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HIS “FATHER’S WATCH”
My father passed away when I was two. My mother, knowing it would be many years before I could wear my father’s watch, gave it to my father’s brother. My uncle was so touched by this gesture he promised my mother that he would buy me my first good watch. At 15, he gave me this beautiful, symbolic gift—a midcentury Omega Constellation Automatic Chronometer that I have worn ever since. I still call it my father’s watch, even though it technically wasn’t his.
THE MIES VAN DER ROHE ARCHIVE($561, amazon.com)
Several years after starting to work as an architect in Chicago, I became a big fan of Mies Van Der Rohe. It wasn’t love at first sight, which could be why I believe the way his architecture reaches your heart is through your mind.
BARCELONA CHAIR ANNIVERSARY WELD
When Knoll commemorated the [80th anniversary of Mies Van Der Rohe’s] Barcelona chair in 2009, they made a little, limited-edition sculpture of its famous weld and had each engraved with the name of the recipient. I have number 76 out of 100. [It] sits proudly in my living room, surrounded by a few Mies furniture designs and architectural books.
A CHUNK OF TRAVERTINE
One of my favorite interiors in Chicago was the old Arts Club [on 109 East Ontario Street], a space that housed the original game-changing stairs designed by Mies Van Der Rohe. The preservation fight was lost and the interior space was destroyed [in 1995]. An architectural historian friend gave me this little gift—a small rectangle of travertine salvaged from the demolition.
ED PASCHKE’S HUBERT AND TUDOR
It was around 1992 when I acquired my first Paschke pieces—two 1970s lithographs, one titled Hubert, the other Tudor. I love how they’re black and white—it’s not what most people expect when they think of Paschke—and that they were his answer to criticism he received for his previous “female entertainers” series.
Photography: Anna Knott
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