Edited by Stanley Abercrombie -- Interior Design, 9/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Framework: Gluckman Mayner Architects
by Richard Gluckman
New York: Monacelli Press, $50
232 pages, 220 illustrations (200 color)
Framework may seem a curious title for an architectural monograph. But Gluckman Mayner Architects is best known for its museums and galleries, buildings that, in some way, frame their contents. The firm's characteristic minimalism, according to this book's introduction by University of Pennsylvania architecture professor Detlef Mertins, is the result of Richard Gluckman "learning from a certain species of minimalist art" as he realized that artists such as Dan Flavin and Walter De Maria were able to achieve a "new and immediate relationship between the viewer, the object, and the space around it." And how did Gluckman translate this relationship into architecture? "By isolating art from the outside world, eliminating windows, and neutralizing architectural features," Mertins writes, Gluckman's spaces "suspended both art and viewer in a timeless and transcendent world. Reduced to pure perception, stripped of worldliness, and disembodied, the viewer. . .dissolved through immersion in the art object."
Typical examples in this attractive book, its design credited to Omnivore, include the Gagosian Gallery and the Mary Boone Gallery in New York, the Austin Museum of Art in Texas, the Museo Picasso Málaga in the artist's hometown in Spain, the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York, and unbuilt schemes for expanding the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. Other kinds of work appear as well. The Mori Arts Center in Tokyo is hardly minimal—with a great helical stair spinning around a funnel-shape core, an atrium faced in rough sandstone, and the vibrant primary colors in some exhibition spaces and passageways. Conversely, three exquisitely austere New York apartments, while minimal, were not designed for art, at least primarily. And the rustic and earthy Mii Amo Spa in Sedona, Arizona, is neither minimal nor art-related. All of the latter are admirable, but it is those masterfully spare gallery spaces that take our breath away.
More Is More: Tony Duquette
by Hutton Wilkinson
New York: Abrams, $75
368 pages, 300 color illustrations
As a teenager, Hutton Wilkinson began working for Interior Design Hall of Fame member Tony Duquette. The two became business partners and remained so until Duquette's death in 1999. Now, Wilkinson is president of the design firm still known as Tony Duquette as well as president of the Elsie de Wolfe Foundation and a director of Save Venice. In 2007, he and New York magazine interior design editor Wendy Goodman published Tony Duquette, which—along with the 440-page Christie's catalog for the 2001 sale of the Duquette collection—has been our best guide to the taste and talent of a remarkable designer of interiors, store displays, stage sets, furniture, jewelry, costumes, gardens, and parties.
This companion volume to the earlier book takes a more personal look, with more sketches, more vignettes, more details, more candid photos of parties, more paintings by Duquette's wife, "Beegle." Almost incredibly, there seems to be no duplication of images from the first volume. In the foreword, fashion designer John Galliano invents the term Duquettery and writes that Duquette's "work and legacy never cease to encourage me to take risks, to clash colors, to be brash and bold, and above all glamorous and beautiful." Then Galliano quotes Diana Vreeland's advice, noting that it "could be a perfect mantra" for Duquette and his admirers: "Never fear being vulgar, just boring." While that directive would be a challenge for many, Duquette took it easily in stride.
What They're Reading. . .
Adam D. Tihany, Principal of Tihany Design
by Kenya Hara
Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, distributed by Springer, $50
472 pages, 389 illustrations (326 color)
One might easily say that the name Adam D. Tihany is synonymous with elegant restaurants. His dining rooms for such venerable New York establishments as Le Cirque, Jean Georges, Per Se, and the latest incarnation of Aureole are temples to the luxury of consumption. "I'm the complete opposite of a minimalist," the Interior Design Hall of Fame member happily admits. Which is why it's odd to find him reading designer Kenya Hara's meditation on emptiness in the visual culture of the author's native Japan and that concept's effects worldwide. "Throughout history, people have marveled at spaces created of precious materials by incredible craftsmen. Now, this interest seems to have waned," Tihany says. "When was the moment where complexity met minimalism? It must have been a massive shock, because the moment you realize you need less is a revelation." Of course, living on less is something very current. Fortunately, when the need for a little luxury sets in, the solution is just a star-rated meal away. —Deborah Wilk