Edited by Stanley Abercrombie -- Interior Design, 4/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
The Houses of Philip Johnson
by Stover Jenkins and David Mohney; photographs by Steven Brooke
New York: Abbeville Press, $40 paperbound
288 pages, 300 illustrations (150 color)
In the recent flood of obituaries and tributes to architect Philip Johnson, his own Glass House has been praised most of all his accomplishments. And a dazzling photograph by Steven Brooke, spread across two pages in this book, makes it look even more beautiful and authoritative than ever. As Neil Levine says in his afterword, "One might go so far as to say that, with the design and publication of the Glass House, Philip Johnson defined the moment when modernism became history."
Of course, the book highlights other beauties, as well, including the cover subject, a cluster of pavilions that form the Boissonnas house in the south of France. The authors also underscore Johnson's great curiosities—a few designs where the reader guesses the architect must have been kidding. But on the whole, this handsome collection provides a valuable record of more than 50 of his projects, a key addition to the Johnson literature.
Textiles of the Wiener Werkstätte, 1910-1932
by Angela Völker
New York: Thames & Hudson, distributed by W.W. Norton, $40 paperback
256 pages, 417 illustrations (306 color)
This lavishly illustrated volume surveys the textile patterns and prints that emerged from the Viennese Arts and Crafts studio founded by designers Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser. It covers works by them, as well as the contributions of standout members such as Dagobert Peche.
Motifs from Art Nouveau to Deco in drawings, pattern books, and swatches provided by the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, in Vienna, make this a wonderful guide to early 20th century design. The author, who has headed the museum's textile department for 30 years, included a catalog, biographies for 29 designers, and a bibliography.
Albert Hadley: Drawings and the Design Process
by Mark Hampton and others
New York: Elements Media for the New York School of Interior Design, $45 spiral bound in stiff covers
176 pages, 160 illustrations (50 color)
In spring 2004, the New York School of Interior Design hosted an exhibition of drawings by noted designer Albert Hadley. That show, like this subsequent book, was based on Hadley's belief that "drawing is central to the design process." This message is important nowadays for those designers who are wedded to CAD.
These charming drawings make the point. They're detailed enough for client presentations, but that wasn't their purpose. Hadley, who refers to the sketches as his "scribbling shorthand," made them as self-instructing steps for putting room designs together. And the amount of detail they convey is striking, addressing everything from overall style and proportion to the intricacies of fabric patterns and textures—even the placement of books.
Any irregularities are testimony to the speedy linkage between mind and pen that is possible when computers don't intervene. The homage includes Hadley's profile and appreciations of his methods contributed by six of the many designers he has mentored: Mario Buatta, David Anthony Easton, Mariette Himes Gomez, Thomas Jayne, Bunny Williams, and the late Mark Hampton.
What They're Reading...
Janine James, founding principal of The Moderns, New York
edited by Bruce Mau
London: Phaidon, $30
James says this 2004 book by Mau, the Canadian designer of graphics, books, visual identities, and much more, "pushes us to go beyond our immediate scope and think about what we're doing. It should give all of us something to argue as we continue to further our understanding of interdependence in design."