The Spirit Moves Us
Cindy Allen -- Interior Design, 7/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
There are many ways to read (use and abuse) a fresh issue of Interior Design. Ditto for editing one. I, myself, use it as a monthly emotional outlet—this chiefly consists of raging at the slowness of the printer in delivering bound copies. Some scientifically inclined wits, I imagine, may enjoy testing the limits of those bindings, tearing out as many pages as the poor covers will allow. My competitors may use each issue as a first-grade arithmetic refresher, enviously counting ads or feature stories for whatever good that'll do. Most, however, will peruse: pick at something here and there until, at a quieter time, they finally settle down for a front-to-back read—the thesis/antithesis/synthesis brand of thorough.
It is for you Hegelians that we have assembled this issue's historic portfolio of places of worship, from Warren Platner's Sinai Temple to Le Corbusier's Notre-Dame-du-Haut. All uniquely unify dogma and invention, sometimes an almost impossible act of reconciliation. Yet, as different as they are from one another, they still make universally clear how a singular purpose can be distilled down to pure originality, how design can bring us nearer to the divine. OK, I'd better be careful to stay clear of blasphemy. As a believer—despite my slight discomfort on the whole topic—my take-home feeling was one of wonder mixed with bewilderment, as if I were trying to make out distant cathedrals in the desert. Whereas our real landscape is, by and large, populated by developers' monuments, all six of these buildings simply transcend.
And that, my friends, is exactly what can be born when thought is not replaced by habit, soul by convenience, spires by gables. And when we don't allow tradition to suffocate expression. That's real design.