INTERVIEW : THANKS FOR THE VIEW, MR. MIES, EDITORS

Lafayette Park is the Cinderella of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s bold roster of work. In the heart of Downtown Detroit, it is one of the city’s most economically and racially diverse and stable communities, but has never received acclaim equal to that of Mies’ similar projects, due in part to its residence in a struggling, iconic American city some would like to turn away from.

We love Detroit, and we are equally in awe of Mies’ otherworldly alchemy of earthly grandiosity and ethereal refinement. After a recent book launch for Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit — published by Metropolis Books — at Project No.8 off the Ace New York lobby, we interviewed editors Danielle Aubert, Lana Cavar and Natasha Chandani of Placement about this communal glass house, its maker and what it all means.

In contrast to other planned Modernist communities being tested at the time, Lafayette Park seems successful on many levels such as sensitivity to scale and circulation by pedestrians and automobiles alike. But the beautiful integration of landscape design throughout the project is remarkable. How much is known of the collaboration between Mies and Alfred Caldwell, the landscape architect for the project? Did Mies envision the long term importance of the landscape design to Lafayette Park?

Yes! The landscape design is a huge reason that Lafayette Park is such a great place to live. There is a bit of research on the relationship between Mies and Caldwell, they collaborated on many projects and were both on the faculty at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago. When Lafayette Park was first built in the late 1950s/early 1960s there was not enough of a budget to buy grown trees, so they planted saplings. The landscaping really became a lush, green environment in the late 1970s. Today the trees attract migrating birds and it’s become a kind of active habitat for wildlife.

When I first visited Lafayette park I was struck by how tidy all the window dressings and interior decor as seen through the expansive windows were. Le Corbusier had a famously adverse reaction when residents of his Pessac housing project decided to modify and decorate his rational modernist sculptures (and windows) to their personal tastes. In Lafayette Park does the architecture inspire the residents to neatness or do rules do this?

In the high-rises in Lafayette Park, residents have to use vertical blinds on their windows, but in the townhouses there are not actually any rules about what kinds of window treatments people can put up. That said, people are generally motivated not to obstruct the view. But, as with every neighborhood, some people are neat and some are messy.

In the end architecture is for the people who inhabit it and for the cities that they together create. The title of your book may imply more that just what you ‘view’ through the glass but thanking Mies for his view on how we should live. What are some of the key lessons architects could learn from this project through the point of view of the residents who have lived happily in Lafayette Park through the years?

The neighborhood’s designers –- Mies, Caldwell, Ludwig Hilberseimer, the urban planner, and Herbert Greenwald, the developer -– were clearly very aware of the importance of designing spaces that would encourage strong relationships between residents. But in the high-rises, which are rentals, it’s clear that the building’s management is of equal, or greater, importance to the health of the community in that building. In the townhouses, which are co-operatively owned, the neighbors’ reliance on one another is what creates strong bonds.

We’re not sure how Mies wanted people to live in his buildings, but there are many people who don’t share the minimal/spare side of his aesthetic who love living in the spaces he designed. The views through the windows contribute to the relationships people have with the city, the trees and each other. That said, as one resident who lives in the neighborhood put it to us, people “come for the architecture, but they stay for the neighbors.”

All photos shot on expired PX 70 Color Shade on an Polaroid SX-70 by this Detroit photographer.


