Pellecchia and Meyers’ Oak Furniture

A photograph of the planter, designed by Pellecchia and Meyers, in the Center’s stairwell reveals its interior construction of copper flashing and fiberglass. The oak paneling is rift sawn white oak, which relates to the material used for the rest of the millwork and furniture in the interiors of the building. The white oak planters, which are shown here with artificial ficus trees, are a recreation giving an impression of their original use and appearance. From 1977 to 1999, planters could be found throughout the Center’s Entrance Court, Library Court, and upper galleries. Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, the wife of Paul Mellon, the Center’s founder, had a background in horticulture and played a role in deciding what to plant. The planters were then temporarily held in the Lecture Hall Lobby, which came to be known as “The Plant Room” among the staff. It is often still referred to as such, though its function was to serve as an access and lobby area for the Center’s Lecture Hall.

In addition to the planters, Pellecchia and Meyers designed a series of oak tables and benches. The tables each feature an inset laminate geometrical shape in medium gray that echoes the raw materials in the building like concrete and steel. The small round white oak table featured here is known as the T5. A larger version of this table, and a collection of small rectangular ones, are still used in the museum’s offices and staff lounge. This table was originally paired with a semicircular arrangement of the Chadwick modular seating in the Entrance Court, which can be seen in a photograph from 1977 (see below). The pairing was perhaps an experiment just prior to the opening of the Center, as there was no artwork yet installed in the galleries. It was also less in line with Kahn’s vision for the Entrance Court, as his illustrations depicted hard benches. However, bringing the table back together with the Chadwick seats for this exhibition seemed fitting as most visitors are familiar with the straight module Chadwicks placed in pairs, back-to-back in the galleries.    

 

Architectural Drawing, Planter for Court, Pellecchia and Meyers Architects, 1977, Institutional Archives, Yale Center for British Art

Architectural Drawing, Planter for Court, Yale Center for British Art, Pellecchia and Meyers Architects, 1977, Institutional Archives, Yale Center for British Art 

Pellecchia and Meyers, Planter for Court, 1977, white oak, plywood, copper, fiberglass, and steel, 32″ H x 45 ¾″ W x 45 ¾″ D, Yale Center for British Art, photo by Richard Caspole

Pellecchia and Meyers, Planter for Court, 1977, white oak, plywood, copper, fiberglass, and steel, 32″ H x 45 ¾″ W x 45 ¾″ D, Yale Center for British Art, photo by Richard Caspole

Pellecchia and Meyers, Planter for Court, 1977, white oak, plywood, copper, fiberglass, and steel, 32″ H x 45 ¾″ W x 45 ¾″ D, Yale Center for British Art, photo by Richard Caspole

Pellecchia and Meyers, Planter for Court, 1977, Yale Center for British Art, photo by Richard Caspole

David Finn, Entrance and threshold, Yale Center for British Art, National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC, © David Finn Archive, Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC

David Finn, Entrance and threshold, Yale Center for British Art, National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC, © David Finn Archive, Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC

Long Gallery, from William H. Jordy, “Art Centre, Yale University, architect: Louis I. Kahn,” Architectural Review 162, no. 695 (July 1977): 12. © Cervin Robinson

Long Gallery, from William H. Jordy, “Art Centre, Yale University, architect: Louis I. Kahn,” Architectural Review 162, no. 695 (July 1977): 12. © Cervin Robinson

Daylit entry court with view toward giftshop, from Michael J. Crosbie, “Evaluation: Monument Before Its Time, Yale Center for British Art, Louis Kahn,” Architecture Quarterly (Spring 1986): 38, photo by Michael Marsland

Daylit entry court with view toward giftshop, from Michael J. Crosbie, “Evaluation: Monument Before Its Time, Yale Center for British Art, Louis Kahn,” Architecture Quarterly (Spring 1986): 38, photo by Michael Marsland

 

Architectural Drawing, Furniture, Yale Center for British Art and British Studies, Pellecchia and Meyers Architects, 1976, Institutional Archives, Yale Center for British Art

Architectural Drawing, Furniture, Yale Center for British Art, Pellecchia and Meyers Architects, 1976, Institutional Archives, Yale Center for British Art

Pellecchia and Meyers, T5 Table, 1976, white oak, plastic laminate, 15″ H x 21 ½″ Round, Yale Center for British Art, photo by Richard Caspole

Pellecchia and Meyers, T5 Table, 1976, white oak, plastic laminate, 15″ H x 21 ½″ Round, Yale Center for British Art, photo by Richard Caspole

The Reception Area, from Peter Inskip, Stephen Gee in association with Constance Clement, Louis I. Kahn and the Yale Center for British Art. A Conservation Plan, (New Haven and London: Yale Center for British Art, Yale Univ. Press, 2011), 92. Courtesy the Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Louis Isadore Kahn Collection

The Reception Area, from Peter Inskip, Stephen Gee in association with Constance Clement, Louis I. Kahn and the Yale Center for British Art. A Conservation Plan, (New Haven and London: Yale Center for British Art, Yale Univ. Press, 2011), 92. Courtesy the Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Louis Isadore Kahn Collection

Center stairwell photo with Chadwick modular seating and T5 Table, photo by Richard Caspole

Center stairwell photo with Chadwick modular seating and T5 Table, photo by Richard Caspole