Another Tiny Design Tale.

In the year 2000, I found myself seated in Philip Johnson’s small, minimalistic personal office at the Seagram Building in New York, the very masterpiece he collaborated on with Mies Van De Rohe. Engaged in a conversation about furniture design over chilled Frappuccinos, I ventured to ask him, “Why not design furniture for some Italian companies?”. Johnson, wearing a surprised smile, responded, “I don’t know why you’re asking me.”
“Well, considering your status as the godfather of modern American architecture, I believe you could excel in designing furniture.” I said.
Still smiling, he replied, “Look, I’m not that great at designing furniture, but if you’re truly seeking an architect to design some furniture, don’t ask me. You should ask the architects I admire the most. I believe he would be the right person to design some very interesting furniture.” Taken aback by the response, I asked, “Who’s this person?” He answered, “Well, his name is Frank Gehry. I love his work, so you should talk to him.” I couldn’t help but laugh, exclaiming, “Wait a minute! I’m discussing furniture design with the most important architect on the planet, and you’re suggesting I talk to Gehry? Ha!” Johnson’s humility left a lasting impression, commemorated by a beautiful book about his life and work that he graciously signed for me …a cherished memento to this day.

Antonio Larosa