York, San Francisco and, previously, a midcentury pad in Los Angeles. His latest move, however, is decidedly his most personal, offering a strong case for the work-from-home contingent. thefutureperfect.com.


Second Nature
Great design is timeless, accessible and sustainable. That is the philosophy behind Kaiyo, the secondhand furniture marketplace that Alpay Koralturk launched in New York in 2015 (then called Furnishare) to combat the approximately 9 million tons of furniture that ends up in landfills each year. After expanding across the Northeast—and saving more than 3.5 million pounds of home goods along the way—the online retailer officially landed on the West Coast this past summer, offering its simplified services of buying and selling gently used homewares in Los Angeles and San Diego (with more cities to come). Shop the ever-changing discounted inventory of recent and vintage designs by makers including Design Within Reach, Ralph Lauren Home, RH, West Elm, Herman Miller and Room & Board—all inspected by the Kaiyo team—and get it delivered with white-glove service to your home. So sit back (on your newly acquired sofa) and relax. kaiyo.com


Feature image: The Goldwyn House by The Future Perfect. Photo by Elizabeth Carababas.


Portions of this story originally appeared in the Fall and Fashionable Living 2022 issues of C Magazine.

Discover more DESIGN news.


Receive Updates

No spam guarantee.

Stay Up To Date

Subscribe to our weekly emails for the hottest openings, latest parties and in-depth interviews with the people putting California Style on the map.