Upon America’s entrance into Word War II in 1941, the country focused on wartime production to supply armaments and vehicles for campaigns in Western Europe and the Pacific. In order to house the thousands of workers building ships in the San Pedro Harbor, architect Richard Neutra (1892-1970) was commissioned to design the Channel Heights Housing Project. Families living in the low-rent structures had access to a health center, gardens, daycare, and even a woodshop for the workers to build their own furniture. The rooms were spartan but comfortable, outfitted with built-in furniture and Neutra’s famous Boomerang Chair. Prior to the completion of the development, Julius Shulman photographed the lamp resting on a Channel Heights windowsill. The housing project long ago demolished, the lamp, designed at Neutra’s Silver Lake workspace, has remained in the family’s California homes ever since. According to Neutra’s son, Raymond, “This lamp and I have grown old together, surviving the battering of seven decades and showing the inevitable scars.”
– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer
One of only two known examples to survive, this lamp is the epitome of what would later be known as “form follows function”. Four simple planks of wood, a pane of glass, a light bulb, and wire come together in an elegantly simple design that captures Neutra’s essence. His programmatic architecture is reflected in the cantilevered and asymmetrical elements.
– Peter Loughrey
Dr. Neutra who is auctioning this family heirloom, is donating the proceeds to the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation for the restoration of the Richard and Dion Neutra VDL studio and residences.
Prototype table lamp
Channel Heights Housing Project
10.125″ h x 18″ l x 4″ d
Estimate $20,000 – $30,000
To be offered in the May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction