Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 104 Page 105become disinterested in designing furniture. On the horizon were early signs of a new furniture styling trend, for Danish Moderne upholstered pieces with finely modulated and tapered legs rather than the webbing infills and splayed legs of the 1940s. Palmerston later recalled that Functional Products was much slower to catch this wave of changing taste than competitors Parker and Fler. Around 1955, he bought Snelling’s five percent share of the company. Snelling’s marriage to Nancy also was in a mode of unstoppable descent and they also separated in 1955. She was dreading the new north shore house and the lifestyle it seemed likely to frame. It was a house where you couldn’t have children because the site was so steep; he was taking three–quarters of the best part of the place for his own office and my areas were in the worst parts, and I could see that I still wasn’t going to have a home I could call my own. I’d never had my own home and I really wanted that after 10 years of cramped conditions with Douglas working around me. Nancy recalled that the final break came from an argument over her desire to have black and white checked curtains on the kitchen window. Snelling, as a modernist architect committed to large expanses of free–floating glazing, would not countenance curtains in his house. Nancy said she realised that any wife of Douglas Snelling would be subjugated by his architectural ambitions. This looked ridiculous. A week before, we’d gone into a bank in Margaret Street which Snelling had remodelled beautifully. I remember it had a landscaped garden at the entrance with a skylight above. So I spoke to Epstein and said ‘what about this new bloke, Snelling?’ So I’ve got onto him that night, and he came and designed our building. Liddle and Epstein’s building was at the low end of the Macquarie Street ridge and faced east as a one–storey structure and west as three storeys. Snelling decided to replace both stone facades with glass. To prevent penetration of low sun in the mornings and afternoons— which, as Jim Liddle notes, ‘would have turned the offices into furnaces by 8am’—he covered both frontages with artistically patterned grilles of aluminium plate. These were one foot deep to allow the sun to sparkle off the metalwork but not allow direct rays inside. This novel, poetic and yet practical strategy bathed interior walls and floors with delightful and ever–shifting patterns of light and shade, without discomforting the desk–workers. Jim Liddle suggests that Snelling had ‘a stroke of genius’ when designing this building, and remembers scores of architecture students coming to look at it for years afterwards. To congratulate him on his achievement, the partners gave Snelling an engraved silver box, in which he later stored his cuff links. Importantly for Snelling’s future, Nancy introduced him to wealthy Woolworths executive Sir Theo Kelly, whose wife, also named Nancy (Nan), already knew and admired the architect’s work. At Nan’s suggestion, Sir Theo commissioned Snelling to design Sydney’s largest house of the 1940s and 1950s. They became good friends and Kelly gave him several more Woolworths and personal projects until their relationship cooled in the late 1960s. Conceived with strong overtones of Wright’s Gale house (1909) and Fallingwater (1934–38) in its balconies and roof terracing, the Kellys’ sumptuous sandstone and timber residence, at 24a Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill, went on to win Snelling the 1955 ‘House of the Year’ Award from Melbourne–based magazine Architecture and Arts. It also was featured in the NZ Women’s Weekly and other magazines. In other ways, however, Snelling’s trajectory began to wobble. Despite (or because of) his architectural successes, his partnership with Terry Palmerston at Functional Products would not last much longer. Although he was now nationally famed through advertising for ‘The Snelling Line’, and even staunch internationalist Harry Seidler had included his chairs and cabinets in a celebrated ‘House of the Future’ exhibit at the Sydney Town Hall in 1953, Snelling had DOUGLAS SNELLING DOUGLAS SNELLING 54 55 1940–1955 1940–1955