Monday, November 1, 2010

Bernat Klein Studio

Bernat Klein (born 1922) is a Serbian textile designer and painter. Based in Scotland, Klein supplied textiles to haute couture designers in the 1960s and 1970s, and later sold his own clothing collections.

In 1962, Coco Chanel chose Klein's fabrics for her spring collection, which led to greater exposure and further sales to couture houses in the US and Europe including Dior, Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin and Saint Laurent.[2] The company was renamed Bernat Klein Limited, and a major stake in the business was acquired by a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco.

Klein resigned from this company in 1966, setting up on his own again. He based himself at his home near Selkirk, where he commissioned a studio building from the architect Peter Womersley, who had designed Klein's house, High Sunderland, in the 1950s. He established a cottage industry of hand-knitters, employing up to 250 people. During the 1970s he began producing his own clothing collections, and later established himself as a design and colour consultant. The Department of the Environment commissioned him in the latter capacity to develop standard ranges of carpets and upholstery fabrics

Without my GPS to clue me in, I would have driven right by this place without a second glance.  It now sits in an overgrown lot and looks completely derelict.  What I find interesting about this sort of building is how simple and easily constructed it is, though many architects seem to be all gaga about it.  I suppose that is a typical modern art sensibility ie praising style woefully lacking in substance. There is nothing sophisticated structurally about it other than it has cantilevered slabs, something that Frank Lloyd Wright did almost 40 years earlier with Fallingwater. 
Apparently, there is a plan in place for its reuse here: High Sunderland Studio Plan  It really is a cool building and it certainly has cache, if you like this sort of architecture... 

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