Charles and Ray, Designers From the Near Future

Loved this passage from Sam Jacob’s essay “Context as Destiny: The Eameses from Californian Dreams to the Californiafication of Everywhere,” published in the satisfyingly chunky The World of Charles and Ray Eames (2016):

For architects and designers like [Peter and Alison Smithson, who were British], the Eameses’ Californian-ness opened a dazzlingly bright window into another world, a sun-kissed world far from the origins of European modernism weighed down by all that Old War baggage — by history, politics and war, by notions of an avant-garde, by post-war reconstruction and the serious politics of the welfare state.

To the Smithsons and their ilk, the Eameses appeared as if designers from the near future. They saw in the American couple a ‘light-hearted thinking in featherweight climate-bits-and-pieces seeming off-the-peg-architecture … [a] do-it-yourself out of gorgeous catalogues, the Sears-Roebuck thinking … [a] whole blow-up, plug-in, camp-out, dump-digging type of thinking and living.’ They saw in Charles and Ray the kind of design practice that they themselves were struggling to imagine — a form of design practice that combined the modernist legacy of social improvement with new sensibilities of popular, mass-produced modernity. They saw a lightness of touch, with a direct connection to lifestyle and an easy ability to reach out across the traditional boundaries of design and out into the wider world.

Tadao Ando: The Idea of a Center

From Michael Auping’s Seven Interviews with Tadao Ando:

The idea of a center is an interesting one, and one that is more of a Western concept. Roland Barthes made a comment on visiting Japan that it is a country that doesn’t seem to have a center; great depth, but no center. I think I carry that aspect of Japan with me. For me, the center of a building is always the person who is in it, experiencing the space from within it themselves. The challenge is in allowing each person to be the center, to be generous enough with the space to allow them to feel they are the center.

Steven Holl on Museum Architecture

From a profile of the architect in ArtNews’ 09/12 issue:

There’s the neutral white box. We see that, if you take that too far, it sucks the light out of art. Then there’s the super-expressionist building by the signature architect. But if you take that too far, it totally squashes the art, so you can’t have a great feeling for any art experience in a building like that. 

And we believe there is a third way, where the sense of space in which you’re going to experience the art is silent and poetic, but when you move from one gallery to another you’re engaged by the sequence. The building draws you through and doesn’t frustrate the movement. You sense that someone wrote a musical score — that this is the way you flow through spaces.