Edited by Stanley Abercrombie -- Interior Design, 2/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
The Furniture of Poul Kjaerholm: Catalogue Raisonné
by Michael Sheridan
New York: Gregory R. Miller & Co., distributed by D.A.P. Distributed Art Publishers, $90
224 pages, 220 duo-tone illustrations
Poul Kjaerholm, who died in 1980 at age 51, designed some of modernism's most elegant and exquisitely crafted furniture, most notably in steel but also in stone, wood, cane, leather, and canvas. An exhibition of his work opened at the Louisiana Museum for Modern Art near Copenhagen in the summer of 2006, and we reviewed the catalog, calling ita "long-overdue monograph" and a "welcome addition to [design] literature." Now, the same curator and writer, Sheridan Architect principal Michael Sheridan, has published an even more valuable book, which documents all of Kjaerholm's designs with everything we might want to see: photographs, drawings, production dates, and information on manufacturers, materials, and dimensions. A wonderful bonus is the fact that this book is also one of the most attractive of the past 12 months—if not the past decade—with photographs by the renowned Keld Helmer-Petersen, a fellow Dane, and graphic design by Takaaki Matsumoto. Hanne Kjaerholm, the designer's widow, wrote the brief foreword.
Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff
edited by Dean Sakamoto with Karla Britton and Diana Murphy
New Haven: Yale University Press, $65
304 pages, 279 illustrations (36 color)
Vladimir Ossipoff was born in Vladivostok, Russia, and grew up in Tokyo, where his father was a military attaché at the Russian embassy. After the great earthquake of 1923 destroyed much of the city, the family moved to Berkeley, California, where Ossipoff earned his architecture degree at the University of California. He moved to Honolulu in 1931 and began his career as the bright young man of Hawaiian design—eventually becoming the mature master and finally the doyen of the field before his death in 1998. In residences, schools, chapels, clubs, and airports, he developed a vocabulary of whitewashed masonry walls with pierced openings and tiled roofs with wide overhangs and, at times, gently curving eaves.
This book, by far the best record of his work to date, accompanies an exhibition that recently closed at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and will open at the Yale School of Architecture in New Haven in September. In the foreword, Columbia University graduate architecture professor Kenneth Frampton tries "to know how one should situate" Ossipoff's work, since it "seems to have been quite consciously removed from any kind of ideologically conditioned notion of modernity." Rather than being driven by the dicta of the Bauhaus or the taste of the Museum of Modern Art, Frampton concludes, Ossipoff took his cues from nature: "[F]inding himself in an offshore paradise. . .[he] decided. . .the role of the architect was to facilitate and refine the natural, unpretentious requirements of a colonial society as directly as possible, in a climate that, apart from tropical downpours, was benevolent the year round." Against a backdrop of dramatic change from idyllic island to 50th state, the development of Ossipoff's contextually sensitive buildings and interiors is a fascinating and exemplary story.
Roman Art From the Louvre
by Daniel Roger and Cécile Giroire
Manchester, Vermont: Hudson Hills Press, distributed by Antique Collectors' Club, $85
280 pages, 185 color illustrations
Consisting of more than 180 objects from ancient Rome—bathtubs, lamps, tableware, sarcophagi, sculpture, frescoes, and jewelry in silver, gold, bronze, marble, mosaic, clay, bone, glass, and paint—"Roman Art From the Louvre" is the largest exhibition from a single department of the Parisian museum ever to travel to the U.S. (On view at the Seattle Art Museum through May 18, the show then travels to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.) This catalog describes the objects in the exhibition as well as presenting essays by the two curators and two other scholars, all from the Louvre's department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities. We learn not only about their origin, accession, and restoration but also about their relationships to Rome's emperors, citizens, soldiers, and slaves in the context of religion, work, battle, and leisure.
What They're Reading. . .
Partner at Deborah Berke & Partners Architects
The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel
by Amy Hempel
New York: Scribner, $15
As an architect, Deborah Berke naturally focuses a lot of attention on design books. As an avid reader, the Interior Design Hall of Fame member also makes time for business texts and fiction. She particularly admires Amy Hempel, whose short stories are defined by keen observations of human interaction, rendered in crisp, exacting phrases. "Each sentence is a piece of sculpture," Berke says. "There's also a rhythm." Currently at work in Austin, Texas, on a follow-up to her award-winning 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, Berke has been thinking about how to make mixed-use environments smarter. Perhaps she'll look to Hempel for inspiration. "She's so taut and accurate, and she reflects real life with no sentiment," Berke says. "That's what I try to do, too." —Deborah Wilk