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Harmonious Modularity
During the second World War, the French city of Le Havre was severely bombed. August Perret, a pioneering French modernist architect, was tasked with rebuilding the city. Perret’s reconstruction is considered exceptional for its seamless integration of the city’s extant historic structures with modern concrete construction and design innovations. Perret’s new buildings for Le Havre...
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Draping the Walls
Elinor Merrill was the pre-eminent New York dealer of antique European textiles and wallcoverings. A specialist in French textiles, Merrill served as a consultant to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and to the Art Institute of Chicago. She also assisted in the development of the collections of the Cooper Hewitt and the Winterthur museums. After...
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Re-framing Life
Architect-designer Hector Guimard earned recognition for his architectural optimism but garnered additional acclaim for his designs intended to occupy the spaces that he created. Working during the end of the nineteenth and early twenteieth centuries in the organic language of Art Nouveau, Guimard approached his designs as part of a larger artistic whole, a Gesamtkunstwerk,...
The Orientalist Gaze
This fan’s printed scenes of the Ottoman Empire are after the English architect and landscape painter Thomas Allom (1804-1872), whose drawings were engraved and published in the 1840 book, Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. [1] The center image is of the Arut Bazaar, a female slave market in Constantinople....
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Typographic Wonder
Canadian designer Marian Bantjes began her career as a typesetter before creating a personal style that combines type and ornament.  This distinctive aesthetic has allowed her to cross boundaries between fine arts and design, illustration and typography. This poster was produced to advertise the annual conference of the Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA). It was printed in...
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The Emperor’s Fantastic Clothes
This elaborate Rococo-revival wallpaper incorporates several different techniques. The print is an applied lithograph, the salmon-color framework is woodblock printed, and the gold is a stamped metal foil. The application of the stamped foil embosses the paper as the foil is being applied, creating a much richer and more reflective surface than a printed gold...
1987-55-1
Enlightening Experimentation
Jung-Hoo Kim, a Korean-born artist working in America, created Long Trip in 1986 for an exhibition at SUNY New Paltz called “Color in Context”. This necklace, composed of a plastic called ColorCore, sterling silver and rubber, is industrial in construction and playful in color and form. Kim’s necklace fits into the contemporary jewelers’ rhetoric, which...
Dots and Stripes
Wool Dot Gather, designed by Osamu Mita and manufactured at his family’s textile company, Mitasho, is made of wool and rayon. The textile has a very rich textural surface created by a combination of patterning in the weaving process, as well as shrinking in the finishing. The white plain woven wool forms both the dots...
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Enigmas in Restoration
French architect and theorist Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) spent more than half of his career restoring Gothic-era castles, cathedrals, and public buildings, including such notable projects as Notre Dame de Paris and the city walls of Carcassonne. Yet he’s often seen as a pre-modernist, influencing Henry van de Velde and even Frank Lloyd Wright. Viollet-le-Duc’s theories of...