Changing Seasons By Camilla Hellman
This week, The Four Seasons Restaurant situated in the Seagram Building in New York – which has been the place to go for a “power lunch” since opening it’s doors in 1959 – auctioned (almost) everything off, due to its lease not being renewed (although the skyscraper’s owner, RFR Holding Corp co-founded by investor Aby Rosen, is looking for a new restaurant tenant). The restaurant was designed by renowned Scottish architect Philip Johnson. When it opened, The New York Times’ Craig Claiborn noted it was “spectacular, modern and audacious, both in décor and in menu.”
Some items are to be relocated to the New Four Seasons Restaurant (no location as yet) but pots, pans, china, chairs, tables and even contents of the wine cellar were all auctioned off. However, the Seagram Restaurant space is landmarked and so preserved were architectural details – curtain rods, and the magnificent bar, for instance. The art was also not sold. At the last moment, The Metropolitan Museum of Art received some items (including a Philip Johnson sofa) which are rumoured to be for a Four Seasons Period Room at the MET.
The designer of the restaurant, Philip Johnson, was a leading voice within the modernist architectural movement during the second half of the twentieth century and was a big influence in the worlds of architecture, art and design. In New Canaan, CT, he designed The Glass House (pictured above) with its innovative use of materials and its seamless integration into the landscape. The Glass House is now a cultural centre run by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, and will receive proceeds from the sale of Johnson’s famous three-sided Banquette (pictured below).