Santa Monica Main Library’s Nordic LAttitudes exhibit opened last Thursday with a fanfare that could match the opening of any world-class exhibit. Attendees got their first glance of the educational exhibit that showcases some of the best in Nordic furniture and lighting design while listening to music and sampling hors d’oeuvres. The idea for the exhibit came from Haekwan Park, an architect with Santa Monica-based Moore, Ruble and Yudell Architects and Planners. They are the same firm that designed the library with, as the exhibit catalog states, the “functional and aesthetic qualities that are so profoundly influenced by Nordic attitudes.” The exhibit showcases the works of Poul Henningsen, Alvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen, Hans J. Wegner, Poul Kjaerholm, Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton, Poul Christianson and Louise Campbell. In an interview with the Mirror, Park noted that 50 percent of the pieces were specially made for the exhibition, and the display was integrated throughout the first floor “so it felt like it was always part of the library.” He also pointed out that the library’s pendant lighting fixtures were designed by Poul Henningsen while Arne Jacobsen designed the recessed lighting. Park began working on the exhibit in March of 2006, and became both its designer and curator. He views the exhibit as an “opportunity to celebrate a community of designers who all learned from each other and utilized each others’ inspiration to raise the discipline of furniture design to art.” He also mentioned that Hans J. Wegner passed away recently and his funeral was held the day of the opening, so the exhibit became an “unintentional way to celebrate his work.” City Librarian Greg Mullen told the Mirror that approximately 400 people attended the opening and that it caused a big “buzz in the design community.” He also mentioned that the library hopes to have more exhibits in the future, but at this time no real schedule or “procedure has been established for selecting exhibits.” The library will also be presenting two lectures in conjunction with the exhibition in the library’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium. Michael Sheridan, Architect and Designer/Curator of Poul Kjaerholm at the Furniture Architect Exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, will give the first one. He will discuss “Nordic Attidtudes: Modern Furniture in Denmark” on February 8 at 6:30 p.m. Erik Steffensen, a professor at the Royal Danish Art Academy in Copenhagen, will present the second lecture, “PH Alias Poul Henningsen – The Genius of Danish Design: A biographical look into the life of Poul Henningsen,” on March 8, also at 6:30 p.m. Moore, Ruble and Yudell coordinated the funding for the exhibit, which will run through March 18. Those wishing to obtain additional information can go to smpl.org/nordiclattitudes.
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