Alamo Hardwoods Blog

Sculpture by Mathias Goeritz

alamo hardwoods | san antonio mathias goeritz wood sculpture modern
Exhibit in Mexico City
Mexico City is always full of surprises and one of them is the museum Antiguo Casa de Itturbide in the historic center that shows varying cultural items.
Once it was mid century modern architectural drawings and models, highlighting some of Mexico's most impressive buildings such as the National Anthropology Museum.

This time, there was an exhibition of work by a German artist, Mathias Goeritz, who immigrated to Mexico after World War 2.
He brought the forward, clean futuristic theory and aesthetic of Europe and blended it with the history and rusticity of Mexico in the fertile post war era.  He worked closely with the most well known modernist architect of that era in Mexico, Luis Barragan on some of his most visual projects, the Satellite towers (impressive even from the air).
The fruits of this collaboration show in the work of both men, elevating Barragan's buildings above simple structures, and formalizing and organizing the pure art of Goeritz.

Cross-pollenation can result in truly transformative objects that at once, exemplify and rise above their era.  Barragan's buildings have exerted a design influence over multiple generations of Mexican architects, some even nicknamed "Barriganis" (or "Little Barrigans"). Not sure if that's meant as a compliment or not. 
alamo hardwoods | san antonio wood sculpture mathias goertiz
"That Way!"

alamo hardwoods san antonio wood sculpture mathias goeritz

alamo hardwoods san antonio mathias goeritz wood snake sculpture
"If it was a snake it woulda bit ya!"

alamo hardwoods san antonio mathias goeritz wood sculpture assembled
Additive rather than subtractive process

alamo hardwoods san antonio

alamo hardwoods san antonio wood sculpture mathias goeritz

alamo hardwoods san antonio wood sculpture mathias goeritz

Posted by JR Huebinger on 20th October, 2016 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: architecture, art, artist, craftsman, cross cultures, details, history, Mexico, mid-century modern, modern, travel, wood
Tags: sculpture, Mathias goeritz, art, art artist community, Furniture, wood art, wood, modern design, handmade, history, mexico, mid century mod

Italian Wood Details

san antonio | alamo hardwoods | rome hotel lobby wood veneer
So much of a country is reflected in their religious architecture and the small details.
Italy, while swimming in marble and other fancy stones, still places high value on the beauty of wood.
The intricate burling and swirling of grain is often highlighted and displayed even though it truly is defective spots where the tree can't make up it's mind which way to grow.
It's rewarding to see wood holding it's own up against the other materials available, even though the budgets for these impressive structures is obviously quite substantial.
Hopefully the country will retain it's long history of handcrafting and attention to detail as the centuries progress.
alamo hardwoods | san antonio | church italy venice fur coat
You can tell it's a little chilly in here...

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | church pew wood rail with beetle damage
Over here this is caused by the "powder-post" beetle

alamo hardwoods |san antonio | italian church confessional wood veneered
Choice of language, snazzy! When the light comes on, your forgiveness is ready!

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | italian wood church confessional

alamo hardwoods | san antonio wood church ceiling rome italy
Anybody seen "Roman Holiday"?

Posted by JR Huebinger on 19th October, 2016 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: travel, wood, Italy, church, details
Tags: italy, inlaid veneer, travel, wood

Italy 2016

alamo hardwoods san antonio venice boat canal wooden boat
Bettcha know where this is, right?! YES, the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio (Not really)
Since you're probably getting tired of Mexico, here's a nice change of pace, Italy.

Wood is a wonderful unifying thread throughout so much design and architecture around the world. It immediately humanizes and warms the built environment.  Other materials serve purposes and might be harder, etc, but the feel that wood delivers in a space is unmatched.  There is an ease to working wood that allows details that would be much harder to accomplish in say metal (not to mention more expensive). And while ceramics are great for durability, they tend to slip out of fashion long before their true lifespan is up.

So here's some Italian Dressing for you........

alamo hardwoods san antonio venice gondola canal
These are made out of wood! (what else, carbon fiber?)

alamo hardwoods san antonio rome museum wood baseboard
A unique base detail in Capitoline Museum Roma

alamo hardwoods san antonio heringbone wood floor capitoline museum rome
"Herringbone" wood floor in the Capitoline Museum Roma

alamo hardwoods san antonio rome wood floor walnut
A fancy modern version of the wood floor, Roma

alamo hardwoods san antonio ferragamo museum wood veneer table
Figured (curly) wood veneer used to set off inlaid stone in a museum in Florence

san antonio alamo hardwoods white oak veneer rustic moder panels
Rustic white oak used in a modern setting in Venice

alamo hardwoods san antonio venice wood turned object shop window
Turned wood items in Venice shop

alamo hardwoods san antonio wood turnings shop venice

Here's his card in case you couldn't resist something!

Posted by JR Huebinger on 22nd September, 2016 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: architecture, art, art furniture, cross cultures, details, flooring, history, Italy, millwork, modern, veneer, wood
Tags: inlaid veneer, history, flooring, historic, historic preservation, wood, travel, italy

Church Details in Mexico

alamo hardwoods|san antonio | historic mexican church door carved wood
Mexico City Carved Church Door
The climate of Mexico City is high altitude, non humid, which allows woodwork to far outlast what we have here in San Antonio with a minimum of maintenance. This makes Mexico City a giant museum filled with historic doors and windows around every corner in a remarkable state of preservation.

It's always a treat to walk up to a hundreds of years old building and find a piece of wood that bears witness to the thousands upon thousands of people that have walked through those doors.

