In this unusual white-on-white living room, almost everything seemed to float

Retro white-on-white living room in Manhattan 1967
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In redesigning his apartment in a converted Manhattan river house, architect/designer Paul Rudolph exploited the mysterious color that is born when light encounters pure white.

The living room, shown here as it was seen in 1967, was an almost total white entity, an interplay of textures — opaque and luminous Plexiglas sofa platforms, glossy vinyl, matte walls, the rug of satiny kidskins.

In the morning sun, the room’s whiteness was washed in palest gold, shadow-patterned by a curtain of nylon-threaded mirror discs.

Vintage 60s white-on-white living room

But as the nature and sources of light changed, the eye may have seen this white-on-white room not as a total whiteness at all.

Instead, it became an ephemeral palette of pale and tenuous tints, suggesting straw gold, champagne, shadow on sand, and the twilight gray-blue of black pearl.

By night, the beaded curtain with tiny mirror discs reflected the room in diamond-blue dazzle.

The lucite tabletop, water-clear, appears to float through the window wall of this 1960s white-on-white living room.

In fact, except for the ice-cream-parlor chairs, all the furniture seems to float, thanks to a cantilevering of Plexiglas slabs, invisibly supported by metal braces.

Retro white-on-white living room in Manhattan 1967
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