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Vellay, Dominique

Vellay, Dominique

PERSONAL:

Female.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Paris, France.

CAREER:

Journalist, designer.

WRITINGS:

(With Francois Halard) La Maison De Verre: Pierre Chareau's Modernist Masterwork, Thames & Hudson (London, England), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Dominique Vellay is a journalist and a designer based in Paris, France. Among other things, she has designed and created the costumes for a number of films. In 2007, she published a book with Francois Halard, La Maison De Verre: Pierre Chareau's Modernist Masterwork, for which she provided the text while Halard provided the photographs. La Maison De Verre refers to the house of the same name, which means "the glass house," a Parisian townhouse that was originally built in the eighteenth century. In 1928, Annie and Jean Dalsace, who were Vellay's grandparents, hired the French architect Chareau to transform the townhouse for them, updating it to a more modern dwelling. Over the four years that followed, Chareau did just that, transforming the three-story building as well as its courtyard into a modern-day wonder that still impresses visitors nearly a century later. The house features marvelous details, including see-through walls, balconies that are supported by bookcases, remote controlled windows, staircases that appear to go nowhere, and other intriguing features. The extensive use of glass bricks on the house led to its name, as did its aspect from the street, as it is all but invisible to someone passing by. In addition to the physical construction, Chareau included an assortment of fixtures—lights, railings, and so on—to further adorn his creation, and modernist furniture sets off his design. Vellay herself visited the house frequently as a child, and eventually spent time living in it as well. As a result, her own personal family impressions are included in the book, along with the more traditional, physical impressions depicted by the photographs. The house still belongs to the family, and as a result is a private residence, unavailable to members of the public for viewing. This makes the collaboration of Vellay and Halard more valuable to anyone interested in Chareau's work, or in the innovative architecture and design of the period. The building has been called a masterpiece of the Modernist style, and it is considered Chareau's masterpiece as well. For those interested in the original renovations in the late 1920s and early 1930s, three sets of architectural plans for the house have also been included in the volume, reflecting the different stages of the townhouse's metamorphosis. Reviewing the book for the Library Journal, Russell T. Clement found it to be "highly recommended for comprehensive design and architecture collections."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Vellay, Dominique, and Francois Halard, La Maison De Verre: Pierre Chareau's Modernist Masterwork, Thames & Hudson (London, England), 2007.

PERIODICALS

Library Journal, July 1, 2007, Russell T. Clement, review of La Maison De Verre, p. 92.

ONLINE

Thames and Hudson Web site,http://www.thamesandhudson.com/ (February 5, 2008), book blurb for La Maison De Verre.

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