Residents: Inside the iconic Barbican estate

The Barbican, that twentieth century utopian vision, and one of the most documented housing projects in the world, is taking us for an intimate tour. A select group of its residence are letting us glimpse into their homes and hear their thoughts – all of which is documented in an intriguing new book Residents: Inside the Iconic Barbican Estate. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top:... Read More

The World of Charles and Ray Eames

For designers context is destiny, writes Sam Jacobs half way through The World of Charles and Ray Eames. The time and place in which the designer happens to emerge is decisive in shaping their world, he argues. And in this context Charles and Ray Eames are intimately connected with mid-century California. It would be impossible to consider one without the other. Post war, California embodied the New World – the west coast became synonymous... Read More

Piero Fornasetti, Practical Madness

‘I am a stickler for detail who loves uncertainty,’ wrote Piero Fornasetti. The quote opens Piero Fornasetti, Practical Madness, a glimpse into the life of this popular Italian artist and a delicious book in looks, feel and subject that begs to be opened, and the content devoured. Fornasetti (1913-1988) was a painter, draughtsman, engraver, decorator and designer. Above all he was a purveyor of imagination, of poetry, something that he introduced... Read More

Celebrating World Book Day

Today is World Book Day and we are using this occasion to celebrate books in all their shapes and sizes. Contrary to predictions that the internet will erase our love and need for print, book publishing is on the rise pretty much everywhere around the world. The FT Weekend ran an uplifting piece recently about Self Publish, Be Happy, the online platform for self-published artists’ books. The London-based initiative with a focus on photography... Read More

Dolce Via, Italy in the 1980s

Italy seduces, with its enduring pursuit of la dolce vita – the sweet life that is at once sensual and dangerous, cool and sad, bursting with pleasure… captured so wonderfully in Federico Fellini’s 1960s classic of the same name. #gallery-10 { margin: auto; } #gallery-10 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 25%; } #gallery-10 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-10... Read More

Cape Cod Modern

The story began with Walter Gropius. Finding it near impossible to further the cause for Modernism in politically volatile Europe, in 1936 the founder of Bauhaus accepted a professorship at Harvard’s new and progressive Graduate School of Design, and together with his wife Ise fled to America. The following year they rented a holiday house not so far on Planting Island, near the base of Cape Cod. Here they began entertaining friends and fellow... Read More

Wa: The Essence of Japanese Design

European modernism’s simplicity pivots on rationality. Modern society demanded a change in our relationship with objects, and western modernism found new forms to express this. Here modernism fought against superfluous decorative design. The simplicity of Japanese design, however, comes from somewhere entirely different. A quite style had begun to emerge as far back as the mid-fifteenth century in Japan, following the ten year ?nin no Ran civil... Read More

Book review: The Design Book

The Design Book documents 500 of the most innovative examples of industrial design that have remained in production today. Presented chronologically in order of invention, it features works as diverse as the anonymously designed Arare Teapot of the 1700s, the design of which remains almost untouched (my daily tea is brewed in one that is almost identical), to Arne Jacobsen’s 1958 Egg Chair (pictured), works by star designers Le Corbusier, Yanagi... Read More

Book review: Gerhard Richter November

Sometimes it is the simple incidents that can lead to some intriguing works of art. In the case of November, Gerhard Richter became fascinated with the dripping patterns his black Edding marker-pen ink made on paper whilst decanting it in 2008. Using benzene, acetone and black tushe, the German artist set about experimenting with the process – thinning the materials and manipulating the patterns and colours. The result is the November series... Read More

Book review: Different Sames

Contemporary Iranian artists reflect the complexities of this ancient land Iran has a rich artistic and cultural narrative fused with a turbulent political history past and present. It is therefore not surprising that contemporary Iranian artists are eager to form their own visual language. Thanks to recent exhibitions held in London, New York and the UAE, an array of publications and a thriving market for Iranian art, contemporary artists in... Read More