Hermione, Freedom’s Frigate, Redefining Past and Future In 1778, the Corderie Royale in Rochefort, France, undertook the 11-month construction of a 26 cannon light frigate measuring 210 feet from stern to bow. Part of a group of four (along with the Concorde, the Courageuse and the Fée), the Hermione was built according to plans by Chevillard Aîné and commanded by major general La Fayette who boarded the ship on March 21, 1780 to meet General Washington in Boston and give help to American insurgents. In 1997, the Hermione-La Fayette Association undertook the daunting project of a 17-year construction of a replica of the 18th century Concorde class frigate, Hermione, at the restored arsenal the Corderie Royale in Rochefort, France. American born and raised, married to a Frenchman passionate about frigates and naval engineering, the Hermione reconstruction project and ambitious plan to retrace the steps of General La Fayette by sailing to America was of great interest to us. My husband and I planned a trip to Rochefort in 2009 to visit the construction site. We were amazed by this courageous endeavor to rebuild a warship that existed more than 200 years previously in it’s identical form and structure. While my … Read More
Herculean, Pharaonic and other Garden Superlatives One of the Seven Wonders, for which the specific location has never been established, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are said to have contained a large variety of trees, shrubs and vines planted in tiers on raised terraces in an extraordinary feat of engineering. While visiting the Remarkable Gardens (see other garden studies with this label) of the Château du Champ de Bataille, I drew a parallel with these mythical gardens, beginning with the symbolic notion that they are said to embody: The Seven Degrees of Creation from the Mineral, Vegetal, and Animal to Humanity, Conscience, Light and Spirit, in that order. Jacques Garcia, renowned decorator, acquired the château in 1992. Working with landscape architect Patrick Pottier, they carried out the herculean task of conceiving and planting more than 240 acres of formal gardens consisting of groves, French parterres, boxwood topiary, basins, terraces, steps and fountains complimented by temples, theaters and sculptures. Hidden at the end of the garden is the “pièce de résistance” (flourish); a genuine 18th century Indian palace, reconstructed stone by stone, complete with an artificial lake: the Palace of Dreams. From the Material to the Immaterial, visitors pass from the … Read More
Cross-Cultural Fairy Tales, or A Yarn Well-Spun One fine Saturday in June the stage was set for a celebration of Love and Life at the historical Château de Maulmont located in the Auvergne region of France. Having fallen in love with France first, and her husband-to-be second, my girlfriend discovered this quintessentially French hunting lodge not far from her fiancé’s native town of Vichy and planned a fabulous wedding party where their guests could lodge on premises. In a miniature re-enactment of a French Court assembly, she booked the entire château including rooms for family and friends traveling from afar, local friends with small children and couples who would enjoy partaking of a true Château experience. A little history about this charming location: Originally a Templar’s stronghold in the 13th century built by Renaud de Vichy after returning home from the crusades, the château was acquired by Guillaume de Maulmont in an exchange with Phillipe Le Bel (then King of France). In 1829 it became the property of Princess Adelaïde Louise d’Orléans, sister of King Louis Philippe d’Orléans, who also owned the royal estate in Randan. Princess Adelaïde demolished old Templar ruins and commissioned the construction a hunting lodge by … Read More
Georgina and Amal’s Wedding Reception at the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée The mother of the bride called me to ask if I could photograph her daughter’s wedding reception at a beautiful venue in Paris, France – Le Cercle de l’Union Interalliée, and naturally I accepted. What a thrill to penetrate the halls of such a venerable institution as this and for a perfect reason; to photograph a young couple about to engage in the vows of marriage. Indeed the real wedding will take place in India, so this Parisian event was the only moment that friends and family unable to travel to India could celebrate the bride and groom to be. A little history. The Union Interalliée was founded in 1917 at the point when the United States entered into the war. The founders conceived of a place where officers and personalities of the Allied nations could rejoin and give each other moral support and share resources. Receiving support from many, they were able to acquire the hotel Henri de Rothschild in 1920 and thereby encourage diplomatic relations between the allied nations. The building is situated on rue Faubourg Saint Honoré, just down the street from the Elysée Palace and … Read More
A modern example of Organic Architecture by Taliesin West architect This modern residence and formal garden located in Western Oregon was designed and constructed by a graduate of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin West. His interest in learning the principles of Organic Architecture, as Frank Lloyd Wright referred to his own work, is underlined by Wright’s words; “Learn the principles and do not copy me.” The principles of Organic Architecture encompass an overall design process where everything relates to one another both on the inside and the outside. The relationship of the building to its natural surroundings is as important as the details in its interior – from the windows, to the floors, to the furniture that fills the space. Organic Architecture covers the construction materials, motifs and design principles which work together as a unified whole to build a central mood and theme. The fundamental design of this architect’s home which includes broad cantilevers, horizontal lines and open interior space, all strong elements of Organic Architecture, give this private residence a ‘Wright look’. After twenty one years, this house still maintains that timeless quality that Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes are known for. A quote from … Read More
The Gordon House | Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian vision The Oregon Garden welcomed one of the last of the ‘Usonian’ home series designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1957 for Evelyn and Conrad Gordon, The Gordon House, which its 2001 owners wished to tear down. The building was dismantled and restored to its new environment in Silverton. Designed for the American working-class consumer, a Usonian home was a small, single-story house constructed with native materials. It had a flat roof and cantilevered overhangs for energy efficiency and clerestory windows to enhance the visual relationship between interior and exterior. A carport (word coined by Wright) served to shelter a parked vehicle. These homes, of which Wright designed about sixty, are considered to be an aesthetic precursor to ranch-style dwellings.
Paris, seen from the inside For the past several years, I have been photographing Parisian interiors for home owners and rental agencies. Using ambient light and tripod, working with long exposures and a low ISO, I render these spaces without artifice. I am beginning to amass quite a collection of images showing the Parisian lifestyle at it’s most intimate: “chez soi” (seen from the inside). The above chapter on Residential Interiors from my Architecture Portfolio includes some of this work.