Taschen's tastes keep his books alive / CBS / 2011
''It was unique,'' Ms. Taschen recalled. ''Authentic and intense, idealistic and full of fantasy, nonconformist. I felt immediately that it fit our characters perfectly.'' The couple bought the house and set about repairing not only the building but also John Lautner's reputation.
Chemosphere was soon called ''the flying saucer house.'' It was built the year President John F. Kennedy exhorted his countrymen to reach for the moon. ''A lot of people would drive up from the valley to see what it was,'' Mr. Malin said. But it was never intended to look like a U.F.O, he continued, adding, ''It was just the best structural application that met my personality.'' ➡︎
"It was for sale for so long," says Taschen, "that it was even in a 'Simpsons' episode: a house with a for-sale sign."
Chemosphere was characteristically Los Angeles of that time because "it didn't have to look like a house," says Hess. "It was an architecture newly defined. It could take on its own brand-new shape. It displays the optimism of its time: that technology can be used to solve any problem, just as Century City and Googie's," the Lautner-designed Sunset Boulevard coffee shop, did. "The West would not be possible without technology: Water, electricity, everything that it took to overcome dryness and distance was dependent in some form on technology."
Hess finds the house fascinating partly because it was built for a couple and their four children. "And yet whenever that house is used in the movies, it's always a decadent bachelor pad," Hess says. "You have the reality of Southern California life, and the image of Southern California life, summed up in one house."
During the first few years the Taschens lived there, the house became locally famous for their parties, where photographer Bill Claxton and his model wife Peggy Moffett would carouse with porn stars, jazz musicians and director Billy Wilder. ➡︎