We’re very excited for the book launch of Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit — published by Placement Books — at No. 8a, the Ace New York branch of Project No. 8 and Various Projects, tonight at No. 8a off our lobby from 7-9pm.
Lafayette Park, an affordable middle-class residential area in downtown Detroit, is home to the largest collection of buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the world. Today, it is one of Detroit’s most racially-integrated and economically stable neighborhoods, although it is surrounded by evidence of a city in financial distress. Through interviews with and essays by residents, reproductions of archival material, new photographs by Karin Jobst, Vasco Roma and Corine Vermeulen, and previously unpublished photographs by documentary filmmaker Janine Debanné, Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies examines the way that Lafayette Park residents confront and interact with this unique modernist environment. 
Lafayette Park has not received the level of international attention that other similar projects by Mies have. This may be due in part to its location in Detroit, a city whose most positive qualities and cultural power are often overlooked in the media. 
This book is a reaction against the way that iconic modernist architecture is often represented. Whereas other writers may focus on the design intentions of the architect, authors Aubert, Cavar and Chandani seek to show the organic and idiosyncratic ways that the people who live in Lafayette Park actually use the architecture and how this experience, in turn, affects their everyday lives. While there are many publications about abandoned buildings in Detroit and about the city’s prosperous past, this book is about a remarkable part of the city as it exists today, in the twenty-first century.
We’ll see you tonight for a signing and launch party in one of our favorite shops in the world — we’d live in a glass house with them any day.

We’re very excited for the book launch of Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit — published by Placement Books — at No. 8a, the Ace New York branch of Project No. 8 and Various Projects, tonight at No. 8a off our lobby from 7-9pm.

Lafayette Park, an affordable middle-class residential area in downtown Detroit, is home to the largest collection of buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the world. Today, it is one of Detroit’s most racially-integrated and economically stable neighborhoods, although it is surrounded by evidence of a city in financial distress. Through interviews with and essays by residents, reproductions of archival material, new photographs by Karin Jobst, Vasco Roma and Corine Vermeulen, and previously unpublished photographs by documentary filmmaker Janine Debanné, Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies examines the way that Lafayette Park residents confront and interact with this unique modernist environment. 

Lafayette Park has not received the level of international attention that other similar projects by Mies have. This may be due in part to its location in Detroit, a city whose most positive qualities and cultural power are often overlooked in the media. 

This book is a reaction against the way that iconic modernist architecture is often represented. Whereas other writers may focus on the design intentions of the architect, authors Aubert, Cavar and Chandani seek to show the organic and idiosyncratic ways that the people who live in Lafayette Park actually use the architecture and how this experience, in turn, affects their everyday lives. While there are many publications about abandoned buildings in Detroit and about the city’s prosperous past, this book is about a remarkable part of the city as it exists today, in the twenty-first century.

We’ll see you tonight for a signing and launch party in one of our favorite shops in the world — we’d live in a glass house with them any day.


Chez Panisse is a small but epic gem nestled in Berkeley, California that opened its doors forty years ago. The face, heart and hands of Chez Panisse is legendary chef Alice Waters who has transformed and guided the path of innovation and authenticity in dining, farming and cooking internationally. She has always understood that the menu — its language, tactile experience and quality — is the first impression for a diner, and an extension of the love that goes into the food. Berkeley-based artist Patricia Curtan began hand-letterpressing menus for the restaurant during its early years, while working as a cook in the kitchen. Curtan’s letterpress and linoleum-block menus, works of art in their own right, capture the unique spirit of the famous restaurant, and all forty years’ worth are captured in her new book, Menus for Chez Panisse: The Art & Letterpress of Patricia Curtan. Patricia will be signing the book this evening, November 8, at No. 8a at Ace Hotel New York from 6 to 8pm.

Chez Panisse is a small but epic gem nestled in Berkeley, California that opened its doors forty years ago. The face, heart and hands of Chez Panisse is legendary chef Alice Waters who has transformed and guided the path of innovation and authenticity in dining, farming and cooking internationally. She has always understood that the menu — its language, tactile experience and quality — is the first impression for a diner, and an extension of the love that goes into the food. Berkeley-based artist Patricia Curtan began hand-letterpressing menus for the restaurant during its early years, while working as a cook in the kitchen. Curtan’s letterpress and linoleum-block menus, works of art in their own right, capture the unique spirit of the famous restaurant, and all forty years’ worth are captured in her new book, Menus for Chez Panisse: The Art & Letterpress of Patricia Curtan. Patricia will be signing the book this evening, November 8, at No. 8a at Ace Hotel New York from 6 to 8pm.


