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VIDEO: Dwell Presents Jen Risom's Island Home

  • 30
    Nov
    2012
  • by
  • News Videos

If you're at all immersed in the design world, you already know the name of Danish-American furniture designer Jens Risom. And, if you know Jens Risom, you most certainly know the mid-century, pre-fab house he designed and built on an isolated island 13 miles off the coast of New England. 

If you don't know it - now's the time to get acquainted. The gorgeous summer home - which famously graced the pages of LIFE Magazine in 1976, has recently been featured by Dwell in a video.

The house, which has stood on Block Island for 45 years with relatively little renovation, despite the island's notoriously powerful gales of wind, defies the stereotype that pre-fabricated buildings can't be built to last (or beautifully designed).  Indeed, Risom only attempted the venture because of the "personal freedom" that pre-fabrication afforded him. As he explains: “Architecture, to me, is the most beautiful of the arts. But I watched my father [an architect] struggle with the challenges, what was to me an enormous drawback: The architect did not fully drive the end product. I always knew that I wanted to design, but only [if I could] create products over which I had total control.”

More on this extraordinary home and its designer, after the break...

"The Mad Men of Mid-Century Design" - George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom. Playboy Magazine, July 1961. Image via The Selvedge Yard.
"The Mad Men of Mid-Century Design" - George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom. Playboy Magazine, July 1961. Image via The Selvedge Yard.

Risom, who drew the plans for the house himself, found a pre-fab company that could provide the components of the A-Frame House exactly as he wanted them: weathered wood, cedar shingles, a wall of glass, a 20-foot-high cathedral ceiling. Each part was delivered to the island in pieces via truck and "tug." It cost $20,700. 

As Dwell contributor Amanda Dameron explains, Risom's home (built in the late 60s) helped raise the aesthetic profile of modular construction at a time when prefab suffered from the post–World War II “cheapjack reputation" for “dreary sameness.” And, judging from how Dwell's beautifully crafted video captures the home's gorgeous simplicity, Risom's house continues to make a powerful argument for pre-fab today.

Story via Dwell

Courtesy of Dwell
Courtesy of Dwell
Cite:Vanessa Quirk. "VIDEO: Dwell Presents Jen Risom's Island Home" 30 Nov 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/299905/video-dwell-presents-jen-risoms-island-home/>