The word “happy” comes to mind when a visitor enters Alan M. Londin’s sixth floor apartment in Sunny Isles Beach.
The feeling comes from a lot more than the bright Florida sunshine streaming through the glass door and the waterfront view. Londin, an artist, teacher and fabric designer, loves bright colors. White slipcovered furniture, a sisal rug and a floor-length white tablecloth allow his art and color choices to star. A bright orange Asian console. A cobalt blue screen outlined with white borders on abstract flowers. The bright orange, yellow, blue, and green squares in his wall art.
It is no surprise that Matisse and Londin’s late friend, Andy Warhol, have influenced his creative work. Londin and Warhol collaborated on a fabric collection that was influenced by the $50 of penny candy Londin brought to him for inspiration.
“He threw the candy on the floor and created the designs,” Londin says. “He did 10 designs for me. He was so innovative and he opened my eyes to everyday life.”
His neat pile of books also reflects his love of creative work — Allure by former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, A House is Not a Home by superstar photographer Bruce Weber, Billy Baldwin Decorates by Baldwin, the Baltimore-born design icon, and The Watercolors of Winslow Homer by Homer.
Although he retired from his art director career about eight years ago, Londin continues to design fabrics that he paints in colorful florals and abstracts with acrylic paints. His bedroom functions in dual roles — as a place to sleep and a place to create his designs. Examples include a chair with an eclectic combination of florals, stripes and abstract figures; floral designs on pillows and a desk painted in abstract forms.
Londin paints with acrylic on canvas fabric. He doesn’t use a sealer because he fears it would disturb the color. He has tested the finished product and it can be washed.
Most of his career took place in New York City, where he was a textile designer and art director for Wamsutta, a manufacturer best known for bedding. During the 1980s he created the Alan Londin Collection of fabrics that was sold in designer showrooms such as Todd Wiggins in the Miami Design District. Dynasty star Joan Collins was a fan, with five of his textile prints in her home.
“They were very sunbelt oriented,” he says, “They made it seem as if the sun was shining into the home. They were flowers, chintzes and plenty of pink. No one was doing pink then.”
He moved to Laguna Beach, Calif., where he worked for Coopertex and traveled throughout Europe to find mills that specialized in textile design. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, he has taught at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, where he was named Teacher of the Year three times.
Los Angles-based Bill Glazer, also a textile designer, has known Londin close to 40 years. He describes him as thoughtful, with gentlemanly manners from another decade.
“His designs are now heavily weighted toward the style of Matisse, but he brings it up to a contemporary pop arena,” Glazer says. “It is fun and very optimistic.”
Londin may have retired from art direction, but he isn’t the type of person who would spend his time playing cards or joining clubs. He keeps busy with design projects and teaching watercolor painting at Florida Atlantic University’s adult evening classes as well as watercolors and acrylic painting at the Sunny Isles Cultural Center.