Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Palm Beach Social Diary

The Mounts Botanical Garden spring benefit was held at Beth Rudin DeWoody's waterfront compound where a tropical landscape inspired by Santa Barbara's Lotusland sets the aesthetic stage for the property's play of Mid-Century Modern design with 21st-century artworks.
DeWoody hosts Mounts benefit + Mizner fountain may become a "recreation"
By Augustus Mayhew

Following Sunday afternoon's spring benefit for the Mounts Botanical Garden, the event's host, art collector, curator, patron and real estate executive Beth Rudin DeWoody may want to add Master Gardener to her portfolio as several hundred green thumbs converged at her artfully designed waterfront estate to support the area's oldest and largest public garden.

"Our most successful event," said Polly Reed, president of the Friends of the Mounts Botanical Garden. "Many thanks to Beth DeWoody and her staff, our volunteers, and our patrons whose generous donations will go to the development of new wetlands at the Mounts," Reed added.
A board member of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Beth DeWoody's interest in art is reflected in the compelling landscape that she dreamed up with landscape architect Alan Stopek. Stopek specializes in gardens utilizing tropical and Mediterranean plants, having also worked with the Garden Club of Palm Beach designing several of the group's public projects.
The Mounts board of directors and benefit patrons.
The Mounts Botanical Garden displays tropical and subtropical plants, including plants native to Florida, exotic trees, tropical fruit, herbs, citrus, and palms. A component of Palm Beach County's Cooperative Extension Service, and through its affiliation with the University of Florida, Mounts offers programs with renowned horticulturists, master gardeners, and participates in the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program. Most importantly, Mounts offers the area's most extensive variety of horticultural classes, garden-related events, and workshops.
Café Coconut owner Carol Katzenberg, the event's caterer, and Polly Reed, president of the Mounts Botanical Garden board of directors.
A trio of skyscraper agave blooms greeted guests at the front gate. A fresh colorful mushroom is planted as a centerpiece for the circular drive.
Foo dogs guard the front steps.
Having a white house primes it to serve as a canvas for the play of late afternoon shadows. If only Miami Beach's Art Deco district had kept their Mid-Century Modern buildings painted white, thus retaining more of their design integrity. Instead, the current palette of sherbet colors shade the buildings with a circus of color.
Artist Vincent Mazzeau's iced picnic table is the focal point for the front yard facing Flagler Drive.
A snowbird's daydream, perhaps.
Beyond the picnic table.
From the outside, looking into a window.
Jane Ellen Nugent.
Allen Sistrunk, director of the Mounts Botanical Garden, and Angela Budano.
Kit Pannill. Steven Chase.
As guests began to gather, a view of the east lawn from a guest house balcony, looking north towards a redefined Airstream trailer, artist Randy Palumbo's Lovestream #2, the poolhouse/bar, and the main house's pool.
A tropical tableau.
Leslie Mann and Deborah Hawkins.
The east elevation of the main house facing the Intracoastal Waterway.
A view from the east terrace of the main house looking southeast towards the poolhouse and Lovestream #1, a restored Airstream Caravel trailer. Beyond, the family and guest pavilions to the south of the Great Lawn between the estate's principal buildings.
Sculpture in the garden.
A radiant hibiscus in bloom was offered among the silent auction items.
Found along the north walk, between the front and the back. A dining area on the north terrace of the main house, looking north.
From the main house terrace looking southeast towards the poolhouse/bar.
Catherine Ford Brister. Clark and Briana Beatty.
Artist Randy Palumbo's Lovestream #1 appears to function as a guest accommodation.
George and Betsy Kallop.
Inside the Airstream's cozy luxury metallica, as interpreted by Randy Polumbo.
Vicky Hunt and Wylene Commander have their portrait done inside the revamped Airstream trailer, both a work of art and functional space.
Jimmy Clarke and Maureen Donnell step up on the terrace between the pool and the poolhouse.
The pool, looking east across the Intracoastal Waterway towards the Palm Beach Country Club.
From the pool terrace, a view looking southeast across the Intracoastal Waterway.
Susan Polan and Gerry Goldsmith.
A view of the pool, looking northwest.
The landscape to the north borders the north side of the pool leading east towards the Intracoastal. The landscape bordering the north edge of the property.
The poolhouse-cabana also accommodates an open bar, separating the grounds of the main house from the Great Lawn that divides it from the family and guest quarters housed in an east and west pavilion connected by a courtyard.
Poolhouse, north elevation. Poolhouse, south elevation, and hammock.
The scene at the poolhouse bar.
A chorus of coconut palms borders the south perimeter of the pool area.
Located on the Great Lawn, Lovestream#2 is a conceptual work of art by Randy Palumbo commissioned by Beth DeWoody.
Lovestream#2, a psych-socio showcase for evocative shapes and materials, a view through the porthole looking east towards the Waterway.
Sandy Smith with Don and Linda Silpe.
Patsy and George Conrades.
Paton White.
Barbara Bryant and Mary Randolph Ballinger.
Holly Breeden and Hawley McAuliffe.
The Great Lawn was the staging area for the silent auction tables and the Café Coconut grill.
Guests on the Great Lawn enjoyed an array of hors d'oeuvres and spectacular Intracoastal views.
A view of the Intracoastal, looking northeast towards North Lake Way on Palm Beach.
By 6:30, the Great Lawn was filled.
Nonagenarian and Palm Beach's Living Landmark James Augustine Ponce. Many of the guests wore colorful garden fashions.
Joan Fredrick and Charles Kibort.
A contemporary geometric artwork contrasts with the more traditional architectural treatments found in the east and west pavilions to the south of the Great Lawn.
A view of the east pavilion from across the courtyard, lap pool, and trellised arcade connecting the two family and guest quarters.
Tile benches are positioned at each of the lap pool.
The west pavilion, looking across the courtyard lap pool flanked by the arcade to the left and a hedge sheltering topiaries to the right with royal palms lining the outer perimeter.
Topiary, north hedge bordering courtyard. Topiary, north hedge bordering courtyard.
The arcade of light features an eclectic diverse mix of light fixtures.
I believe this is a birdhouse though it could also be an artful construct.
A bouquet and foo dogs add color and thought to the west pavilion.
A tile mosaic and geometric artwork are installed in a niche along the west pavilion's elevation facing the courtyard. A sculpture occupies a corner of the east pavilion's courtyard porch.
The arcade vine in bloom.
Irene Goodkind and Harry A. Striebel.
Elizabeth Crippen.
Anne and John Surovek. Sally Alice Smith.
The art of landscape on the Great Lawn to the north of the east pavilion.
A modernist sculpture frames a view of the Intracoastal Waterway.
A scenic vignette.
A poised arrangement found between the pool and the poolhouse.
The Mounts Botanical Garden is located at 531 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach. Open Monday-Saturday,8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, Noon-4 p.m.. For more information, call (561) 233-1757 or visit www.mounts.org.

