VS America reissues the modern, made-in-California classics of Richard Neutra International Style icon
Born in Austria, the architect Richard Neutra spent a great deal of his career in Southern California, completing several sensational houses and a series of furnishings for private clients that VS, his mirror in many ways, has reissued as the exclusive Neutra Furniture Collection by VS.
Those who know Neutra are likely less familiar with VS, at least in the states, but the German manufacturer is celebrated in its own right, with a 120-year history that connects to the activities of the Deutscher Werkbund (a pre-cursor to the Bauhaus), which nurtured the link between artists and German industrialists. With the mentor of architect Mies van der Rohe, VS presented a prize-winning reformed classroom at the Brussels World Exhibition in 1910, a Montessori classroom at the 1914 Werkbund exhibition, and went on to establish esteemed associations with world-class designers and architects.
In 2003, the company launched VS America, Inc., placed ergonomic, flexible furniture solutions with domestic dealers, and broadened the brand’s design partnerships—though none as glittering as its association with Richard Neutra and his connection to SoCal.
“As a transplant from Europe, Richard Neutra’s ‘man in nature’ philosophy was not only inspired by place, it was also propelled by the ‘new frontier’ vibe of that place, Los Angeles,” explains Nigel Scott-Williams of VS America.
“Modern L.A. is still that desired place for climate, outdoors, healthy living, and more so now that place for invention and innovation, be it media fantasy or useful technology. The DNA, as it were, in Richard Neutra’s work is entirely in harmony with the forces that energize L.A. today.”
One sees this in the Neutra Furniture Collection by VS, reissued in cooperation with the late architect’s son and architectural partner, Dion Neutra. Included are the Lovell Easy Chair with ottoman steel frame (existing only as a sketch at the UCLA archive, the piece was originally designed for L.A.’s Lovell House, as was the Cantilever Chair Steel); the Cantilever Chair Wood (finished in a natural oak veneer for the Branch House in 1942); the Boomerang Chair (a 1940’s classic that appeared in Woman’s Day Magazine); the Low Organic Table (originally designed for Neutra’s own home); Alpha Seating Single (its angled, cube-like elements made to create intimate “reading corners”), Alpha Seating Double and Alpha Seating Triple (all intended for the never-built Case Study House #13); the Tremaine Side Chair (an early example of “Martini modernism” designed for the Tremaine House in 1948); the Channel Heights Stool (developed for the Channel Heights residential development in 1942); the Camel Table Steel (a multifunctional piece for the Logar House in 1951); the Dinette Table; and the Slipper Chair (a reproduction of a Neutra sketch).
Of substantive, good-looking style, and underscored with a sense of holism embraced by younger generations seeking subtler, solution-driven statements, the collection is classic Neutra, showcasing comfort, environmental sensitivity and a propensity toward products with a value proposition and practicality that effortlessly, if not invisibly, enhance one’s life. Now, the master of our modern environment makes his way to the masses—piece by stunning piece, for the very first time. vsamerica.com
Photographs: VS America