Staff -- Interior Design, 5/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
Modern House Three
By Raul A. Barreneche
London: Phaidon, $70
240 pages, 390 illustrations (300 color)
This third installment in a series that began in 1993 divides writer, editor, and design critic Raul Barreneche's house style reviews into three conceptual categories: "Merging Inside and Out," "Reimagining the Program," and "Materials, Craft and Technology." And throughout these chapters, you're introduced to 33 houses from 15 countries, each with four to eight pages of color photography and drawings—ranging from careful, informative plans to quick sketches.
There's not a single dog in the bunch: A house in Spain by Alberto Campo Baeza, a largely translucent Tokyo house by Toyo Ito, and the Neugebauer house in Florida, by Richard Meier.
One can't help but be impressed by the collection's variety and inventiveness. And as Barreneche writes in his introduction, this seems to be "an important moment for the way we live now, and for the modern house of the future." By making sure to include a thorough bibliography, index, and extensive credits for each project, he drives his point home.
Color for Interior Design
By Ethel Rompilla and the New York School of Interior Design
New York: Abrams, $40
224 pages, 125 illustrations (95 color)
More nonsense has been written on color than on any other aspect of interior design—with a few exceptions like John Pile's 1997 Color in Interior Design and classic texts by pioneers Faber Barren and A. H. Mussel.
Now a volume by Ethel Rompilla, an honored professor of color theory at the New York School of Interior Design for 17 years, has brought a rare perspective to the subject.
It begins with a well-illustrated history on indoor uses for color, then reviews its symbolic, scientific, and psychological meaning.
She even explores the role of color in art by Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, and Mark Rothko, in the architecture of Gerrit Rietveld, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier, and in interiors by the likes of Nancy Lancaster, Colefax and Fowler, Parish-Hadley Associates, Marietta Himes Gomez, Gary Lee, and Vicente Wolf, among others.
In a chapter titled "The Revolving Door of Color Trends," Rompilla asserts that "color should not be approached superficially. It needs to be nourished with a constant study of art, history, and nature to stimulate the creative imagination and…to forge on to new interpretations." Brava!
Pioneers of Modern Design
By Nikolaus Pevsner
New Haven: Yale University Press, $40
197 pages, 150 illustrations (131 color)
An earlier generation learned how modernism was born through a handful of books, such as Henry-Russell Hitchcock's 1929 Modern Architecture: Romanticism and Reintegration and Sigfried Giedion's 1941 Space, Time and Architecture. Even more fundamental was Nikolaus Pevsner's 1936 Pioneers of the Modern Movement, which examined the impact of figures like William Morris, H. H. Richardson, Victor Horta, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Louis Sullivan.
An improved current edition boasts a larger format, additional illustrations, and the author's original ending, showing Adolf Meyer and Walter Gropius's model factory of 1914. It also illustrates Le Corbusier's 1954 Ronchamp chapel and Frank Lloyd Wright's 1959 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
In the introduction, Richard
Weston writes that given "the absurdities to which extreme individualism…has led in the work of many of today's global superstars, it could well be that Pevsner's advocacy of 'the style of Gropius and the other pioneers' will acquire new urgency." And he concludes, "the re-publication of this, the first and still indispensable account of the early Modern Movement in English, could hardly be more timely."
And in that spirit, few other views remain as relevant after 69 years.
What They're Reading...
Sarah Walker, principal of her namesake firm in Los Angeles
The Furniture of Sam Maloof
by Jeremy Adamson
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian American Art Museum, and New York: W. W. Norton, $60, 270 pages
Walker has been reading this book every morning before work. She believes it captures craftsman Sam Maloof's "unique spirit and dedication to his art." She also admires Jonathan Pollock's "beautiful" photography and Adamson's "entertaining and informative" writing, which support the works. Walker points out that Maloof's 50 years of furniture design seem to have made "his breadth of work vast and his experiences rich."