— BERILN III —
INTERVIEW: ELIZABETH BEER OF PROJECT NO. 8
One of our friends at Project No. 8, Elizabeth Beer, is a partner at Arratia, Beer Gallery in Berlin with her old friend Euridice Arratia, and we paid a visit while we were there. You enter the gallery through one of the cathedral-like driveway-doorways characteristic of Berlin, and once inside you get a sense of some of the immaterial essence between what ends up in the New York shops, including No. 8a, an elegant, mischievous answer to a travel shop at Ace Hotel New York. We asked Elizabeth and Euridice about the gallery, its history, and hanging out in Berlin.
What led you to open a gallery — do either of you have any history with it, or did it just seem like the right thing to do?
Euridice has a curatorial background and Elizabeth came from a mix of design and film. We curated our first show together in 2005 at Roebling Hall called “FearGear” which included a range of artists and designers like Patty Chang, 2x4, Boudicca, Mark Borthwick, Lucy Orta, Jean Shin and Sissel Tolaas. When Euridice moved to Berlin, she wanted to keep developing certain curatorial projects we had already been working on in New York. Opening a space seemed the right thing to do and Berlin offered a great platform to experiment and work with a group of talented and risk-taking artists. At first we thought about opening a not-for-profit project space. Opening a gallery in Berlin just turned out to be easier. As we had no experience with the commercial art world we just did it. 
Does the building or neighborhood where the gallery is have any history that interests you?
The gallery is located in Mehringdamm 55, Kreuzberg. Before the fall of the wall, Kreuzberg was one of the most progressive areas of the West. Now it is an area of great cultural diversity and many artists have their studios nearby. The gallery is housed in the Sarotti Hof a former chocolate factory and landmark building.
Do you find working with artists in Berlin different than NYC?
Artists living in Berlin are not under the same financial stress as the artists living in New York. In broad terms, the art community in Berlin is less hierarchical and more democratic than the one in NY. There is also more cross-pollination amongst the different disciplines. For example, many artists here participate in the alternative music scene or collaborate with musicians. It seems that there is more time to talk and brainstorm. No one reschedules appointments or meetings. 
When you’re not working, what are some of your favorite adventures, hangouts, and places to find good food and drink in Berlin?
Summer in Berlin is the best and there is nothing like getting together with a bunch of friends for a picnic at Tempelhof Park (the old airport) and then ride bikes on the runway surrounded by Fascist architecture. To unwind: the best is to spend a few hours in a Hammam. There are many in the city. For the best cocktails: Würgeengel. Each cocktail takes like 10 minutes to prepare so it requires patience. For food: I keep it simple. For a quick bite I go to Yam Yam, the Korean restaurant across the street from where I live. For a fluffy, delicious Wiener Schnitzel: Alpenstück (also in the neighborhood). An old time favorite: Jolesch (Kreuzberg).  A lot of good dancing and drinking takes place in private apartments or studios turned into semi-illegal bars and clubs for the night.
We will definitely hit you up for a tour when we’re back…

Wednesday by Carmen Herrera (1978, acrylic on canvas), on view at Arratia, Beer through April 23

— BERILN III —

INTERVIEW: ELIZABETH BEER OF PROJECT NO. 8

One of our friends at Project No. 8, Elizabeth Beer, is a partner at Arratia, Beer Gallery in Berlin with her old friend Euridice Arratia, and we paid a visit while we were there. You enter the gallery through one of the cathedral-like driveway-doorways characteristic of Berlin, and once inside you get a sense of some of the immaterial essence between what ends up in the New York shops, including No. 8a, an elegant, mischievous answer to a travel shop at Ace Hotel New York. We asked Elizabeth and Euridice about the gallery, its history, and hanging out in Berlin.

What led you to open a gallery — do either of you have any history with it, or did it just seem like the right thing to do?

Euridice has a curatorial background and Elizabeth came from a mix of design and film. We curated our first show together in 2005 at Roebling Hall called “FearGear” which included a range of artists and designers like Patty Chang, 2x4, Boudicca, Mark Borthwick, Lucy Orta, Jean Shin and Sissel Tolaas. When Euridice moved to Berlin, she wanted to keep developing certain curatorial projects we had already been working on in New York. Opening a space seemed the right thing to do and Berlin offered a great platform to experiment and work with a group of talented and risk-taking artists. At first we thought about opening a not-for-profit project space. Opening a gallery in Berlin just turned out to be easier. As we had no experience with the commercial art world we just did it. 

Does the building or neighborhood where the gallery is have any history that interests you?

The gallery is located in Mehringdamm 55, Kreuzberg. Before the fall of the wall, Kreuzberg was one of the most progressive areas of the West. Now it is an area of great cultural diversity and many artists have their studios nearby. The gallery is housed in the Sarotti Hof a former chocolate factory and landmark building.

Do you find working with artists in Berlin different than NYC?

Artists living in Berlin are not under the same financial stress as the artists living in New York. In broad terms, the art community in Berlin is less hierarchical and more democratic than the one in NY. There is also more cross-pollination amongst the different disciplines. For example, many artists here participate in the alternative music scene or collaborate with musicians. It seems that there is more time to talk and brainstorm. No one reschedules appointments or meetings. 

When you’re not working, what are some of your favorite adventures, hangouts, and places to find good food and drink in Berlin?

Summer in Berlin is the best and there is nothing like getting together with a bunch of friends for a picnic at Tempelhof Park (the old airport) and then ride bikes on the runway surrounded by Fascist architecture. To unwind: the best is to spend a few hours in a Hammam. There are many in the city. For the best cocktails: Würgeengel. Each cocktail takes like 10 minutes to prepare so it requires patience. For food: I keep it simple. For a quick bite I go to Yam Yam, the Korean restaurant across the street from where I live. For a fluffy, delicious Wiener Schnitzel: Alpenstück (also in the neighborhood). An old time favorite: Jolesch (Kreuzberg).  A lot of good dancing and drinking takes place in private apartments or studios turned into semi-illegal bars and clubs for the night.

We will definitely hit you up for a tour when we’re back…



Wednesday by Carmen Herrera (1978, acrylic on canvas), on view at Arratia, Beer through April 23


This is Snowbank Treatment by Dragging an Ox Through Water — the musical moniker of Brian Mumford. He’ll be performing at Project No. 8's Fashion Week party Tuesday night in our basement at Ace Hotel New York, along with Sun Foot and DJ sets by ARP and Francis Heinzfeller.


If you’re looking for a little kickstart to your holiday shopping, try picking up one of these guys. Yes, it’s a knit pigeon (the unofficial NYC mascot) and it’s available at No. 8a at Ace Hotel New York. If you’re getting one for yourself, you’ll discover that it is perfect for keeping company with through the bitter winter nights, or for regaling with stories from your checkered past. It’s also quite literally the perfect gift for the person who has everything, because whoever that person is in you life, they don’t have one of these yet.


No. 8a at Ace Hotel New York featured a 7ft spinning installation with models for Fashion’s Night Out. The installation was by local designer, Ross Menuez of Salvor Projects. We love this film of the event…


Gabi Porter caught more glimpses of the bright and shiny crowds at Ace Hotel New York on Fashion’s Night Out. See all the shots at Metromix.

Photos by Gabi Porter for Metromix New York

Gabi Porter caught more glimpses of the bright and shiny crowds at Ace Hotel New York on Fashion’s Night Out. See all the shots at Metromix.

Photos by Gabi Porter for Metromix New York


More shots from the fun as hell party we had at Ace Hotel New York with Opening Ceremony, colette, No. 8a, and OC’s favorite designers for Fashion’s Night Out. Stay tuned for more interviews, photos, and secrets. If you were there and you have some good pictures of you and your loot, send them to us. They may end up here!


If you’re on the make for Brooklyn-made pickles, a faux-fox stole, double-sided lollipops from Papabubble, snowglobes with tiny plastic bags floating through them, a Kiosk installation, minimalist sex toys, or Various Projects trenches from heaven — look no further. No. 8a at Ace New York has all the cool things you don’t know you need but that make your life better and your imagination brighter. One of the best places to go when you have the day to yourself.


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