Byline: Kimberly Cutter
LOS ANGELES — Legendary architect R.M. Schindler may be dearly departed, but thanks to the recent efforts of fellow Angeleno architects Leo Marmol and Ron Radziner, his designs are still alive and kicking. Working in partnership with Friends of the Schindler House and the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Marmol Radziner + Associates, who have earned a reputation as L.A.’s reigning Modern restorationists through their work on Neutra and Schindler homes, clients like Tom Ford and Steven Meisel have created the first-ever Schindler reproductions to be available for public consumption. Schindler died in 1953.
“It’s been a wonderful challenge,” says Marmol of re-creating Schindler’s redwood designs from his seminal 1921-22 Kings Road house, all of which are available through Marmol Radziner + Associates. “The furniture is very handmade, handcrafted, and getting it to look that way in this day and age was actually a very labor-intensive process.”
As a result, the furniture bears a hefty price tag. (A sofa will run you $14,340, an ottoman, $3,340.) But 30 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the much-needed restoration of the Kings Road house. The Japanese-inspired concrete and redwood home, the site of the MAK Center, was recently named one of the world’s 100 most endangered architectural sites.
“Generating money for the MAK Center was really our main goal in getting involved with this project,” says Radziner, who describes the Kings Road house as “truly the best house in the city.” “It’s critical that it be restored and we really wanted to help make that possible.”
The timing, however, was also propitious for Marmol and Radziner, who were planning their own furniture line when they were approached by MAK Center director Cara Mullio, a longtime fan of the custom pieces that the duo had created for their clients. “I knew that Ron and Leo wanted to start their own line,” says Mullio, who hopes to raise $500,000 for the Kings Road house this year. “I knew that they had the production capabilities and that they loved the furniture, so it seemed like a natural fit.”
Initially, there will only be five reproductions available from the Kings Road house and all will be produced to order with upholstery options of velvet, silk or mohair in various colors. If the line is a success, nine other pieces from the house might go into production.
“There are so many Schindler aficionados these days,” says Decades owner Cameron Silver, who hired the design team to restore his own Schindler home in Los Feliz, the Eliot House. “They’re the only people I know who could or would create the custom toilet-paper holders and shower rods that a house like that demands. And when you look at how crazily successful the Knoll and Nelson reproduction lines have been, it makes sense that there would be a market for these pieces.”
“The thing that’s interesting about reproducing Schindler’s designs is that you learn from it,” adds Marmol, who plans to make Marmol Radziner + Associates’ own signature furniture line available later this year, “It influences your own work in ways that you would never expect.”