April 1, 2012
New and notable releases on architecture, interiors, and design history
Interiors and the Legacy of Postmodernism
WRITTEN BY Terry Farrell
DESIGNED BY Godfrey Design
LAURENCE KING PUBLISHING, 192 pp., $50
Farrell is one of the pioneers of postmodernism in Britain. His interiors for Charles Jencks’s home are, themselves, manifestos on the movement. This book is a collage of essays, projects, and pictures that assess postmodernism not as a style, but as part of a cultural era. Three types of interiors are covered: homes, galleries and museums, and work-places. Each is introduced with an essay by Farrell, who connects these spaces to larger-scale ideas, such as cities and urbanism. You’ll find interiors where the occupants clearly loved (dare we say) decorative touches, such as bold uses of color and historic references that employed a mix of antiques, bric-a-brac, design classics, and just plain stuff.
Houses of the Sundown Sea: The Architectural Vision of Harry Gesner
WRITTEN BY Lisa Germany
NEW PHOTOGRAPHS BY Juergen Nogai
DESIGNED BY Christine Moog
ABRAMS, 240 pp., $75
This is the first book on Gesner, a self-taught architect, now 87 years old, who built a string of spectacular houses in his native Southern California. It pairs a lively history of his life and work with an in-depth look at 15 of his residences, most built between the 1950s and the 1970s. Gesner’s was an eccentric modernism; he was more likely to reference castles and ships than Miesian minimalism, and he specialized in tight budgets and difficult sites. His 1960 Boathouses were bolted to the side of a stone cliff, on seemingly unbuildable lots in the Hollywood Hills. A 1965 bachelor residence included a “grotto bathroom,” with the toilet hidden in ferns. “My basic philosophy and approach to architecture is from somewhere primeval,” Gesner once said.
Sustainability in Interior Design
WRITTEN BY Sian Moxon
DESIGNED BY John Round Design
LAURENCE KING PUBLISHING, 192 pp., $35
A book on sustainable interior design faces one main challenge: this relatively new field is in a state of perpetual change. Methods and materials continually evolve and progress. Despite this obstacle, the author has done a commendable job of synthesizing the current state of sustainable design, while at the same time providing a broad outline of the basic fundamentals. Moxon breaks the book into four large chapters: context, approach, key issues, and case studies. The book’s clear, jargon-free prose should make it appropriate as both a textbook for interior design students and a resource for current practitioners.
Inside Prefab: The Ready-Made Interior
WRITTEN BY Deborah Schneiderman
DESIGNED BY Jan Haux
PRINCETON ARCHITECTURAL PRESS, 144 pp., $25
As the foreword of this little volume points out, there is plenty of writing on prefabrication as a design strategy, and there are more books than anyone could possibly need on interiors, but the prefabricated interior has received little attention. Schneiderman’s history lays out a very useful classification of the main types—partition-based concepts like the 1946 Eames plywood screens, modular interiors like Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky’s 1926 Frankfurt Kitchen, and rooms that come ready-made as a single piece, like Joe Colombo’s Total Furnishing Unit from 1972. The contemporary case studies that make up the bulk of the book prove that it is but the first step in a fascinating field of study.