The Opulent Modernism of Platner

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November 19, 2010

For Warren Platner, whose modernist pedigree would make any contemporary designer squeal, design was all about the right groovy palette for the right glitzy project. Minimalists need not apply.

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  Warren Platner designed the American Restaurant in Kansas City in 1974 as part of a complex of modern buildings commissioned by the Hall family of Hallmark Cards. He described the bentwood, brass and lipstick-red interior as “like a huge lace Valentine.”
    Warren Platner designed the American Restaurant in Kansas City in 1974 as part of a complex of modern buildings commissioned by the Hall family of Hallmark Cards. He described the bentwood, brass and lipstick-red interior as “like a huge lace Valentine.”
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  Platner’s own wire series chairs for Knoll were used in the reception rooms at Windows on the World, the restaurant ­located on the top floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center and completed in 1976.
    Platner’s own wire series chairs for Knoll were used in the reception rooms at Windows on the World, the restaurant ­located on the top floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center and completed in 1976.
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  He specified many reflective surfaces, including custom brass lamps and a gold-leaf wall covered in gold globes.
    He specified many reflective surfaces, including custom brass lamps and a gold-leaf wall covered in gold globes.
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  In a deft stroke, he managed to create intimate alcoves and terraces for every table while still giving each a generous view.  Courtesy of: Ezra Stoller
    In a deft stroke, he managed to create intimate alcoves and terraces for every table while still giving each a generous view.

    Courtesy of: Ezra Stoller

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  Platner designed his own house in Guilford, Connecticut, in 1970, as a set of pavilions centered on a great room. At the center of the great room was a fur-covered sofa surrounded by more furniture, in tones of taupe and tan, of Platner’s own design.
    Platner designed his own house in Guilford, Connecticut, in 1970, as a set of pavilions centered on a great room. At the center of the great room was a fur-covered sofa surrounded by more furniture, in tones of taupe and tan, of Platner’s own design.
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  The house included a number of interior windows and window seats, which he called “terraces,” including one with 
a view of the dining room.
    The house included a number of interior windows and window seats, which he called “terraces,” including one with 
a view of the dining room.
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  A hallway ends in a built-in bookshelf and a banquette backed with brass.
    A hallway ends in a built-in bookshelf and a banquette backed with brass.
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  Platner worked for Eero Saarinen in the early 1960s, overlapping with Kevin Roche, Cesar Pelli, Robert Venturi, Ralph Rapson, Gunnar Birkerts, Niels Diffrient, and photographer Balthazar Korab.
    Platner worked for Eero Saarinen in the early 1960s, overlapping with Kevin Roche, Cesar Pelli, Robert Venturi, Ralph Rapson, Gunnar Birkerts, Niels Diffrient, and photographer Balthazar Korab.
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  “The concept is similar to a chateau in the Loire Valley,” Platner said of his own house in Guilford, Connecticut.
    “The concept is similar to a chateau in the Loire Valley,” Platner said of his own house in Guilford, Connecticut.
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  The Kent Memorial Library in Suffield, Connecticut, one of Platner’s few freestanding buildings, escaped demolition in 2008.  Courtesy of: Ezra Stoller
    The Kent Memorial Library in Suffield, Connecticut, one of Platner’s few freestanding buildings, escaped demolition in 2008.

    Courtesy of: Ezra Stoller

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  Platner is best known for his line of iconic wire chairs and tables for Knoll.  Courtesy of: Ezra Stoller
    Platner is best known for his line of iconic wire chairs and tables for Knoll.

    Courtesy of: Ezra Stoller

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  One of Platner’s last projects was a pair of English cross-channel ferries, the Fantasia and the Fiesta, for which he designed yellow Union Jack carpeting and lavender chairs.
    One of Platner’s last projects was a pair of English cross-channel ferries, the Fantasia and the Fiesta, for which he designed yellow Union Jack carpeting and lavender chairs.
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  A 500-pound executive status symbol? Yes, in the form of a $6,000 leather, wood, and bronze desk designed by Platner. “I thought of these things as trees,” he said.
    A 500-pound executive status symbol? Yes, in the form of a $6,000 leather, wood, and bronze desk designed by Platner. “I thought of these things as trees,” he said.

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