Historian and author Peter Moruzzi is an expert on mid-century architecture, nightlife, and classic dining. For decades, this resident of Los Angeles and Palm Springs has collected the postcards and paper ephemera that helped form the basis of his books Palm Springs Holiday (a romp through Palm Springs from the early 20th century to the 1960s) and Havana Before Castro: When Cuba was a Tropical Playground. Now, thanks to the images and essays in his brand-new cultural history, Classic Dining: Discovering America’s Finest Mid-Century Restaurants, we can explore what it was like to swagger one’s way into swanky dining establishments in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, and New Orleans during the Mad Men era. Learn about the establishments, some still with us and many long gone, where shish kabobs and bananas foster were grandly presented in flames, Caesar salad was prepared tableside, prime rib was served from fancy carts, and dishes such as oysters Rockefeller and lobster thermidor were the norm. Check out some of the images, along with commentary from the author, after the jump. … Read More
It’s Far from Heaven, it’s Unhappy Hipsters, and above all, it’s Mad Men — the idea that beneath the surface of a wealthy and beautifully designed world lurks the restless unhappiness of its privileged occupants. Paris-based photographer and art director Ben Sandler’s Tomorrowland series is a beautifully executed variation on this theme, following an attractive, impeccably dressed family through a cold and distant evening in their retro-futuristic, mid-century modern dream house. The malaise is palpable, the decor is flawless, and the shots are gorgeously composed, but that doesn’t preclude a few fascinating mysteries from cropping up — like that hovercraft car. Click through to see some of our favorite photos from the series, which we spotted at Behance. … Read More
There’s no doubt that The Great American Roadtrip is making a comeback in a big way. Maybe it has something to do with a certain cult hipster photographer’s nude EuroVan adventures that, as New York Magazine reported, reveled with “charming dissoluteness in roadside motels, in hot springs, and among scratchy bushes.” Then again, maybe it’s just that we’ve collectively arrived back at the inevitable realization that the freedom of the open road and the autonomy of wide open plains is something we fundamentally need to soothe our urban souls.
The world’s first motel was built in 1925 in San Luis Obispo, California by one Arthur Heineman. A man with a vision, Heineman predicted the demand for affordable, dependable roadside lodging that was a step above the trendy auto camps of the time.
Roadsidepictures, Flickr superstar and, according to his profile, Kansas City school district maintenance worker, has amassed an impressive archive of all things related to the golden age of car culture. His scans of vintage motel room postcards from roadside America’s heyday caught our eye not only because they satisfy our insatiable appetite for quirky mid-century design, but also because the comfortable aesthetic is a far cry from the sterile, banal motel we love to hate today.
Click through to be surprisingly inspired by the dreamy, colorful and intimate design of the motels of America’s past. It has us wondering, when did motels lose their charm? Who will be the next design pioneer to restore them to their former glory? … Read More
If you’re like us and anxiously awaiting Mad Men’s two-hour season premiere on Sunday night, here’s a little something to tide you over. Nothing’s been leaked about what to expect from our favorite dapper leading man haunted by a self-inflicted double life except for AMC’s look at where Season 4 left off and the well-designed albeit vague posters showing our hero’s infinite fall from grace. One of the many questions we’re dying to know the answer to: how will production designer extraordinaire, Dan Bishop, evolve the show’s aesthetic? The last season saw a transition from the muted tones of the late ’50s to the beginnings of space-age minimalism and a global obsession with color. Fast approaching the ’70s, we’re wondering what new design goodness will be introduced.
Matthew Weiner, the show’s creator, says that the series isn’t “a textbook study of mid-century modern America.” In keeping with that, we’ve done our best to round up some of the more obscure design references from the first few seasons. From Bert Cooper’s progressive art collection to the ubiquitous roly poly lowballs to funky metal sculptures, here’s our guide to mid-century modern design — the Mad Men way. Tell us about your favorite Mad Men design moment in the comments! … Read More