Oct 20, 2011

Now that is a ceiling! The work of Warren Platner

Currently working on the most fabulous early 1970s home in Hawthorn,
so I'm surrounding myself with the best of the era 
to engage in the right frame of mind. 
This amazing ceiling is the work of the late 
American architect & interior designer William Platner.
Let's have a quick look at some of his other work.
Perhaps best known for his Platner furniture for Knoll in 1962,
William Platner knew how to work a curve 
and how to throw a colour or two together.

The sensuous curvy lines were a bit of a Platner signature.
Which just goes to show:
you can't judge a book by its cover.
Working for Eero Saarinen & later Kevin Roche,
he developed an interest in interior design.
Platner brought a warm glamour to many of the interiors of 
larger scale Modernist buildings of the 1960s.

Like this Ford Foundation building (Manhattan, 1967),
where he introduced timbers in the offices for richness 
against the corten steel window frames.
These desks were specifically designed for the project to reduce clutter.
His own house was a mix of Modernism & flamboyance.
Book lined corridors, 
blocks of colour from the yellow banquette & red carpet,
mixed with random stone and a mirrored ceiling. 
Yep - it's eclectic!
The one room Modernist concept, 
but with cosy seating, 
deliberately framed windows creating shafts of light
& texture as pattern.
His work became more colourful as the 60s became the 70s.
And perhaps the building which best illustrates his work
as an interior designer of the flamboyant style
was this confection in Kansas City completed in 1974,
The American Restaurant.

Now that is definitely what I would call a fabulous ceiling! 
 Shall we pop in for a cocktail or two?

Warren Platner, 1919-2006
images: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12


  1. I love Warren Platner's work and that ceiling is just beautiful. I have to admit though that I love his tables best of all, the chairs don't seem to have quite the same level of sexy gracefulness!

  2. Hello Anna! That's an interesting point, and I hadn't thought of them that way. They are divinely comfortable though, so perhaps that makes them a little more forgiven? Vxx

  3. renee finberg20/10/11 2:00 PM

    i am fainting!!!
    i love this!!

    thanks xx

  4. robinsonheather20/10/11 7:18 PM

    Wow, what a fantastic post, Virginia! I knew his furniture but not his other work. I am curious if that great ceiling still exists...?

    And you know me, I am always up for a few cocktails, but as it is KC that means that we would HAVE to follow them up with some of the world's best BBQ. :) Chicken for you, ribs for me!

  5. robinsonheather20/10/11 7:21 PM

    ps. Yes it does and holy cow look at the menu!


  6. Hattatt Janeandlance20/10/11 7:25 PM

    Hello Virginia:
    What a fascinating post this is. Certainly the  conservatively dressed Mr. Platner of the photograph belies the flamboyant and glamorous style of many of his works. And, oh, what a ceiling! Were the 1970s ever more interesting than this? We do not think so. Bravo and make ours a Manhattan!!

  7. This is some ceiling...amazing, and I love the Platner furniture!!

  8. Joy at Joyfulthings21/10/11 5:33 AM

    I love the house and the setting - absolutely beautiful.

  9. That was about my reaction too Renee! Wobbly knees and all! Vxx

  10. Now look at you Heather. While I have been sleeping, you have been busy researching! I was about to say that yes, it certainly does exist, despite a little bit of (fairly sympathetic) renovation in the 1980s, they had the forbearance to protect and preserve this treasure.

    Oh and the ribs + chicken. Well my issue with meat is not against meat itself, it is the way it is farmed. So it just has to be cruelty-free for me to be able to purchase and eat it. In Australia, it is easy to procure free range chicken, beef and lamb, but not so easy to find free range pork. Although thank goodness this is changing quite rapidly. (I grew up on an organic farm - my parents were kinda out there with their ideas in the 1970s, but they were able to directly supply top restaurants even way back then.) Vxx

  11. Hello Jane and Lance. Yes, isn't it interesting that he looks so demure? And every account I have read of him suggests the same thing. So how was he able to produce these incredibly flamboyant works? He was hugely influential in the transition from chrome to brass in the 1970s, so it just gets more fascinating as one delves deeper. What would Freud say? Vxx

  12. Hi Design Chic! One of the best modern ceilings of the time, I think. No - of the 20th century! Vxx

  13. Hello Joy. Yes, what a setting, with the lake and the grounds! So very peaceful. Vxx

  14. These ceilings are incredible - I think clearly inspired by the stone vaulted ceilings of English tudor cathedrals but using modern materials to emphasise a feeling of lightness - just stunning!

    It's a true pleasure to 'meet' your blog - the mix of fashion and interior design is so thoughtfully arranged and beautifully laid out.

    - Catherine -  The Spring (in Brisbane)


  15. Hello Catherine! Glad you popped in to "meet" me and welcome to glamour drops. I agree with you - these ceilings do indeed look like a modern interpretation of the old tudor cathedrals. A bit Gaudi-esque too, perhaps, with the idea of the column growing up onto the ceiling. Vxx

  16. Wow!  Those ceiling definitely has that wow factor! They are gorgeous and amazing! Thanks for sharing his work with us. Those Platner dining table and chairs are my favorites, too.


  17. Hard to find a lot of Platner's architecture, but I always loved his dining room addition to Prospect house at Princeton.


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