Edited by Stanley Abercrombie -- Interior Design, 8/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann: The Designer's Archives
by Emmanuel Bréon
Paris: Editions Flammarion, distributed by Rizzoli International Publications, $75 paperbound
240 pages, 250 color illustrations
With New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art showing the luxurious art deco furniture of Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann through September 5, it's timely that Flammarion is publishing these two slipcased volumes, one devoted to furniture and one to interior design. The master's own sketches, diary excerpts, and letters to clients are supplemented by duotone photographs, including images of his rooms for 1925's epochal Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Together, the material gives a colorful and intimate impression of a genius and his working process.
The author is chief curator at the Musée des Années 30 in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt. All documents reproduced in these books belong to the museum's Ruhlmann archives.
Supernatural: The Work of Ross Lovegrove
by Ross Lovegrove
New York: Phaidon Press, $70
240 pages, 300 color illustrations
Ross Lovegrove is noted for designs that are adventurous, idiosyncratic, and lyrical, often employing recently developed materials. As he says of himself here, his "nonlinear mind. . . is stimulated by the rare and the layered." He adds, "My character dictates that I constantly live within a swirl of emotions and misgivings that lead me to question right down to the bone the very need for things."
This book features some of his furniture and lighting for Bernhardt Furniture Company, Driade, Herman Miller, Luceplan, Zanotta, and others, perhaps the most visually striking being his 2002 Aluminum Liquid tables for Cappellini. He has also designed seats for Japan Airlines, bicycles for Biomega, perfume bottles for Giorgio Armani, and a palmtop communicator for Apple Computer.
Museum of Modern Art architecture and design curator Paola Antonelli contributed the foreword, and John Ross shot most of the book's excellent photographs. Its handsome design is by Yumi Matote.
Lucien Hervé: Building Images
by Olivier Beer, translated by Sharon Grevet
Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, $60
224 pages, 217 illustrations (12 color)
As Le Corbusier's favorite photographer, Lucien Hervé shot every Corbusier building from 1949 until the architect's death in 1965. This book includes some of that work and images of his earlier architecture—as well as much, much more. In all, we see over 200 of Hervé's photographs, mostly in black and white. And every single one of them is powerful.
Aside from Corbusier-related subject matter, the author has chosen shots of buildings by Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Oscar Niemeyer, and Frank Gehry. There are portraits of Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, and Jean Cocteau. Paris street scenes and landmarks figure prominently—particularly the Eiffel Tower—but Spain, Italy, Greece, India, and Japan also appear.
According to the foreword by Wim de Wit, head of special collections and visual resources at the Getty Research Institute, "All the buildings he documents—both old and new—have in common their lack of figurative ornamentation and the fact that decoration is achieved through the play of form and the richness of texture. Hervé brings out these elements in images that make us aware of an elusive feature nearly impossible to capture in two-dimensional representation: the feeling for architectural space."
What They're Reading...
Principal of Weese + Design
by Maya Lin
New York: Simon & Schuster, $40
224 pages, 162 illustrations (140 color)
This is Maya Lin's first collection of her own writing, describing not only her Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., but also her more recent work and her thoughts about design in general. "As an artist as well as a designer—with a passion for architecture—I relate to the intersection of disciplines," Weese says. "Lin directs this masterfully."