The Catholic Church used the finest woods they could find for their altars and religious items. Giant trees that had disappeared from Europe thousands of years earlier (lousy Romans burning up everything to heat their spas) were all over the new world.  Huge Mahogany trees gave giant planks of wood that we see in church pews and altars.  The fine wood took detail for carving as well or better than anything left back in the Old World. And if the French had all of the nice Walnut for carving and didn't want to share? Who needed 'em with the amazing quality and texture of a 500 year old mahogany tree. Species of woods that couldn't be imagined were all over the place (even the humble Mesquite tree has some pretty decent stuff compared to depleted European forests)
alamo hardwoods | san antonio | mexican church door wood nails
The nails that hold it together

alamo hardwoods san antonio mexican church door wood plugs
repairs over repairs

alamo hardwoods san anotnio mexican wod church door panel
Panel design

alamo hardwoods san abntonio mexico church ceiling

alamo hardwoods san antonio mexico church end grain wood floor
Traditional, yet with a modern twist!

alamo hardwoods san antonio mexico church pew mahogany single piece
Now THAT was a piece of wood! probably Mahogany

alamo hardwoods san antonio mexico church carved wood pulpit
Now THAT took more than one day.....

alamo hardwoods san antonio mexico church carved wood pulpit details leaves

alamo hardwoods san antonio mexico church pulpit carved wood
Take that in to "Antiques Roadshow"

Posted by JR Huebinger on 21st September, 2016 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: architecture, cross cultures, details, history, Mexico, church
Tags: mexican traditional woods, mexico, history, historic, wood, doors, church architecture

Hotel Mediterraneo Rome Italy

alamo hardwoods, san antonio, rome italy lobby hotel mediterraneo
Lobby of the Hotel Mediterraneo, Roma Italia
As much as we love our clients and our work here at Alamo Hardwoods, sometimes we have to get away also. 

Some places, once you've been there, call you back over and over.  Rome is one of those places.  The history just seeps into every corner and oozes out of the tiniest detail.  Having been 10 years ago, the Hotel Atlantico and it's sister, the Mediterraneo offer a dazzling look back into Italy's high design past. The lobby was designed to show off the best elements of classical Rome in a sexy art deco setting. It seems like almost nothing has been changed over the decades. You can imagine people coming into the main train station and walking up the steps in their best suits and furs.

Italy has a strong artisan tradition of fine detail inlay in stone, glass and also wood.  Each piece of veneer was carefully cut and laid out with the grain going just so.  The churches show artwork in what one would assume is a fresco, but on closer inspection is millions of tiny marble chips.  The ancient floors of the villas at Pompeii have colored stones set with the normal ones just for fun (and to show off how wealthy you were, let's not kid ourselves).

Even after all the centuries there's a constant feast for the eyes. Then the brain thinks, how could they have done that fine work so many years ago. Then you realize, there was simply nothing good on t.v. back then.
alamo hardwoods | san antonio | fireplace wall inlaid veneers hotel mediterraneo rome italy

alamo hardwoods | San antonio | italian wood veneer wall inlay decoration

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | italy hotel mediterraneo bar

alamo hardwoods | san antonio | veneer wall detail rome italy hotel mediterraneo

alamo hardwoods | san antonio| texas | italy rome elevator curly veneer wall

alamo hardwoods |san antonio | texas| italy hotel wood nightstand

alamo hardwoods | san antonio |texas |rome italy hotel wood veneer furniture

Posted by JR Huebinger on 18th April, 2016 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: architecture, cross cultures, details, Italy, Rome, veneer, millwork
Tags: Furniture, inlaid veneer, historic, exotic hardwood San Antonio, art deco, modern design

Mexico City, one more time!

mexico city subway
Unfortunately, the "easiest" way to get around Mexico City
Mexico City is a constantly changing mishmash of culture, food, people, and of course, traffic.  People complained about traffic in Rome recently, but it was quaint 1950's vintage postcard traffic compared to Mexico City's life changing (and threatening) daily commute.  Tuck your money in your shoe and take the subway, trust me.

But once you pop up out of the ground like a big touristic gopher, you can find insulated pockets of calm and quiet such as the Sanborn's downtown in the historic Casa De Los Azulejos.  You can just imagine yourself rolling into the big central court in your horse drawn carriage and climbing up to the second floor in your best Pride and Prejudice wear for an intimate formal dinner for fifty.  The details that survive the hundreds of years despite the daily onslaught of tortillas boggles the mind.

Even Mexico is not immune to the faux craze of tile and plastic imitating real wood.
Of course, wood could hold the odor of freshly cooked tripas, so maybe that's not a bad idea.....
mexico city, alamo hardwoods, san antonio, sanborns , azulejos
The Courtyard in Sanborns, downtown Mexico City

alamo hardwoods san antonio sanborns mexico city
Sanborn's ceiling

alamo hardwoods san antonio mexico sanborns azulejos food
Come for the building, stay for lunch

alamo hardwoods san antonio mexico city azulejos parquet floor
Parquet floor holding up in Sanborns

alamo hardwoods san antonio mexico city sanborns orozco
Orozco mural in Sanborns Azulejos

alamo hardwoods san antonio Pozole

alamo hardwoods san antonio
TRIPAS! ummmm.....ewww

alamo hardwoods san antonio fake wood tile and table
Do you really have to fake it that hard?

alamo hardwoods san antonio teak deck mexico city
Now isn't the real thing better?

Posted by JR Huebinger on 21st January, 2016 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks | Permalink
Categories: architecture, travel, Mexico, history, urban
Tags: mexico, history, urban life, historic preservation, historic

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