edited by Stanley Abercrombie -- Interior Design, 2/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933
By Emily Thompson
Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, $45
500 pages, 117 black-and-white illustrations
Interior designers naturally concentrate on the visual aspect of their work. They also attend to the tactility of materials and the mechanical functions that keep spaces heated, cooled, ventilated, powered, and secure. How spaces sound is often the last thing to be considered—except in the case of concert and lecture halls. This entertaining book by an editor of The Architecture of Science provides a history of acoustics, detailing the discovery and codification of the qualities of sound. Emily Thompson also provokes thought about how interiors should sound now. Johns Hopkins University professor Stuart W. Leslie is quoted on the dust jacket: "A good book opens your eyes; this one opens your ears as well."
Louis Comfort Tiffany at Tiffany & Co.
By John Loring
New York: Harry N. Abrams, $60
256 pages, 360 illustrations (350 color)
Following an early policy not to publicize individual designers and manufacturers, Tiffany & Co. long played down its connection to the founder's son Louis Comfort Tiffany, who also served as Tiffany & Co.'s design director from 1902 to 1918. The connection was further obscured, current design director John Loring tells us, because Louis Comfort Tiffany's art nouveau style was thoroughly out of favor with Walter Hoving, the owner after 1955, and Van Day Truex, design director from 1956. When Loring arrived in 1979, he says, there "wasn't a single design of Louis Comfort Tiffany's in the collection" and scarcely a mention of him in company literature.
The situation is very different today, with Tiffany & Co. proudly rediscovering its most illustrious son. Based in part on company archives long inaccessible, this book has as its chief purpose the reidentification of Tiffany the store with Tiffany the designer. His famous glass appears prominently, of course, but we also see examples of jewelry, enamels, pottery, and metalwork, plus an entire chapter on desk accessories. With fine photography by Noel Allum, a detailed chronology, a bibliography, and an index, this makes a substantial addition to the Tiffany literature.
American Splendor: The Residential Architecture of Horace Trumbauer
By Michael C. Kathrens with a preface by Henry Hope Reed
New York: Acanthus Press, $79
335 pages, 300 illustrations
Architect Horace Trumbauer is best known for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a monumental aggregation of Greek temples, and Harvard University's Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, an essay in French neoclassicism. He also designed Duke University's twin campuses, Gothic for men and Georgian for women. His equally historicizing and accomplished residential work gets its first extensive study in American Splendor.
The Elms and Miramar in Newport, Rhode Island, the exquisite Duke family house that became New York University's Institute of Fine Arts, and 35 others appear in period duotone photographs and newly commissioned floor plans that show, as no pictures could, Trumbauer's skill at simultaneously integrating and separating a great house's public rooms, private rooms, and staff areas. The book pays major attention to interiors, which owe their carefully considered proportions and finishes to Trumbauer himself. For furnishings, he collaborated with some of the finest: New York decorating firm William Baumgarten & Company, London's Charles Carrick Allom, who also redecorated rooms at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, and Jules Allard et Fils and Alavoine & Cie. of Paris.
John Stefanidis Designs: Creating Atmosphere, Effect and Comfort
By John Stefanidis
New York: Vendome Press, distributed by Rizzoli International Publications through St. Martin's Press, $50
216 pages, 240 color illustrations
Born in Egypt of Greek parents and now based in London and on the Greek island of Patmos, John Stefanidis epitomizes the cosmopolitan. This book presents his residential designs in the U.K., Greece, France, Switzerland, Italy, the U.S., and the Caribbean. All are highly individual, employing tartans as well as crewelwork and faux leopard, sisal and rattan as well as marble and bronze. The designer's text charms and informs us with personal accounts of his childhood, education, travels, and influences, all peppered with quotations from novelists and poets.