Reviewed by Stanley Abercrombie -- Interior Design, 12/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
South Beach Style
By Laura Cerwinske with photographs by Steven Brooke
New York: Harry N. Abrams, $30 paperbound 400 pages, 400 color illustrations
Yes, the South Beach district of Miami does have a legitimately distinctive style, based on an art deco heritage subsequently layered with Miami Vice urbanity, contemporary fashion, and Latin-inflected international chic. Local architect Bernard Zyscovich, in his introduction to this appropriately colorful survey, calls the aesthetic Sustainable Hedonism. Laura Cerwinske, author of the 1982 book Tropical Deco: The Architecture and Design of Old Miami Beach, describes the island's architectural history and cultural evolution. The essence of her latest book, however, is the brilliant, crisp, and revealing photography of Steven Brooke—whose fine previous work includes the more sober Views of Jerusalem and the Holy Land and Views of Rome—as laid out in a lively but orderly manner by Barry Zaid. South Beach Style lacks an index but ends with a list of architects, designers, hotels, museums, and their addresses.
The Invention of Chic: Thérèse Bonney and Paris Moderne
By Lisa Schlansker Kolosek
New York: Thames & Hudson, distributed by W.W. Norton, $45 192 pages, 186 black-and-white illustrations
In 1921, 26-year-old Thérèse Bonney was the youngest person, the fourth woman, and only the 10th American ever to earn a PhD at the Sorbonne. Staying on in Paris, she became a photojournalist and opened an illustrated-press service concentrating on her passion, the innovations of modern and art deco architecture and design. Whether Bonney and her friends "invented" chic, they were certainly among its chief exponents. For her part, she recorded the work of Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, Jean Dunand, Paul Poiret, Pierre Chareau, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Jean Puiforcat, Sonia Delaunay, and Raoul Dufy, who painted three portraits of her.
Thanks to a 1937 purchase and a 1940 gift, more than 4,000 of her images went to the Cooper Union, predecessor of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, in New York. They now form the basis of this book. Here, the story of Bonney's life—she later became a noted World War II photographer—and selections from her work combine to offer a front-row view on an unusually creative time in 20th-century design.
Thos. Moser: Artistry in Wood
By Thomas F. Moser with Brad Lemley
San Francisco: Chronicle Books, $60 192 pages, 300 illustrations (196 color)
Founded 30 years ago in rural Maine, Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers continues there under the direction of the company's namesake founder and three of his sons. In this book, Moser relates the history of his company, which now has showrooms in Freeport, Maine, as well as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Charleston, South Carolina. The handsome layouts, credited to Blue Design of Portland, Maine, are rich with sketches, shop drawings, ads, family snaps, and photographic close-ups of lumber, tools, and, naturally, furniture. In his own part of the text, Moser credits Sam Maloof, George Nakashima, and Hans Wegner as inspirations. The laconic foreword by Andy Rooney sounds just like Andy Rooney.
Kazari: Decoration and Display in Japan 15th-19th Centuries
Edited by Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere
New York: Japan Society; London: British Museum Press; distributed by Harry N. Abrams, $45 304 pages, 300 illustrations (250 color)
Although editor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere defines kazari as the "act of decorating or displaying," she elaborates that, more specifically, the Japanese term refers to a "dynamic, sometimes multisensory process that invites the viewer's active participation." Often, it requires a "knowledge of the past uses and symbolism of images or objects." Elements of play and parody can be involved.
All these concepts are explored in Rousmaniere's book, which catalogs an exhibition at New York's Japan Society Gallery through December 31 and at the British Museum in London from February 5 to April 13. (She and professor Tsuji Nobuo cocurated the show.) Kazari's 184 cataloged objects, all illustrated in color, include screens, scrolls, bronzes, lacquerware, glass, porcelain and stoneware, robes and sashes, and decorated doors. The main text comprises seven scholarly essays, including "Decorating Spaces in Later Edo Japan" by Yasumura Toshinobu, a curator at Tokyo's Itabashi Art Museum. A bibliography and an index-glossary follow.