Town plans to "recreate" original Mizner fountain
Memorial Fountain & Park, 1929. Addison Mizner, architect. August Godio, sculptor

What hurricanes or indifference could not destroy, the need to be modern may spell the end of what is considered one of architect Addison Mizner's last remaining most original works remaining in Palm Beach, as civic leaders are considering a reconfiguration of the plaza and complete replacement of the iconic fountain with what is described as a " recreation."

And while the Town's experts and consultants, joined by the Garden Club of Palm Beach and the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, believe a reconstruction of the Mizner fountain is the only viable possibility, one longtime resident, Orator Woodward, believes the town should rethink its options before scrapping what has been an iconic attraction for the past nearly 75 years.
Memorial Fountain Plaza, looking south towards Town Hall, as it looks in April 2013.
An early view of the Mizner designed plaza, the centerpiece of the Town Hall Square Historic District.
Begun as a project in 2011 by the Centennial Commission, a recent proposed plan calls for structurally incorporating Town Hall with the Mizner fountain and Memorial Park. The consultants recommend "reconstruction or replication through construction." The Garden Club and Preservation Foundation back reconstruction due to the "deterioration of the fountain elements." Area expert, Rick Herpel, president of Herpel Cast Stone & Column Company, admits the fountain is "worse because of some the repair that had been done," according to meeting minutes. Further, Herpel thinks " … an accurate reconstruction" made with the same " … scale and proportion will be identical."
April 2013. The fountain's directional horse chargers and bowl were designed by sculptor August Godio for Addison Mizner. Although the fountain appears to need a thorough cleaning and is not composed of the same durable stones that make up century's old fountains in Italy and Spain, since it is only 75 not 750 years old, one might think there could be one conservation consultant in the world capable of suggesting how the original might be preserved, structurally enhanced, and utilized.
Mr. Woodward is concerned about these good intentions. He does not think the town should "tear down the back of the fountain and add steps." Woodward believes Mizner's work constitutes a "world-class monument and must not be modified from the architect's original intent." In a recent letter, Woodward wrote that in March 1929 the Town of Palm Beach by resolution pledged to "maintain, care for, and support such fountain memorial." Thus, according to Woodward, the Mizner-designed park and fountain " … must be maintained in its original form."

Regrettably, Palm Beach does not have a full-time historic preservation planner on its staff. Instead, the town has relied primarily for the past more than 30 years on hiring part-time consultants. However incomparable, it would probably not be surprising to learn that Palm Beach might be the only town with such a significant quantity and quality of historic resources which does not have a full-time historic preservation planner. Thus, much of Palm Beach's preservation efforts are ad hoc, at best. Some properties and structures recommended for designation during the early 1980s remain overlooked and have never been landmarked.
Originally dedicated to Elisha Dimick and Henry Flagler, the Town's Memorial Fountain was among Addison Mizner's last commissions.
If the town decides to "recreate" the original, there must be a Palm Beach resident willing to replumb and save the original fountain and find a place for it either in a courtyard or garden.
The existing landscape does have isolating juxtaposed plant materials and elements that do not contribute to a cohesive aesthetic.
Hibiscus hedging and a suburban lawn may not be the most suitable landscape for the plaza.
The fountain's east elevation does not have plantings commiserate with such a significant architectural landmark.
Memorial Plaza looking north on County Road. 7 April 2013.
Memorial Fountain Plaza. 7 April 2013.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Lost in Wonderland – Reflections on Palm Beach.
Click here for NYSD Contents