For those interested in going beyond merely keeping up with the Joneses, outdoor furnishings are a great way to leave the neighbs in the dust without undertaking a full-scale home renovation. Considering that this kind of thing can often involve a pretty hefty investment, why not follow the "go big or go home" school of backyard decorating? For that, there's few better options than department store Neiman Marcus, everyone's favorite peddler of unnecessary gifts, which included a $30K single-night stay in Philip Johnson's Glass House in last fall's Fantasy Gifts Guide. Another not-to-be-missed item from the same unbelievable tome: a $150K "Bespoke Global Falconry Companion," which comes with "Chatwin chairs and a foldout table by Richard Wrightman, the foremost designer of bespoke campaign furniture," who has apparently designed pieces for the King of Jordan. This way for more over-the-top outdoor decor items, from the well-designed to the, well, utterly insane.
↑ For when one tires of playing with birds, the same Neiman Marcus guide also includes a $1.5M "Outdoor Entertainment System" that "emerges from its discreet, underground cache" at the push of a button, and is made from "the most advanced marine-grade components specifically developed for super yachts."
↑ This spring in London, 103 pieces of furniture designed by famous architects went up for auction at Phillips. Still looking for its forever home is a "Porosity Bench" by Steven Holl, designer of many a grand institution and award-winning home. With an estimated worth between $13K and $20K, this prototype is signed "S. Holl 7/08" on the underside in black marker.
↑ Part of the same Phillips collection, this "demountable entry lodge" by French designer and occasional prefab dabbler Jean Prouvé was designed to be quickly and easily assembled by soldiers in WWII. The only known surviving piece from a production run of an unknown amount, this historically significant piece would make a great starchitect-connected garden retreat. Or would have, if it didn't sell for $312K.
↑ In a similar vein, this cardboard teahouse by Pritzker-approved Japanese architect and reusable material wiz Shigeru Ban is still up for grabs, estimated at somewhere between $68K and $100K.
↑ Last year, the playhouse architects of the U.K.'s Master Wishmakers were approached by Robb Report magazine, the self-styled "international authority" on everything obscenely luxurious under the sun, to create a treehouse, of all things, for its 2013 holiday gift guide. As it appeared in the guide, the 20,000-square-foot monstrosity sported "zip lines, a pool, a lazy river, a helipad, a water-operated elevator, and more," and was marked with a literally unbelievable $62M price tag. But lest this redoubtable backyard play palace get accused of being mere luxury item trolling, according to the Wishmaker's marking director, "at the end of the day, it can actually be built."The company has apparently fielded "quite a few calls" from interested parties, mostly people living in the Middle East, but also from at least one chairman of a large oil conglomerate, who's thinking about turning the design into a hotel.
· All Outdoors Week 2014 posts [Curbed National]
· Neiman Marcus's Fantasy Holiday Catalog is as Batshit as Ever [Fashionista]
· Come, Let's ID Famous Architects by Their Furniture Designs [Curbed National]
· Let UK's Master Wishmakers Fulfill All Your Wildest Dreams of $86,500 Playhouses and $62M Treehouses [Curbed National]