A set of leather Adirondack chairs, rice paper lamps, and an edition of Charles and Ray Eames’s Plywood Sculpture are among the handcrafted furnishings and artworks installed in and around the house and gardens of late landscape architect James Rose in Ridgewood, New Jersey, as part of the new exhibition At The Rose House. The show displays new designs by furniture and interiors studio Green River Project LLC alongside contemporary pieces and works from 20th-century designers and artists including Eames, Nancy Holt, and Anne Truitt.
The installation is a collaborative endeavor between Green River Project LLC and Object & Thing. Objects on display take cues from the work and residence of Rose, with contributions from galleries and organizations such as Blum & Poe, Eames Office, Electronic Arts Intermix, Holt/Smithson Foundation, Lisson Gallery, Matthew Marks Gallery, and P.P.O.W.
Rose, a landscape architect and theorist born in rural Pennsylvania, completed a number of projects in and around North Jersey, where he resided, as well as in New York, Connecticut, California, and abroad. During World War II he was stationed in Japan; his time there greatly influenced his work and life. He not only became a Zen Buddhist, but integrated Japanese architecture practices into his work, many of which are visible at the residence he hand-built for himself in 1953, which today serves as The James Rose Center, a foundation and museum established by Rose before he died that’s dedicated to preserving his life and work.
Among the Japanese elements found within his residence and landscape is an admiration for wood, the use of sliding doors and shoji screens, and access to the outdoors. In line with Buddhist practices, Rose constructed the upper floor of his residence into a meditation space, which is currently under restoration by The James Rose Center.
Apparent in the design of his personal abode is the landscape architect’s disdain for waste. He often reused and repurposed building materials, notably converting doors into benches and refashioning railroad ties into garden fences.
“The ease in which Rose expanded the home using ready-made materials was an early point of reference for our practice,” Aaron Aujla, cofounder of Green River Project LLC, said in a statement. “Ben Bloomstein and I also started Green River Project LLC as a gallery in the barn of his family’s farm in upstate New York, so organizing this exhibition with [Object & Thing] was a great exercise that has brought us back to one of our original goals.”
Green River Project LLC has contributed works to previous Object & Thing exhibitions that were similar stagings to the former homes of architect Gerald Luss and architect and industrial designer Eliot Noyes.
Designers and artists creating pieces for At The Rose House took to heart the ethos and ad hoc methods of the late landscape architect with their handcrafted designs and multimedia works. Among these installations are new pieces by designers working with Green River Project LLC, including rice paper lamps by Preziosi Lighting and a series of decorative wooden grooming essentials by Teague’s Path which line the bathroom shelving.
Other designers and artists contributing to the staged exhibition include clothing company Bode, which has designed attire similar to what Rose wore, a set of white leather Adirondack chairs by sculptor Hugh Hayden that contrast the dark-toned wood walls, a collection of dyed rice paper illustrations by Anne Truitt, and a 1943 edition of Plywood Sculpture by Eames Office on display for the first time in the United States.
To embody Rose’s regard for the union of nature and architecture, Pine Barrens, a 1975 film by Nancy Holt on the New Jersey landscape, plays on a loop from a television placed on top of makeshift cinderblock plinth, a design and use of object Rose most definitely would have approved. Several glass-blown flower vases line the cupboard shelves, alongside artwork and textiles on display that also harken to green landscapes.
“Rose was an impossible maverick, called by one author, ‘The James Dean of Landscape Architecture,’ but I think he would be very happy with the vision Green River Project LLC and Object & Thing have brought to his house and we look forward to welcoming new audiences throughout the exhibition,” Dean Cardasis, director of The James Rose Center, said in statement.
At The Rose House will be on view at The James Rose Center in Ridgewood, New Jersey, until October 2, 2022. More information on the house and exhibition can be found here.