Jack Lenor Larsen founded his own textile design company in 1953. Today, the Larsen name is “synonymous with exquisite woven fabrics, epitomizing the point at which modernism, craft and technology intersect”. In their Vows series, the New York Times recently featured a hand-forged stainless steel mango fork whose design (which pierces the stem end of the fruit) allows you to enjoy a mango as you might a lollipop. The genius idea was hatched by LongHouse, Mr. Larsen’s reserve whose beloved collections, gardens, sculpture and programs reflect world cultures and promote lives more creative. As one who has struggled with mango encounters on cutting boards and such… I just had to know more.
LongHouse Reserve occupies sixteen acres in East Hampton, NY, and its collection features pieces from Buckminster Fuller, Yoko Ono and William de Kooning to name a few. Mr. Larsen’s home, LongHouse, was built as a case study to exemplify a creative approach to contemporary life – believing that visitors experiencing art in living spaces have a unique learning experience – more meaningful than the best media. The reserve’s gardens present the designed landscape as an art form and offer a diversity of sites for the sculpture installations. “The gardens at LongHouse serve as a living case study of the interaction between plants and people in the 21st century. We not only create landscapes as an art form, we simultaneously demonstrate planting potentials in this climate – with a wide variety of natural and cultivated species,” reads the LongHouse website.
Beyond the multi-dimensional visitor experience, LongHouse also offers a spare collection of finely curated books and other items for purchase on their website. Which takes us back to the mango fork whose long center tine pierces the base of the center section right through the seed of the mango and will also spear shrimp or lobster meat. Hand forged of stainless steel with a natural charcoal handle, it should not take long for this gem to become a kitchen staple! Alongside this, beckons the purposefully designed incense burner (pictured above, from Cinnamon Projects) crafted of solid brass, which seamlessly marries the ancient with the modern.
The arc of Mr. Larsen’s creative life is unpacked visually in the book A Weaver’s Memoir (Harry N. Abrams). The book’s pages reflect on his extraordinary life and career upon his graduation from the Cranbrook Academy of Art through the founding of his own textile design company in 1953 and on through his life of creating and working with with exquisite woven fabrics. Another swell gift this holiday season, this title and other similar books are available for purchase on the LongHouse website.