edited by Stanley Abercrombie -- Interior Design, 7/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture
New York: Phaidon Press, $160
824 pages, 5,500 color illustrations, 2,000 line drawings, 62 maps
A wonderfully comprehensive guide for the architecture-minded traveler—and a superb travel substitute for the stay-at-home—this enormous atlas covers 75 countries, presenting 1,052 buildings completed since 1998. Each appears on one or more maps, accompanied by photographs and line drawings and indexed by name, building type, architect, or location. In addition, there is information on each country's architecture practitioners, schools, and students.
Entries range from a $3,000 tree house in Ethiopia to a $2.2 billion airport in Malaysia, from a 67-square-foot bell tower in Austria to the 1 million-square-foot Oita Stadium in Japan. The stylistic range is similarly inclusive, with Foster and Partners the most heavily represented firm and Herzog & de Meuron second. Naturally, not every selection will please any one reader but, with so many entries, it seems ungrateful to quibble.
However, it does seem natural to ask who made the choices. The jacket simply says, "Every featured project has been carefully selected by a panel from nominations made by leading names in the international field of architecture, including critics, curators, journalists, academics and practitioners." But who was on the panel? And what were the leading names? Only those who read the tiny print after the photo credits will find critic and curator Deyan Sudjic acknowledged, followed by several dozen others.
Jack Lenor Larsen: Creator and Collector
by David Revere McFadden, Mildred Friedman, Lotus Stack, and Jack Lenor Larsen
New York: Merrell Publishers, $50
192 pages, 160 color illustrations
Jack Lenor Larsen, a member of the Interior Design Hall of Fame, is the unquestionable dean of textile design in the 20th century—and, so far, the 21st. He is also a world traveler, a keen-eyed enthusiast of art and artifacts, and, as this book's title suggests, an inveterate collector.
The catalog of an exhibition at New York's Museum of Arts & Design through August 29, then at other venues, this book aims to demonstrate the relationships between what Larsen has designed and what he has accumulated. Curators David Revere McFadden and Mildred Constantine organized the show in four categories: Light and Translucency, Surface and Texture, Pattern and Color, and Form and Structure. Chapters cover the same themes.
We see the swirls of a Dale Chihuly blown-glass basket and their resemblance to Larsen's Oberon printed cotton-polyester blend. We see a Japanese silk scarf and its correlation to translucent linen blinds for a palace in Brasília. We see the moiré effect of a Korean metal-mesh sculpture alongside a linen-silk casement woven in Thailand. We see the patterns of a pine bench by Wharton Esherick juxtaposed with a Nottingham lace called Crystal Palace. These and many other examples bring us close to the nature of artistic inspiration and the essence of creativity.
The authors also include essays by curator McFadden and design scholar Mildred Friedman, a chronology of Larsen's life and accomplishments, and a glossary of textile terms. Last but not least come tributes to Larsen from Chihuly and architects Hugh Hardy and Edward Larrabee Barnes.
The Encyclopedia of Shaker Furniture
by Timothy D. Rieman and Jean M. Burks Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, $125
576 pages, 1,044 illustrations (698 color)
Shaker furniture, proto-modern in its simplicity, is one of the highest achievements of American design. For those with more than a passing interest in the subject, this authoritative guide chronicles the Shakers' origins, daily life, culture, color choices, and tools. The furniture, both pictured and described, is organized by communities of origin. Notes, a bibliography, an index, and glossaries of Shaker and technical terms complete the book.
What They're Reading...
Principal of his namesake firm and a member of the Interior Design Hall of Fame
Living To Tell the Tale
by Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Edith Grossman
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, $27
Montoya enjoys discovering design similes and metaphors in fiction, biographies, and autobiographies not explicitly related to architectural topics. One autobiography he read recently was that of Nobel Prize–winning novelist Gabriel García Márquez. "The many images conveyed in this book mirror the approach I take in my own work," Montoya says. Both writer and designer are certainly masters of bravura eclecticism and imaginative leaps.