Inside Hefner's Pleasure-Domes - Bw 2: Designing Xanadu for an American Icon - Architecture and Dreams in Hugh Hefner's Empire - With the Fabled Playboy Mansion Grotto by Ron Dirsmith Faar Na (Paperback / softback, 2015)
I would like this place to be something that body else has, and everybody can dream of having: a fantasy land, a dream land, just like my philosophy about my Playboy Magazine. And when it is finished it should look as though it has been here forever. And remember, whatever you show me is the minimum I expect at the end. You have other restrictions! Hugh M. Hefner to Ron & Suzanne Dirsmith - standing in the entry driveway of his West Coast Mansion he had just purchased as he departed for Chicago in January, 1971. Imagine returning to Chicago in 1965 after two years immersed in the study of classical European architecture and design only to be retained by Hugh Hefner, the epitome of American pop culture, to create his new Playboy world headquarters in Chicago's venerable Palmolive Building. Then imagine that Hefner buys a spectacular Los Angeles estate and asks you to transform an elegant 32-room English Tudor mansion into a luxurious adult playground to be kwn throughout the world as the Playboy Mansion West, with a four-month deadline to build the famed Pool and Grotto complex. Then you would have the basis for a unique and unusual memoir, Inside Hefner's Pleasure-Domes: Designing Xanadu for an American Icon - Architecture and Dreams in Hugh Hefner's Empire, written by the architect/designer couple, Ron and Suzanne Dirsmith, into whose laps the opportunity of a lifetime fell. Over twenty-five years, while Hefner and his Playboy Enterprises were blazing a path for its fantasy-based version of American pop culture and revolutionizing its sexual mores, the Dirsmiths were privileged to design and supervise the creation of the new structures and environments in which Hefner worked and lived, including the Playboy world headquarters, the Playboy Mansion, as well as re-designing Hefner's famed Big Bunny DC-950 and fabled new private master bedroom suite and work environments. The Dirsmiths tell a fascinating story, presenting an intimate portrait of the elusive and dynamic Hugh M. Hefner, whose real life portrayed the image of his Playboy empire. Hefner was a visionary workaholic whose workday often exceeded 48 hours and who paid fastidious attention to every single detail in his magazine and properties. In a most entertaining way, the Dirsmiths take the reader, both layman and design professional, through the creative process of building Hefner's magical Shangri-La, from the design and planning stages of the famous pool, ponds, waterfalls, grotto, animal habitats and redwood forest walkways, and later, his bedroom and interior spaces, through completion of some of the most challenging techlogical and engineering feats ever undertaken for a private residence. Through the Dirsmiths' lens, the reader witnesses the tensions, the comic relief provided by Hefner's entourage, the twelve hour meetings with the demanding but genial Hefner, the crises and near disasters of the four months that culminated in the completion of the Mansion's exterior spaces, despite the ermous techlogical and engineering challenges. Fully illustrated with never-seen before photographs and detailed sketches, Inside Hefner's Pleasure-Domes lifts the veil on the Hefner mystique, which was all about encouraging one to fantasize about what goes on behind his closed doors, a book to be enjoyed equally by those interested in getting to kw one of the living giants of American pop culture and by those interested in the complex planning undertaken to create an iconic environment. Ron and Suzanne Dirsmith founded the Dirsmith Group in 1971 and it became one of the world's leading firms dedicated to architectural and environmental design. Ron is a Fellow in Architecture of the American Academy in Rome and a Member of the National Academy in New York. Suzanne, who heads up the firm's education division, works alongside Ron in facilitating the firm's design teams for all architecture and landscape projects.
Suzanne Roe Dirsmith President, Design Facilitator A co-founder of The Dirsmith Group, Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Illinois and Master of Education degree from National-Louis University. Her administrative background in the education field provides the foundation for her continued successful leadership within the firm. She is one of two facilitators of the firm's design teams for all architecture and landscape projects. Drawing on her experience in working with many different interactive formats in the arts, one of Suzanne's primary goals is fostering a team approach to projects, which she strongly believes must include the client. Her goal is to involve the client from a project's inception with design professionals and specialists like sculptors and craftspersons. Suzanne believes that bringing out the best in our client challenges the team to produce a creatively exciting project for all. Suzanne heads the education division of The Dirsmith Group. Originally conceived and developed by her, this initiative serves a number of important purposes.Hugh Hefner It provides a wide variety of outreach programs designed to meet the needs of specific corporate, business organizations and human potential agencies. It fosters new thinking and new ideas to raise public awareness of architecture and landscape design as a blended whole. As a result, The Dirsmith Group professional staff is offered the opportunities to participate in classes, workshops, forums and television presentations, reinforcing the firm's overall leadership strengths and contributing ultimately to delivering better service to clients. Ron Dirsmith, FAAR, NA Architect and Engineer Dirsmith is a Fellow in Architecture of the American Academy in Rome, which for over 100 years has been a research and study center for America's most promising architects, artists and scholars. Less than 200 architects have ever been granted this prestigious honor. The Museum of the National Academy of Design and Fine Arts in New York City has also recently acquired for its permanent collection, a portfolio of 102 prints, drawings and photographs from the work of The Dirsmith Group. This work now joins that of fellow members as part of the Academy's notable collection of pre-eminent American architecture design and art. Most of these images are also a part of our International Traveling Exhibit, The Creative Human Environment.